McKEE BESTS WILD IN SHOOTOUT
January 19, 2013
McKEE BESTS WILD IN SHOOTOUT
WENATCHEE, Wash. – Nick McKee was the key for the Fresno Monsters. The 20-year-old forward from Bakersfield, Calif. recorded a hat trick in regulation before notching the game-winning goal in a shootout to give the Monsters a 4-3 victory Saturday over the Wenatchee Wild at the Town Toyota Center.
McKee scored his first goal of the game near the midpoint of the first period on a 5-hole shot during a 2-on-1 to stake the Monsters to a 1-0 lead. Jacob Barber (Dardenne Prairie, Mo.) had a golden opportunity to tie up the contest while his team was shorthanded when he stole the puck near the Fresno blue line and skated in alone against Macauley Haight, but the goalie was up to the challenge and turned away the shot.
Jono Davis (La Verne, Calif.) did tie up the game for the Wild 2:18 into the second period when he tapped in a rebound from the near side of the cage during a power play. Noah Nelson (Oconomowoc, Wis.) and Josh Hartley (Coquitlam, British Columbia) picked up the assists on Davis’ 22ndgoal of the season, which brought the crowd of nearly 3,900 to their feet. The Wild had a shortened 2-man power play a few minutes later, but couldn’t score the go-ahead goal.
Fresno reclaimed the lead with 11:13 left in the second period when McKee knocked in his second goal of the game off a shot from the point by Kyle Buffardi that clanked off the post. Ian Janco also assisted.
The Wild forced the second tie of the game, 2-2, with 6:03 left to play in the second stanza when Barber jammed in a centering feed from Davis from the slot. But like he did all game, McKee deflated the Wild once again when he gave the Monsters a 3-2 lead 38 seconds later when he stuck his third goal of the game into the cage. Justin Plate assisted.
The only goal scored in the third period belonged to the Wild when Nathan Flynn (Hastings, Minn.) launched a blistering wrist shot from the near circle that whistled high and stick side past Haight with 4:26 left in regulation. Nicholas Kuchera (Eagan, Minn.) set up the goal with a deft cross-ice pass to Flynn.
The game went to a shootout after a scoreless 5-minute overtime session. McKee was Fresno’s first player off the bench in the shootout, and he scored on his backhand to put his team up 1-0. McKee’s shootout goal would count as the eventual game-winner after the Wild were unable to get a puck past Haight in the shootout.
Nick Schmit (Fargo, N.D.) and Robert Nichols (Dallas, Texas) combined to make 22 saves on 25 shots for the Wild. Haight denied 41 of Wenatchee’s 44 shots.
The Wild scored one power-play goal on four chances while Fresno went 0-for-4 on the man-advantage.
The Wild (26-6-4) will play their next six games at home beginning with a 3-game series against the Kenai River Brown Bears next week (Jan. 24-26). The first game of the series, on Thursday, will begin at 6:35 p.m. Games 2 and 3 of the series, on Friday and Saturday, are both scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m.