Wenatchee Wild season ends with 8-3 game five loss to Vernon

First period

It was do or die for the Wenatchee Wild Friday night at the Town Toyota Center with 1,979 in attendance. Down 3-1 in their first round series with the Vernon Vipers, the Wild looked to stay alive. Just 23 seconds in, Vernon’s Logan Cash got an unassisted breakaway goal to go up 1-0 on their first shot of the game. It was Cash’s second point of the series.

At the 4:41 mark, Hunter Donohoe scored for Vernon to make it 2-0 on the Vipers second shot of the game. Assists came from Cameron MacDonald and Dawson Holt. It was Donohoe’s second point in the series after grabbing an assist in game four.

Wenatchee’s Noah Lugli went off for interference at the 13:23 mark. Vipers leading playoff scorer  MacDonald scored an unassisted power play goal to go up 3-0 and spell the end of the night for Wild goaltender Daniel Chenard. The Wild replaced Chenard with Noah Altman.

Nick Cafarelli scored for Wenatchee to make it 3-1 at the sixteen minute mark. Assists came by way of Brian Adams and Ethan Wolthers. The period finished with a 3-1 lead for Vernon with Wenatchee leading the shot category 13-11.

Second period

The Wild struck early in the second at the 1:25 mark to make it 3-2 on a goal from Matt Dorsey with assists from Dylan Herzog and Sam Morton. It was Dorsey’s first point of the playoffs.

The Vipers made it 4-2 at the 10:41 mark on a goal from Colby Feist with the lone assist to Nicholas Kent. It was Feist’s and Kent’s first point each of the series. The period ended with Vernon up by two on the scoreboard while leading in shots 20-19.

Final Frame

The third period opened with a Vernon goal just 29 seconds in from Connor Marritt with assists to Kent and MacDonald. The goal was Marritt’s tenth point of the series after collecting two goals and seven assists prior to Friday night. At the 6:10 mark, Trey Taylor made it 6-2 Vernon, assisted by Ben Helgeson and Jack Glen. The Wild then put Chenard back in net to replace Altman.

Wenatchee scored at the 16:56 mark of the period on a goal from Brett Chorske with an assist from  Wolthers. It was Chorske’s first point of the series.

Vernon made it 7-3 on a goal from MacDonald into the empty net. It was his fourth point of the night. The Vipers scored again into an empty net at the 19 minute mark on a goal from Donohoe. The night ended with Vernon netminder Reilly Herbst turning away 21 shots. Altman stopped 18 shots in 32:42 of action while Chenard made six saves in just over 27 minutes of play.

Coach Clark’s thoughts

I asked Wild interim head coach Chris Clark post-game what happened in the game four loss in Vernon that resulted in them coming home down 3-1. “First and foremost, you’ve got to give Vernon credit, the Vipers are a great hockey team. They defended their home ice like they were supposed to. It was one of those situations where we kind of got ourselves behind, had to claw our way back and just couldn’t get that equalizer. Our players would get within one and felt like they had good opportunities to get it even and Vernon found ways to push it back up to a two goal or a three goal lead.”

This season and moving forward

When asked about this season, Clark said his players fought hard. “Battled through anything that was thrown their way. Never complained, the players just got after it every single day if we had 15 healthy bodies or 23 healthy bodies. Everyone brought it every night, so I’ll definitely cherish that about this group, and hopefully we have a good group of returning guys that come back. This is a great learning lesson for those guys, so in the summertime when it’s time to get the workouts in and time to train, they’re remembering this moment so we don’t have to feel it again next year.”

Process on going into off-season and beyond

Clark added that the players will go their separate ways soon. “We’ll start exit interviews here in the next day or so, and then they’ll start making their way home the next 48-72 hours. Obviously a lot of them played a lot of minutes so I’m sure they’re going to need some time to recover for a couple of weeks. I’m sure these guys, for them it’s a year around deal, they’ll start getting in the gym, getting their workouts in, and hopefully be hungry to come back here next year and get after it.”