Sunday, April 21, 2024

Wenatchee grinds out 3-1 win over Spokane as home schedule winds down

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WENATCHEE – Two goals remain just steps away for the Wenatchee Wild and the Spokane Chiefs following Friday’s Western Hockey League matchup at Town Toyota Center. The Wild knew they could make some serious progress toward their goal, home-ice advantage in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. For the Chiefs, a magic number remains in play as well, and a celebration will have to wait at least one more day.

Wenatchee earned a 3-1 win over the Chiefs, snapping a three-game skid against Spokane – their victory, coupled with Kelowna’s loss at Everett and Vancouver’s home win over Kamloops, dropped the magic number for the Wild to clinch first-round home-ice advantage to just five points. The Chiefs remain in need of a single point to take the final Western Conference playoff spot away from Seattle, who was idle on Friday. Spokane slipped to 27-31-5-1 for the season, while the Wild climbed to 33-26-4-0 with the victory.

Their offense was far from idle, firing 19 first-period shots on the Chiefs net, and burying a chance at 3:21 when Kenta Isogai found Evan Friesen out front for a pop-up shot into the top corner of the net over Dawson Cowan’s right shoulder. Wenatchee also dominated at the faceoff dot in the opening stanza, 16-6.

The second period initially saw more of the same from Wenatchee, as Graham Sward’s shot from above the faceoff circles was redirected by Maddix McCagherty for a 2-0 lead at 2:05 of the period. Karter Prosofsky walked the puck to the right dot and zipped a wrist shot past Cowan at the 7:09 mark, giving Wenatchee a 3-0 cushion.

Ty Cheveldayoff pivoted a shot to the middle of the slot for a wrister from Cameron Parr at 13:12 of the period, cutting the Wenatchee lead to 3-1. The Wild were limited to five shots on net in the final period, but the hosts held on to the two-goal advantage to the final horn.

“I think it was a good way to start the weekend, getting two points at home with a big weekend and coming down to crunch time at the end of the season,” said assistant coach Andrew Sarauer. “We’ll take the two points for sure. It was a sloppy game at the start – pucks were bouncing all over the ice, and guys couldn’t handle the puck. We were turning the puck over more than we wanted to, but give the guys credit – they hung in there, and found a way to win.”

Prosofsky had the game’s only multi-point showing, with a goal and an assist, while McCagherty earned the first game-winning tally in his WHL career. Brendan Gee made 24 saves, earning his 16th win of the year, his third against the Chiefs in as many decisions. Cowan stopped 30 Wenatchee shots in the loss for Spokane. The penalty-killing units were a perfect 7-for-7 in the game, but the Wild dominated the battle at the faceoff dot, 39-22.

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