Wenatchee Takes Loss But Claims BCHL Playoff Berth
By Austin Draude Wwenatchee Wild Media Relations and Broadcast Manager
PENTICTON, British Columbia – Friday’s game didn’t end with the result the Wenatchee Wild were hunting for, but they still came away with a win of sorts thanks to a loss elsewhere in the British Columbia Hockey League.
Josh Nadeau notched four goals for the Penticton Vees in a 6-2 win over the Wild at the South Okanagan Events Centre, including a natural hat trick in the third period, keeping the Vees unbeaten for the season on home ice. Despite that, the Wild clinched their spot in the BCHL Fred Page Cup playoffs by way of the Merritt Centennials’ 5-1 loss to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.
The teams battled to a scoreless tie in the first period, with Andy Vlaha turning aside all 11 Vees chances in the opening 20 minutes and Luca Di Pasquo doing the same on Wenatchee’s six opportunities. The hosts broke through at 3:42 of the second period, though, when Ryan Hopkins’s shot from the right point caught Bradly Nadeau and Josh Nadeau in front of the net, and Josh Nadeau finished the opportunity for the 1-0 lead.
The two teamed up for a second time when Josh Nadeau poked in a second chance at 7:49, and for a third time at 11:16 when Bradly Nadeau found Josh Nadeau for a backdoor tap-in to make it a 3-0 game. Wenatchee had a rapid response, though, as Parker Murray roofed a chance from the left wing just 11 seconds later to make it a two-goal game again.
The Vees got the three-goal lead back going to the locker room when Brett Moravec batted in a rebound after a Mason Poolman shot from the left point, making it a 4-1 game with 1:39 to go before the intermission.
The teams traded power play goals in the third, as Jackson Nieuwendyk twirled in a chance in front of the Wild cage at the 5:50 mark and Luke Weilandt banged in a rebound to cut the lead to 5-2 less than two minutes later. The Nadeau brothers got the last word, with Bradly finding Josh in the left-wing faceoff circle for a one-timer with 8:24 remaining.
Josh Nadeau finished with four goals, while Bradly Nadeau had the primary assist on all four markers. Garrett Szydlowski tallied an assist on both Wenatchee goals to highlight the effort for the visitors. Vlaha took the loss with 23 saves, while Di Pasquo made 32 saves to earn his 29th victory of the season. The Wild did pick up a power play goal in their seventh straight game, tying their longest such streak of the year.
“We obviously can’t leave their best players alone on the back door, that goes without saying,” said Wild head coach Chris Clark. “We actually did a lot of good things tonight, we just couldn’t get the puck behind their goalie. Every time they got a grade-A chance, we left a guy alone or let a guy tap it into an empty net. We’ve got to clean that part up, but there were a lot of positives from tonight that we’re going to take away and we’ll get back at it again tomorrow.”
Wenatchee fell to 22-21-1-2 for the year, while Penticton moved to 40-3-0-1 with the win and 20-0 at the South Okanagan Events Centre. The Wild head to Merritt Saturday to square off with the Centennials, with the opening puck drop slated for 7 p.m. Live coverage is available on Newsradio 560 KPQ and BCHL TV.
The Chilliwack Chiefs will be the next team to visit Wenatchee on March 4, for Guns & Hoses Night, presented by Starr Ranch Growers. 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.