Opening weekend was an exciting one for the Wenatchee Wild, with a 6-5 win over the Portland Winterhawks and a 3-2 loss against the Seattle Thunderbirds. Despite the loss, the Wild showed just how much of a force they’ll be this season.
Portland Winterhawks (9/22)
If the Wild are anything, they’re a team that doesn’t give up. The first period saw them down 4-1, but the next two resulted in a momentous comeback, landing them with a 6-5 win. Oscar Lovsin struck first for the Wild, notching his first WHL goal (and first of the night).
The Winterhawks are a strong team with an impressive defensive group. Their lead in the beginning proved this; the Wild, however, were able to overcome and conquer, establishing themselves as a team who are never out of a game.
- Oscar Lovsin (Steven Arp, Miles Cooper) – 11:15 (1st Per)
- Arp (Cooper, Lovsin) – 18:56 (1st Per)
- Briley Wood (Evan Friesen, Karter Prosofsky) – 0:32 (2nd Per)
- Lovsin (Cooper, Jonas Woo) – 10:37 (2nd Per)
- Dawson Seitz (Kenta Isogai, Landon Young) – 0:48 (3rd Per)
- Young (Kurt Rookes) – 3:14 (3rd Per) – Game-Winning
Seattle Thunderbirds (9/23)
The game against the Seattle Thunderbirds was an extremely close one. While Seattle scored first, the Wild held a 2-1 lead going into the third.
The Thunderbirds tied it just over two minutes into the third, and the game remained even for most of the period. With 33 seconds left on the clock, however, the Thunderbirds scored, ending the game in a 3-2 loss for the Wild. Just like in the 2022-23 postseason, the Wild and the Thunderbirds are an extremely even matchup, and the Thunderbirds managed to prevail once again. This rivalry is going to be one of the most fun to watch this season.
- Cooper (Lovsin, Arp) – 1:22 (2nd Per)
- Wood (Ashton Cumby) – 10:48 (2nd Per)
Forward Dawson Seitz saw his 100th WHL game on Saturday against the Thunderbirds.
Rookie Oscar Lovsin was named WHL Rookie of the Week after recording four points (2G-2A) in his first two WHL games played.
Week 2 Preview (9/29-10/1)
The week ahead features three away games Wild fans can tune into: Friday, September 29 against the Everett Silvertips, Saturday, September 30 against the Kelowna Rockets, and Sunday, October 1 against the Vancouver Giants.
9/29: Everett Silvertips
As the Winnipeg ICE last year, the Wild played against the Silvertips only once in a 5-4 win. The two teams then met in the 2023-24 preseason in a 4-3 overtime win, with a game-winning goal from Zach Benson. Although Benson is at the Sabres camp, the Wild still have some key players going into the regular season, such as goaltender Daniel Hauser and defensemen Karter Prosofsky and Ashton Cumby.
The Silvertips’ roster is already making big changes from last season: goaltender Ethan Chadwick was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades, Caden Brown from the Prince George Cougars, and Teague Patton from the Victoria Royals. Julius Meittinen is another newcomer to watch, scoring his first WHL goal this past weekend.
With the last two times the teams met resulting in wins for the Wild, it’s going to be exciting to see if they record yet another or if the Silvertips will make a comeback.
9/30: Kelowna Rockets
Another team the Wild played—and prevailed over—once last season, the Kelowna Rockets will host the Wild this weekend.
The Rockets have only played one game this season, which ended in a 6-5 loss against the Portland Winterhawks. Their top scorers include Turner McMillen (2G-1A), Ethan Neutens (1G-1A), and Tij Iginla (1G). This game against the Rockets will be the first of four this season.
10/1: Vancouver Giants
The Wild only played the Giants once last year in a 4-3 win.
The Giants have also only played one game this season, but their final tally was a 4-1 win over the Victoria Royals. Their points leaders include Adam Titlbach (1G-1A), Kyen Gronick (2A), and Colton Langkow (1G). Goaltender Brett Mirwald boasts a 1.00 GAA and .960 SV% in the single game he played; it’ll be exciting to see how the Wild hold against him, assuming he’s in net on Saturday.
Players Who Surprised Me
Oscar Lovsin, earlier mentioned as the WHL Rookie of the Week with four points in his first two games, stood out to me a lot this weekend. He’s not afraid to take the shot, and is always right where he’s needed on the ice.
Ashton Cumby also was a sight to see. His size, at 6’4 and 204 pounds, is part of what makes him such a force on the ice, but he was also making some incredible defensive plays, especially against the Thunderbirds last Saturday.
Gabe’s 3 Players to Watch
Veteran forward Briley Wood scored twice in the first two games he played. Already demonstrating himself as a leader on the ice, I will not be surprised if he continues to make an impact in the upcoming games this week.
Although he has yet to score his first WHL goal, rookie forward Luka Shcherbyna is a lot of fun to watch. Acquired from the Spokane Chiefs ahead of the 2023-24 season, Shcherbyna is a playmaker, with a lot of potential going into the season.
Another veteran for the Wild, forward Steven Arp has recorded three points (1G-2A) in his first two games played this season. The team seems to gravitate toward him on and off the ice, and I think he has a lot of potential both scoring-wise and when it comes to leadership.
The Wenatchee Wild have an exciting week ahead of them, with a multitude of talented players to watch and great rivalries to cheer against.