Thursday, May 23, 2024

Wild earn 20th home victory Wednesday, score four unanswered in 6-3 win

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WENATCHEE – The Wenatchee Wild forced the Regina Pats to take the lead three separate times in Wednesday’s Western Hockey League matchup at Town Toyota Center, but for Wenatchee, grabbing the lead once was all it took.

The Wild wrapped up Regina’s first-ever visit to Wenatchee by scoring four unanswered goals in a 6-3 win, earning their 20th home victory of the season and cutting their magic number to clinch a WHL playoff spot to just four points. Three of the six Wenatchee goals in Wednesday’s game were scored by defensemen, as the Wild moved to 7-3 on the season against Eastern Conference competition.

The first of the Pats’ power plays saw Braxton Whitehead collect a second chance in front of the net and toss it into the top corner with 8:08 left in the first period – the Wild answered with a goal from Rodzers Bukarts, tipping Karter Prosofsky’s right-point one-timer past Kelton Pyne with 5:06 remaining.

Tanner Howe found the puck just outside the crease near a stick battle and tossed it into the goal with 3:59 left in the period to give the Pats a 2-1 lead, but Wenatchee tied the game again on another right-wing shot from Prosofsky at 3:28 of the second. Logan Peskett banked a shot off the crossbar to give Regina a final lead at the 8:41 mark, and one final time, the Wild erased the lead with 4:22 remaining in the stanza, on Kenta Isogai’s goal from the right faceoff dot.

Graham Sward gave Wenatchee its first lead with 2:08 left, fluttering a shot through from the left point for a 4-3 advantage. Jonas Woo gave the hosts their first insurance at the 8:11 mark of the third, walking the puck through the right-wing circle and sneaking a shot under the crossbar for a two-goal lead. With 6.5 seconds left in the game, Isogai captured a loose puck in front of the benches and jogged it in to give the Wild their final margin.

“I thought the guys came out and competed all night,” said assistant coach Andrew Sarauer. “Guys were moving pucks really well, and we pushed the pace most of the game. There were a couple of breakdowns here and there, but that’s going to happen, and I thought the guys responded really well after going down. The guys couldn’t seem to grab the lead after we’d tie it up – they’d come back every time, but in the second period, the guys finally broke through with that power play goal, and the dam broke and we took control for most of the second half of the game.”

Isogai wrapped up the night with a pair of goals, while Sward and Prosofsky each finished with a goal and two assists. Sward added a seventh game to his current point streak, his third such run for the Wild this season. Wenatchee finished 1-for-3 on the power play, and wiped away three of Regina’s four power play chances on the night. They would get 18 saves from Brendan Gee in his 14th win of the season, moving to 31-24-4-0 for the year, while Pyne made 30 saves as the Pats fell to 21-33-4-2 on the season.

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