Monday, April 22, 2024

Joudrey scores again as Wild win in Red Deer

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RED DEER, Alberta – Two games into Wenatchee’s road trip through Alberta, the youngest player on the Wild roster over the past week has doubtlessly been one of its most impactful as well. In his third Western Hockey League appearance, 16-year-old affiliate player Caelan Joudrey scored his second goal Saturday, and the Wild earned their 30th win of the season with a 3-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels at Peavey Mart Centrium. The win drops Wenatchee’s magic number to clinch a WHL playoff berth to just six points.

Wenatchee got on the board 6:47 into the game, when a right point shot from Graham Sward pinballed off of Joudrey and slid past Red Deer goaltender Chase Wutzke’s outstretched right pad for a 1-0 lead. The Rebels responded at 11:12, when a pass from Samuel Drancak found Frantisek Formanek at the edge of the crease for a backdoor one-timer to tie the game at 1-1. However, Miles Cooper put the Wild in front again with 5:29 left in the period, scoring a power play goal from just off the right slot.

Much like their Friday outing in Calgary, the second period was an offensive stalemate – the teams went almost a full 29 minutes without a goal before Kenta Isogai split the defense and pitched in a forehand chance at 3:20 of the third to give the Wild a 3-1 lead. Drancak notched a goal of his own with 9:13 to play, cutting the Wild lead to 3-2, but the Rebels were never able to find the final goal they needed.

“I thought it was a 60-minute effort from everybody,” said Wenatchee coach Roy Sommer. “We didn’t have a lot of lulls in the game, we did a good job keeping the play to the outside, and Brendan Gee was good in net for us again. The power play got us another goal, and the penalty kill had a couple more kills tonight. There are a lot of parts of our game that are heading in the right direction, and to a man, I thought everyone dug in when they needed to and got in shooting lanes, and finished our hits.”

Cooper and Isogai each notched a goal and an assist, and Gee stopped 29 of the Rebels’ 31 shots for his 13th win of the season. The Wild were excellent on special teams again, going 1-for-3 on the power play and turning away both chances for the hosts. Wenatchee climbed to 30-23-4-0 for the season, and 6-2 for the year against Eastern Conference opponents.

Drancak led the Rebel effort with a goal and an assist, while Wutzke took the loss in a 22-save effort. Red Deer outshot the Wild 31-25 in the game, including an 8-2 margin in the third period, but dropped to 29-20-2-6 on the season.

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