Sunday, April 21, 2024

Prosofsky nets hat trick, Wild clinch first-round home ice with 4-2 win Friday

Wenatchee awaits results of matchup between Kelowna, Vancouver in season’s final game Saturday

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VICTORIA, British Columbia – For the Wenatchee Wild, there was no better magic to be performed on Friday at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre than making a magic number disappear.

While the Kelowna Rockets were busy doing their part in a 6-2 rout at the Vancouver Giants, the Wild took care of their business with a 4-2 victory at the Victoria Royals, locking up home-ice advantage in the first round of the Western Hockey League’s Western Conference playoffs, which will begin next weekend.

Wenatchee drew first blood just 3:50 into the game, when Kenta Isogai’s shot from the right point tipped off of Evan Friesen’s stick and past Braden Holt to give the Wild an early momentum swing. Puck luck continued through the night for the visitors, but no more so than with 3:26 left in the period, when Karter Prosofsky cleared the puck into the Victoria zone – the puck hit a stanchion along the glass inside the blue line and took a sharp turn to the goal. Holt was out of the net, expecting to play the puck on the end boards, and Wenatchee went to the break up 2-0.

Neither team was able to score in the second period, but Wenatchee gained full control of the faceoff dot in the middle 20 minutes, winning 19 of 24 faceoffs in that time. Prosofsky scored his second goal at 4:53 of the third period, as a one-timer from Graham Sward wobbled off of Prosofsky’s stick in front of the net – his second chance came in mid-air, batting the puck in for a 3-0 Wild lead.

Victoria’s offense found its breath on the power play with 13:02 left – with another penalty waiting to be whistled, Logan Pickford took a centering pass out front and buried a one-timer to make it a 3-1 game. With 9:40 remaining, Prosofsky closed out the hat trick with a one-timer from the right point, after a faceoff win by Hayden Moore and a pass from Maddix McCagherty. Nate Misskey found Reggie Newman for a wrist shot from the right circle to make it 4-2 with 7:33 to go, but the gap remained too much for the Royals to overcome.

Prosofsky wrapped up the night with his first career hat trick, the first in the organization by a defenseman in 15 years, while Friesen wrapped up the night with a goal and an assist. Sward finished with an assist, giving him 80 points for the season and moving him within a point of Ben Zloty’s franchise record among blueliners. Brendan Gee made 35 saves for his 17th win of the season, tying him for the team lead. Victoria finished 1-for-6 on the power play, while Wenatchee came up scoreless on its only power play of the night.

Victoria ends its regular season with a 29-30-5-4 record, sealing up the seventh seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Wenatchee moves to 34-29-4-0 ahead of its last game of the season on Saturday, with Kelowna and Vancouver facing off to decide which team will face the Wild in the opening round of the playoffs. The Wild wrap up the regular season Saturday at the Everett Silvertips – the opening puck drop at Angel of the Winds Arena is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Live coverage is available on Newsradio 560 KPQ and WHL Live.

Wild playoff packages and 2024-25 season tickets remain on sale – 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.

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