Penticton Takes Game 2, Series Heads Back To Wenatchee
PHOTO: Wenatchee Wild forwards Cade Littler (15, left) and Luke Weilandt (5, right) battle against Penticton’s Spencer Smith in a recent Wild home game. The Vees scored four times in the first period on the way to a 7-0 win over the Wild Saturday in Penticton. (Photo credit: Russ Alman/Digital Media Northwest)
By Austin Draude Wenatchee Wild Media Relations and Broadcast Manager
PENTICTON, British Columbia – In two British Columbia Hockey League Interior Conference semifinal games, the Penticton Vees successfully defended home ice. The task ahead for the Wenatchee Wild: to do the same this coming week.
Despite a high-flying start for the Wild in Saturday’s contest, the Vees used a four-goal first period to jump into the driver’s seat and claim a 7-0 Game Two victory, taking a two-game lead in the best-of-seven series.
Wenatchee fired off the opening three shots of the night, followed shortly after by a chance from Parker Murray that just missed its target, ringing off the post. Penticton’s power play proved potent on its first chance, though – just 18 seconds into the first Vees power play, Aydar Suniev collected a carom in the right-wing circle and tossed it into the net to put the hosts in front 5:12 into the game. Josh Niedermayer slipped the puck into the net to double the lead 75 seconds later, and Beanie Richter’s backhand goal at 8:27 of the period stretched the lead to 3-0.
Penticton added a final goal on Brett Moravec’s second-chance marker with 4:23 showing on the first-period clock. The Vees would head to the final 20 minutes with a five-goal margin, following a backhand shot from Jackson Nieuwendyk that sneaked just inside the post at the 6:30 mark of the second.
The Vees closed the night with a pair of third-period tallies – Suniev added an even-strength goal to his total at the 1:36 mark, after an initial chance from Nic DeGraves bounced off the post to Andy Vlaha’s left. Bradly Nadeau finished the scoring for Penticton with 3:35 left, catching a backdoor pass from Josh Nadeau before sending it to the top of the cage.
“We couldn’t have had a better start the first four-and-a-half minutes,” said Wild head coach Chris Clark. “We were executing the game plan to a T, and then we take a penalty, and they get a good bounce and score on the power play. You’re still feeling good about yourself – we had a great start, and there was a lot to build off of there. Unfortunately, in the next few minutes they got two more, and you’re chasing a team that’s really good at playing with a lead.”
Six Penticton players finished with multi-point efforts, led by Niedermayer and Bradly Nadeau, who had a goal and two assists apiece. The Vees went 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Wild were not able to convert on their only power play in the contest. Luca Di Pasquo stopped all 22 Wenatchee shots that came his way, while Vlaha took the loss despite 33 saves.
With the Vees in front two games to none, the series shifts to Wenatchee for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday evening. The opening puck drop both nights at Town Toyota Center is slated for 6 p.m., with live coverage on NewsRadio 560 KPQ and BCHL TV. Single-game tickets for both games are on sale now by phone at 509-888-7825, online at www.wenatcheewildhockey.com, and in person through the Wild front office. Single-game playoff tickets are available for just $13, or $12 per ticket for groups of 10 or more.
Updated news and information on Wild hockey are always available through the team’s website and on the team’s social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.