Penticton Takes Series Opener With Wenatchee Wild
PHOTO: Wenatchee Wild forward Parker Murray (26, background) looks to take the puck away from Penticton’s Frank Djurasevic in Friday’s BCHL playoff game in Penticton. Murray’s second-period goal made him the only player in Wild history to score in seven consecutive games. (Photo credit: Cherie Morgan/Penticton Vees)
By Austin Draude Wenatchee Wild Media Relations and Broadcast Manager
PENTICTON, British Columbia – In order to move on in the British Columbia Hockey League playoffs, the Wenatchee Wild will need to take at least one game on the Penticton Vees’ home rink – in Friday’s Interior Conference semifinal opener at South Okanagan Events Centre, they nearly did just that.
Special teams made an especially big difference, with each team putting away a power play goal and Bradly Nadeau adding a shorthanded tally for the Vees in a 3-1 final, as Penticton pulled ahead to start the best-of-seven affair. The win was Penticton’s 37th consecutive victory on home ice, dating back to last season’s run to the Fred Page Cup championship.
The teams played a tight, even contest in the opening 20 minutes, with Penticton posting 13 shots to Wenatchee’s 12 in a scoreless first period and each team wiping away a power play along the way. The Wild got their break on a two-man advantage with 8:29 left in the second, with Billy Norcross and Mason Poolman serving back-to-back slashing calls. Parker Murray hammered a one-timer to the Vees’ net from the right hash-marks, sneaking it past Luca Di Pasquo on the near post and putting the visitors in front first.
Penticton tied the game going to the third – Josh Nadeau’s shot was blocked back to him off the stick of David Hejduk, but Nadeau took advantage of his second chance to find Dovar Tinling for a backdoor one-timer to tie the game with 1:22 left in the period. The Vees took the lead for good on Nadeau’s shorthanded goal in transition, putting them ahead with 9:48 to play. Spencer Smith’s empty-net goal from the half-wall with 51.9 seconds left sealed the Vees’ victory.
“We had some good looks in the first period, missed the net and just went to the [penalty] box too many times there in the second period,” said Wild head coach Chris Clark. “We got a 5-on-3 goal, and we had to know we had to live clean after that. Although we got most of the penalties killed, it zapped our legs and we lost our forecheck. They made one more play than we did.”
Josh Nadeau had the only multi-point game with a pair of assists, while Di Pasquo made 22 saves to move to 5-0 in the postseason. Penticton posted plenty of looks at the net in the final 40 minutes, out-shooting Wenatchee 16-6 in the second period and 15-5 in the third. Bradly Nadeau continued his postseason scoring run for the Vees, becoming the team’s only player to post a point in all five postseason contests thus far.
Andy Vlaha was outstanding in net for the Wild despite the loss, making 41 saves. Murray continued his march through the Wenatchee postseason record book, becoming the only player in team history to score goals in seven consecutive games. His 13th postseason goal puts him in a tie for third on the team’s single-playoff list. Each team enjoyed success on the power play, with the Wild going 1-for-5 and Penticton finishing 1-for-6.
The teams get together Saturday for the second game of the series, with the opening puck drop in Penticton slated for 7 p.m. with live coverage at 6:45pm and throughout the playoffs on Newsradio 560 KPQ and BCHL TV.
The series shifts to Wenatchee on April 18th-19th. Single-game tickets for Games 3 and 4 are on sale by phone at 509-888-7825, online at www.wenatcheewildhockey.com, and in person through the Wild front office. Single-game playoff tickets are available for just $13, or $12 per ticket for groups of 10 or more.
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.