Merritt, BC. – The Wenatchee Wild battled from behind all night long, tying the game three times, before dropping a 4-3 contest to the Merritt Centennials at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena in Merritt, British Columbia.
Merritt opened the scoring late in the first, as Nick Fiorentino lit the lamp, assisted by Colin Grannary at 14:55, giving the Centennials a 1-0 lead after one.
Wenatchee would pull into a 1-all tie at 5:47 of the second, as Daniel Nachbaur (Seattle, WA) cut through the right circle and put a short shot in the goal at the end of a power play. The tie lasted just a tick under two minutes. Zach Court scored from Michael Faulkner and Tyler Holz at 7:46, putting Merritt back on top, at 2-1. Kyle Stephan (Barrie, ON) scored for the Wild from Colin Burston (Winnipeg, MB) at 8:56, tying the game 2-2. But the Cents would grab the lead back on a Brett Jewell goal, assisted by Nick Jermain and Henry Cleghorn at 14:33, giving Merritt a 3-2 lead after two.
Wenatchee scored early in the third to tie it for a third time. Mike Coyne (Buffalo, NY) scored from along the right wing wall, assisted by Stephan and Alex Bates (Highlands Ranch, CO) just 30 seconds into the final period, tying it 3-3. However, the Centennials’ Jermain scored from Zak Bowles and Court at 16:06. Merritt would hold on from there for the 4-3 win.
The Centennials outshot the Wild 47-28 for the game. Garrett Nieto (Yorba Linda, CA) made 43 stops for Wenatchee, while Merritt’s Cole Kehler had 25 saves for the Centennials. The Wild went 1-for-2 on the power play and 2-of-3 on the penalty kill. “Played well, deserved a better outcome.” said Wenatchee Wild Head Coach/General Manager Bliss Littler. “Looking forward to a great series with Langley.”
With the loss, Wenatchee finishes the regular season with a 34-16-4-4; the Centennials finish 23-40-4-1. The Wild opens up the Fred Page Cup Playoffs on Saturday, March 5th at 7:05pm and Sunday, March 6th at 5:05pm at the Town Toyota Center, against the Langley Rivermen, in a best-of-seven series.
Battle For The Border