Teeing up the series
Coming into Saturday night’s game one match-up at Wenatchee’s Town Toyota Center, the Wild and Vernon Vipers met six times over the course of the 2019-20 season. The Wild went 2-3-1 overall and 2-0-1 at home against the Vipers.
On the power play, Wenatchee ranked fourth at 20.6 percent while Vernon ranked thirteenth at 16.4 percent. On the penalty kill, Wenatchee sat tenth with 81.1 percent while Vernon was fourth at 85.3 percent.
There are four key players to watch for on the Wild. The first is captain Brian Adams, who despite missing a large chunk of games, raked in 19 goals and 18 assists. Nick Cafarelli, who also missed a handful of games, brought in 17 goals and 23 assists, and Matt Dorsey racked up 12 goals and 27 assists. 58-game ironman Brett Chorske tied Dorsey in points with 39. Lastly, Sam Morton grabbed 31 points in 26 games since returning to Wenatchee in early December.
For Vernon the players to watch are Matt Kowalski with 61 regular season points, Connor Marritt with 47, and a name that WHL fans might know in Dawson Holt who finished with 46 points.
Wild goaltender Daniel Chenard finished the regular season with a 2.86 GAA, .891 SV% and a 21-16-3 record. Between the pipes for the Vipers, Reilly Herbst has a 2.91 GAA, .901 SV% and a 20-10-3 record.
There were 2,036 fans in attendance Saturday night to see the Wild open their 2020 BCHL Fred Page Cup playoff run.
Connor Sleeth struck first to give Vernon a 1-0 lead with 4:34 to go in the opening frame. The assist came by way of Logan Cash. The period ended 1-0 Vernon with Wenatchee out shooting the Vipers 9-7.
Just 3:15 into the middle stanza, Wenatchee’s Tyler Young went off to the box for hooking. Vernon capitalized on the power play on a goal from Ryan Shostak to make the game 2-0 with 16:35 to go in the second. Matt Kowalski assisted on Shostak’s marker. The period finished 2-0 in favor of Vernon while Wenatchee lead the shot category 21-13.
Just like the first two periods, Vernon provided the only scoring of the third period to make it 3-0. Just 4:52 into the final frame, Wild forward Luke Orsmby was called for tripping for the Wild. Vernon went on the power play and capitalized on it at the 5:30 mark on an unassisted goal from Connor Marritt. Herbst finished the night getting the shutout for Vernon by saving all 30 Wenatchee shots while Daniel Chenard saved 14 of 17 Vernon shots.
Looking ahead to game two
Game two of this Interior Division first round playoff series will go down at 7:05 pm Sunday right back at Wenatchee’s Town Toyota Center. The Wild look to bounce back and tie this best of seven series while Vernon looks to go home to Kal Tire Place up two games to zero.