January 24, 2013
WILD TOP FORWARDS SHINE IN OT WIN
Sullivan nets game-winning goal
WENATCHEE, Wash. – The Wenatchee Wild can play catch-up hockey with the best of them. Case in point: Thursday night’s 4-3 overtime win over the Kenai River Brown Bears at the Town Toyota Center.
The Wild entered the third period trailing 3-1, but top-line forwards Jono Davis (La Verne, Calif.), Max McHugh (Edgewood, Wash.) and Joe Sullivan (Las Vegas, Nev.) rose to the occasion just in time to earn the overtime victory.
Wenatchee cut Kenai River’s lead down to 3-2 with a little less than 15 minutes remaining in regulation when Davis blasted in a wicked one-timer. Jacob Barber (Dardenne Prairie, Mo.) and McHugh assisted.
The Wild went on to tie up the score, 3-3, and force overtime with a little over five minutes remaining in regulation. Off of a faceoff in the Wild zone, Davis came up with the puck and slid a long send away pass down the center of the ice to McHugh, who split a pair of defenders and scored one-on-one against goaltender Marcus Zelzer with a 5-hole forehand shot that set the stage for Sullivan’s game-winner in overtime.
Sullivan’s overtime goal was generated on a turnover along the near boards in the Brown Bears zone. McHugh cradled the loose puck and chipped it to the center of the ice for Sullivan, who settled the puck and scored all alone on a forehand shot. It was Sullivan’s second game-winning goal since joining the Wild.
“Our better players definitely pointed tonight,” said Wild head coach Bliss Littler. “If your best players aren’t your best players, you’re in trouble. Last weekend we couldn’t get a win … tonight we probably didn’t deserve this [win] but the puck bounced our way a little bit at the end, and we’ll take it.”
Barber staked the Wild to a 1-0 lead with 9:19 left in the first period when he buried a pass from Davis that traveled through the slot during a short-handed 2-on-1 situation. It took the Brown Bears just over a minute to tie up the game when Chris Nuth scored from the slot on a pass from Albin Karlsson.
Kenai River scored a pair of even-strength markers early in the second period to take a 3-1 lead. Alec Butcher scored the first of those goals 1:49 into the second frame when he knocked in Alex Jackstadt’s pass. Karlsson picked up his second assist of the game on the sequence.
Matt Seidel extended Kenai River’s lead to 3-1 with a little more than 13 minutes left in the second period when he scored on a backhander from the right wing. Judd Loewenstein picked up the lone assist.
Seidel’s goal was the last the Brown Bears were able to muster, however, and the Wild scored three unanswered goals to win in overtime, 4-3.
Wild goalie Robert Nichols (Dallas, Texas) made 28 saves on 31 shots to better his record to 22-6-3. Zelzer made 27 saves on 31 shots for the Brown Bears.
Neither team scored on the power play. Kenai River went 0-for-5 on its man-advantages while Wenatchee went 0-for-2.
McHugh (1G, 2A) and Davis (1G, 2A) led the Wild with three points apiece while Barber notched two points (1G, 1A).
The Wild (27-6-4) and Brown Bears will resume their 3-game series Friday. Faceoff is set for 7:05 p.m. Game 3 of the series is Saturday at 7:05 p.m.