Wenatchee, WA. – A three-goal third period helped the Wenatchee Wild complete a stirring comeback Saturday night, pushing the Wild past the Chilliwack Chiefs 5-4, in front of 3,379 at the Town Toyota Center.
Chilliwack opened the scoring at the 14:02 mark of the first period on a goal by Aaron O’Neill, assisted by Vimal Sukumaran, giving the Chiefs a 1-0 lead. Wenatchee would tie it up with a power play goal on a blast from the left circle by Kyle Stephan (Barrie, ON), assisted by Tyler Rockwell (San Jose, CA) and Bryan Yoon (Parker, CO) at 16:48, squaring the game 1-1. Chilliwack would regain the lead less than a minute later on an unassisted goal by Kale Kane at 17:16, giving the Chiefs a 2-1 lead after one.
In the second period, Troy Conzo (Nesconset, NY) snuck one past the goaltender and in, assisted by Charlie Combs (St. Louis, MO) at 3:39, tying the game for the Wild 2-2. Chilliwack would then take control of the game with a pair of goals. O’Neill scored from Olivier Arseneau and Connor McCarthy on the power play at 6:17 for a 3-2 Chiefs lead, then McCarthy scored from Darien Craighead and Jordan Kawaguchi at 17:50, putting Chilliwack up 4-2 through 40 minutes.
In the third, Wenatchee would light the lamp three times. Chasing a loose puck down the left side, Combs would poke the puck past the onrushing goaltender from the left circle and in. The unassisted, shorthanded goal brought the Wild within one, at 4-3. They would tie the game at the 8:37 mark as Matt Baker (Midhurst, ON) would sneak one across the line, assisted by Aaron Murray (Chino, CA) to tie the game 4-4. Then Combs would score again to put his team on top, this time on the power play, assisted by Austin Chavez (Corona, CA) and Konsta Jaske (Samammish, WA) at 12:57. Wenatchee would hold tight from there, going on to win the game 5-4.
The Chiefs outshot the Wild 41-29 on the night. Chase Perry (Andover, MN) made 37 saves for Wenatchee, while Aiden Pelino and Matteo Esposito combined for 24 saves for Chilliwack. The Wild went 2-for-4 on the power play and 4-of-5 on the penalty kill. “Anytime you come back in the third period where you’re down a couple,” said Wenatchee Wild Head Coach/General Manager Bliss Littler. “you had to do some things right. It was good that we hung into it long enough to get a couple of breaks to go our way. I was extremely happy with our kids staying into it with a lot of adversity out on the ice tonight. There was a lot of things that happened that we weren’t really sure why, but a lot of adversity that we fought through it. Looking forward to tomorrow night.”
With the win, Wenatchee improves to 22-10-3-2 on the season, the Chiefs are now 24-8-1-3. Wenatchee hosts Chilliwack at the Town Toyota Center again on Sunday, January 3rd, 7:05pm.
Battle For The Border