PHOTO: Wenatchee Wild forward Kenta Isogai scans the scene for the puck in a recent Western Hockey League game against the Everett Silvertips. Isogai scored two goals and added an assist Friday in a 6-4 loss at the Prince George Cougars. (Photo courtesy: Evan Morud/Everett Silvertips)

Austin Draude Wenatchee Wild Media Relations & Broadcast Manager

PRINCE GEORGE, British Columbia – Facing the Western Hockey League’s top power play unit and an offense off to a red-hot start to the 2023-24 season, the need was clear for the Wenatchee Wild Friday night: stay out of the penalty box.

The Prince George Cougars finished the night with five power plays, capitalizing on three of them in a 6-4 defeat of Wenatchee at CN Centre, stretching their run to five straight wins. The game saw the return of a vital piece of the puzzle for the Wild, with Conor Geekie making his return to the WHL after competing at the Arizona Coyotes’ preseason training camp.

The Wild drew first blood in the matchup when Dawson Seitz found Briley Wood out front on a setup pass, with Wood hammering home a one-timer with 3:39 left in the first period for a 1-0 lead.

The Prince George power play got going in the second period, scoring back-to-back goals for a 2-1 lead – Terik Parascak’s rebound goal at the 5:51 mark tied the game at 1-1, and Zac Funk’s goal from the slot with 7:07 on the clock put the Cougars in front for the first time.

The Wild responded less than a minute later with Geekie’s first goal in a Wenatchee uniform, batting in a one-timer from Kenta Isogai on a delayed penalty with 6:09 remaining. Isogai picked up a goal of his own with 1:14 left in the period, ripping a shot past Joshua Ravensbergen from the edge of the slot for a 3-2 Wild lead after two periods.

Parascak tied the game once more with a mid-slot one-timer at 8:13 of the third period, and Ondrej Becher’s one-timer from the right wing two minutes later put the Cougars in front for good. With one second left on his team’s final power play of the night, Viliam Kmec sent a wrist shot to the top of the net, extending the Prince George advantage to 5-3.

Wenatchee got a final tally from Isogai with just over three minutes left, with a one-timer from the bottom of the right-wing circle. However, Funk picked up his second goal of the night by tossing a puck from the point into an empty Wenatchee net with 50 seconds remaining.

“We went to the box too many times, and we didn’t do a good job taking care of the puck at the blue lines,” said associate head coach Chris Clark. “That’s a very good hockey team over there, and when you make mistakes like we did tonight, they made us pay. We just have to find a way to put it together for a full 60 (minutes). You can see it in glimpses, but you’re not going to win in this league without playing a full 60 minutes. We’ll get our rest tonight, get after it again tomorrow, and find a way to get into the win column.”

Geekie finished with a goal and two assists in his Wenatchee debut, while Isogai led the Wild offense with two goals and an assist. Funk’s two goals and three assists paced the Prince George effort. Four Cougar players wrapped up the evening with more than one point, while Ravensbergen made 20 saves on 24 Wild shots to earn his second win of the season.

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Wenatchee and Prince George meet up again on Saturday evening at CN Centre, before the Wild travel to Kamloops on Sunday afternoon to finish off a three-game road weekend. Saturday’s opening puck drop is scheduled for 6 p.m.  Pregame coverage starts at 5:45pm on 560KPQ/FM101.7

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