Russ Alman / Digital Media Northwest

Wenatchee rallies to defeat Chilliwack for a sixth straight win

The Wenatchee Wild looked to continue its hot streak as the Chilliwack Chiefs paid a visit to the Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee on Saturday night. Coming into the night, the Wild had won five straight.

Saturday saw the Wild coming off a 5-2 win over Vernon on Friday for their fifth consecutive victory.  The Chiefs went into Saturday night’s game fresh off a 4-2 road loss against the Surrey Eagles. Chilliwack entered Saturday at 25-18-5-6, good for 61 points while Wenatchee entered the game with a record of 28-22-3-1, good for 60 points.

Starting in net for Chilliwack was Mathieu Caron with a .912 save percentage and a 17-10 record. Meanwhile for Wenatchee between the pipes, it was former Chilliwack Chiefs netminder Daniel Chenard with an .889 save percentage and a 19-15 record on the season.

In Wenatchee’s first matchup with the Chiefs this season, Chilliwack secured a 6-2 win on home ice.

First Period

With just over three minutes left in the first, Wenatchee’s Dylan Herzog was called for tripping and went to the box. Chilliwack capitalized on the power play at the 17:59 mark of the period on a goal by Cooper Moore. It was Moore’s 12th goal of the season. The Chiefs finished the period leading 1-0 on the scoreboard and 8-6 in shots.

Second Period

Wenatchee got its first chance at the power play 29 seconds into the second when Moore got called for tripping. Like Chilliwack, the Wild was able to capitalize on the power play, scoring at the 2:05 mark on a goal by Matt Dorsey with assists from Drew Bavaro and Sam Morton. It was Dorsey’s 10th goal of the season. Bavaro’s lone assist earned him the third star of the game. In Friday night’s match-up with the Vipers, Morton had a three point night on a goal and two assists. Bavaro also picked up his second point on the home stand as he also had an assist Friday night.

Moments after a previous power play expired, the Chiefs scored on a goal from Connor Milburn at the 14:24 mark with assists from Kyle Penney and Nicholas Cherkowski. Many penalties and pleasantries were exchanged between players as it got a bit chippy, but no other goals were had in the second period. Chilliwack went into the break leading 2-1 on the scoreboard with the shots tied at 16 apiece.

Final Frame

Down 2-1 entering the third, Luke Orsmby scored unassisted to tie it at the 6:21 mark and the crowd went wild. It was Orsmby’s 14th goal of the season.

On their 24th shot of the game, Morton scored to take the lead for Wenatchee with assists from Matt Dorsey and Noah Lugli. Dorsey’s assist was his third point on the home stand as he also notched an assist on Friday night. With the three points he’s collected over these last two games, his point total rises to 33 on the season. Dorsey’s assist, along with his goal, was enough to earn him the second star of the game.

Down 3-2, Chilliwack pulled its goalie for the extra attacker. Wenatchee scored the empty netter on a goal from Herzog with assists to Harrison Scott and Morton to make it 4-2. Morton now has 28 points in 23 games this season with ten goals and 18 assists. Morton’s three point night earned him the first star of the game. Shots finished 26-24 in favor of the Wild in a battle that got pretty chippy as the game wore on. Caron saved 22 of 25 shots for Chilliwack while Chenard saved 22 of 24 shots for Wenatchee.

Morton’s take

Post-game, I asked Wild center Sam Morton about his line’s point production. He said he thought their power play was a lot better this weekend and it’s where a lot of team production comes from. He says it’s a matter of focusing on execution rather than all the other little details and to execute when you get your chances. I also asked him about the playoffs, his mindset, and what he’s looking forward to there. He said he’s looking forward to playing as much hockey as possible and he thinks they’re heading in the right direction right now. Morton emphasized that they need to just keep doing the things that are making them successful, focus on what they’re doing well, and learn from the things they’re doing wrong.

Key takeaway

The Wenatchee Wild are heating up at the right time with just three regular season games left before the playoffs, including Sunday’s game against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Despite the absence of two top scorers due to injury, Wenatchee has won six straight and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Look for Wenatchee to get even hotter if 40-point forward Nick Cafarelli and 19-goal scorer Brian Adams return to action before the season is out.