Although they battled hard, the Wenatchee Wild lost the first three of their eight-game road trip, ending the weekend with a 0-3-1-0 streak. The team looks to break the losing streak this week in their upcoming games: Friday, October 6 against the Prince George Cougars, Saturday, October 7 against the Cougars once more, and Sunday, October 8, against the Kamloops Blazers.
Week 2 Recap
Everett Silvertips (9/29)
The first game last week, against the Everett Silvertips, was a 3-2 overtime loss. Rookie Kenta Isogai scored his first goal of the season on the power play, tying the game 1-1 in the second period.
The Silvertips scored nine minutes into the third, but Graham Sward tied it yet again with just over two minutes left in the game, sending them to overtime. Despite the Wild’s resiliency, the Silvertips prevailed, giving the Wild their first overtime loss of the season.
- Kenta Isogai (Graham Sward, Briley Wood) – 14:23 (2nd Per)
- Graham Sward – 17:49 (3rd Per)
Wenatchee Goalie: Daniel Hauser
- 41 of 44 shots saved
- .932 SV%
Three Stars of the Game:
- Dominik Rymon (EVT) – 2G
- Cade Zaplitny (EVT) – 1G
- Tyler Palmer (EVT) – 26 of 28 shots saved
Kelowna Rockets (9/30)
The Wild met the Kelowna Rockets in a 5-3 loss on Saturday. The Rockets scored first, but with five minutes to go in the first period, Easton Armstrong netted his first of the season—shorthanded, too!
The second period only saw one goal from the Rockets, but the third was when the action picked up. Rodžers Bukarts and Evan Friesen each scored their first goals within two minutes of each other, giving the Wild a 3-2 lead with roughly seventeen minutes left in the game. Unfortunately, the Rockets were able to make an impressive comeback, scoring three times before the buzzer went off, resulting in a final score of 5-3 Kelowna.
- Easton Armstrong (Miles Cooper) – 15:02 (1st Per)
- Rodžers Bukarts (Graham Sward, Armstrong) – 5:37 (3rd Per)
- Evan Friesen (Briley Wood, Sward) – 6:50 (3rd Per)
Wenatchee Goalie: Daniel Hauser
- 37 of 42 shots saved
- .881 SV%
Stars of the Game:
- Andrew Cristall (KEL) – 1G, 2A
- Hiroki Gojsic (KEL) – 1G, 1A
- Easton Armstrong (WEN) – 1G, 1A
Vancouver Giants (10/1)
Although goaltender Brendan Gee played a strong game in his Western Hockey League debut, he and the Wild were unable to beat the Vancouver Giants in a 6-2 loss on Sunday. This is one of those games where the score doesn’t quite tell the whole story: while the Giants excelled in their offense, Gee had a multitude of incredible saves, playing an impressive first game in the dub.
Jonas Woo opened the scoring nearly eight minutes into the game, his first of the season. The Giants answered with three goals before Graham Sward scored with 1.2 seconds left in the second period.
Yet again, the Giants answered with three goals of their own, ending the game in a 6-2 loss for the Wild.
- Jonas Woo (Miles Cooper) – 7:44 (1st Per)
- Graham Sward (Hayden Moore, Turner McIntyre) – 19:58 (2nd Per)
Wenatchee Goalie: Brendan Gee
- 30 of 36 shots saved
- .833 SV%
Stars of the Game:
- Kyren Gronick (VAN) – 2G
- Jaden Lipinski (VAN) – 2A
- Jonas Woo (WEN) – 1G
Week 3 Preview
This week the Wild will take on the Prince George Cougars twice before heading down to Kamloops to take on the Blazers.
10/6 & 10/7: Prince George Cougars
As the Winnipeg ICE last year, the Wild played the Cougars once in a 4-1 win.
The Prince George Cougars are one of the highest-scoring teams in the first two weeks of the WHL’s regular season. The Wild have a handful of players to look out for: Terik Parascak, who leads the Cougars in goals with eight and was just named the WHL Rookie of the Week, Zac Funk, and Riley Heidt. Koehn Ziemmer makes his return to the Cougars from the Los Angeles Kings’ camp this week as well.
While the Wild have prevailed over the Cougars in the past, Prince George has built an impressive roster this season, one that’ll be tough to beat. The Wild will take them on twice this week on Friday and Saturday.
10/8: Kamloops Blazers
The last time the Wild played against the Kamloops Blazers was eleven months ago in a 5-3 win.
After gearing up for their Memorial Cup run last season, the Blazers have a lot of names who won’t be returning to their lineup this season, including Olen Zellweger and Logan Stankoven. However, they do have Shea Van Olm and Emmitt Finnie leading the team in points. Goaltender Matthew Kieper sits at a 1.00 GAA and .957 SV% in his first game played this season.
The Blazers as a team have won one of their three games played, losing to the Spokane Chiefs and the Everett Silvertips and winning against the Vancouver Giants. The Wild will have their chance to hand the Blazers another loss, or a win, on Sunday, October 8.
On September 25, Wild Head Coach Kevin Constantine was suspended due to “alleged violations of WHL Regulations and Policies.” The investigation is ongoing, and upon conclusion, the WHL will release a follow-up statement. Associate Head Coach and Assistant General Manager Chris Clark has served as the Wild’s interim head coach in the meantime.
Easton Armstrong, Graham Sward, and Conor Geekie have all returned from NHL camps and will join the Wild’s lineup this week.
Gabe’s 3 Players to Watch
Goaltender Brendan Gee played in his first WHL game last week and may get another chance between the pipes this weekend. The young goaltender had many impressive saves in his debut against the Vancouver Giants. He of course needs more game time to adjust to the WHL, but he shows a lot of potential and I personally am quite excited to see how he does this season.
A big name for the Wild, Geekie makes his return to the Wild lineup from the Arizona Coyotes’ development camp. The forward had 77 points in 66 regular season games played last season, and is bound to be a huge part of the Wild’s scoring now that he’s back in town.
Also back from camp, Graham Sward has already made an impact on the Wild. In the three games he played last weekend, the defenseman recorded five points (2G-3A). It’s always fun when a defenseman has a knack for scoring, and Sward is no different.