Wenatchee, WA. – The Wenatchee Wild created numerous scoring chances but weren’t able to convert enough of them, losing to the Merritt Centennials 5-2 Saturday night, in front of 3,075 fans at the Town Toyota Center.
Merritt scored twice late in the first period. Brett Jewell scored from Tyrell Buckley shorthanded at 16:19 and Michael Faulkner scored at 19:58 from Colin Grannary, giving the Centennials a 2-0 lead after one.
Wenatchee scored a shorthanded goal of their own early in the second. Troy Conzo (Nesconset, NY), off an assist by Blake Christensen (Lauderhill, FL) at 5:03, cutting the deficit to 2-1. However, Merritt scored twice more later in the middle frame. Mitch Lipon scored, assisted by Nick Fiorentino and Nick Fidanza at 6:04. The power play goal put the Cents up 3-1. The Merritt lead grew at 13:49, as Tyler Ward scored from Nick Jermain, putting the Centennials up 4-1 after two.
Brandon Puricelli (St. Louis, MO) tucked home a backhander in tight early in the third to get the Wild back in it. Bryan Yoon (Parker, CO) assisted at 2:27, cutting the Merritt lead to 4-2. The Cents would protect that lead, adding an empty net goal by Jermain at 18:18. Grannary and Fiorentino drew the assists and Merritt would go on to the 5-2 win.
Wenatchee outshot Merritt 36-16 on the night. Chase Perry (Andover, MN) made 11 saves for the Wild, while Cole Kehler had 34 stops for the Centennials. Wenatchee went 0-for-4 on the power play and 1-of-2 on the penalty kill. Each team allowed a shorthanded goal. “We definitely had enough chances to win.” said Wenatchee Wild Head Coach/General Manager Bliss Littler. “I thought for the most part we outplayed them badly tonight. But it’s a lesson we’re not learning, that you have to make teams work for their goals. Three breakaways against tonight are too many. We outshoot a team and out chance them as badly as we did tonight, there’s no way you can lose a hockey game like that. We found ways to get beat tonight. So, we need to go to work on Monday.”
With the win, Merritt improves to 15-26-3-0 on the season, the Wild slips to 24-13-2-3. Wenatchee travels to Coquitlam for a game on Friday, January 22nd, before returning home to host the Penticton Vees on Saturday, January 23rd.
Battle For The Border