Wenatchee Earns OT Win On Murray’s Record Performance
PHOTO: Wenatchee Wild forwards Parker Murray (26, foreground) and Ean Somoza celebrate a goal in a recent home game. Murray set a new Wild postseason record with four goals Tuesday in a 5-4 win over the Cranbrook Bucks. (Photo credit: Russ Alman/Digital Media Northwest)
By Austin Draude Wenatchee Wild Media Relations & Broadcast Manager
WENATCHEE, Wash. – With 15 successful years of hockey history under their belt, the Wenatchee Wild have seen some legendary postseason performances. It’s possible that Parker Murray’s performance Tuesday at Town Toyota Center topped them all.
Murray set a new Wenatchee playoff record with four goals in a 5-4 overtime triumph over the Cranbrook Bucks, pushing the Wild to a two-games-to-one lead over the Bucks in their best-of-seven Interior Conference quarterfinal series.
His goal at 3:07 of the first period opened the scoring, with a blast from the left wing that trickled past Bucks goaltender Nathan Airey, giving the hosts a 1-0 lead. However, Cranbrook tied the game with 2:01 left in the period on a breakaway goal from Nick Peluso, and grabbed the lead two minutes into the second on a point chance from Bryce Sookro.
Murray answered at 7:15 of the second period on a second-chance marker, snapping a shot past Airey from the left-wing faceoff dot to tie the game at 2-2. Wenatchee went ahead on his third goal of the night with 6:06 left in the period, sweeping in a rebound on the power play to take a 3-2 advantage. Kellan Hjartarson picked up a power play tally of his own with 4:40 left in the period, deflecting in a chance from Peluso, but Micah Berger answered with a go-ahead goal on a rebound just 38 seconds later, giving Wenatchee a 4-3 advantage at the break.
The Wild were almost able to hang on to the lead the entire third period, but Donovan Frias potted the extra chance with 33.8 seconds remaining in regulation, sending the teams to overtime for the first time in the series. The extra session lasted less than four minutes, with Murray taking a drop pass from Ean Somoza and sending the fans home on a slap shot from the left point.
“We had a lot of chances. We had some power plays late, and we generated some things,” said Wild assistant coach Leigh Mendelson. “That team is not going away. That team is well-coached, well-disciplined and they’re proud kids. They’re good players, and we capitalized on some big chances.”
Murray’s hat trick was the seventh in team postseason history, but the first to include four goals. Berger closed the night with a goal and an assist among five multi-point outings for the Wild. Peluso factored into every goal for the Bucks, scoring one and assisting on three others.
Each team enjoyed success on the power play, with a 1-for-5 finish for the Wild and a 1-for-3 line for Cranbrook. Andy Vlaha earned the win with 34 saves, while Airey took the loss behind 40 saves of his own.
Wenatchee has a chance to stretch its series lead to 3-1 on Wednesday as the Wild and Bucks return to Town Toyota Center for a 6 p.m. puck drop, with live coverage available on Newsradio 560 KPQ and BCHL TV.
To purchase tickets to Wednesday’s Game 4, call 509-888-7825 or purchase online at www.wenatcheewildhockey.com. 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.