Wenatchee, WA. – A power play goal with 5 seconds left in overtime proved to be the game winner Sunday night, as the Fresno Monsters overcame a two-goal third period deficit to defeat the Wenatchee Wild 5-4, in front of 3,447 fans at the Town Toyota Center.
Former Wild player Trevor Husch scored on a power play deflection 2:19 into the contest, assisted by Kyle Sucher, putting Fresno up 1-0. Jono Davis (La Verne, California) tied the game for Wenatchee on a rebound goal from the low slot at 17:10 of the opening period. His 30th goal of the season was assisted by Josh Hartley (Coquitlam, British Columbia) and Max McHugh (Edgewood, Washington), tying the game 1-1 through 20 minutes.
The Monsters regained the lead 1:35 into the second period on an Ian Janco goal, assisted by Matt Salituro that just snuck under the crossbar. That lead wouldn’t last long, as Brian Williams (San Diego, California) with helpers from Nick Kuchera (Eagan, Minnesota) and Blake Butzow (Plymouth, Michigan) at 2:49, tied the game 2-2 with his 5th goal of the campaign. The Wild would take their first lead of the game as Trevor Stewart (East Wenatchee, Washington) came out of the left wing circle and passed to McHugh for a tap-in at the right post at 16:39. Williams drew the second assist on the goal, McHugh’s 19th, that put Wenatchee up 3-2 after two.
The lead grew in the third, as Stewart found the top shelf with his 5th goal of the season from the deep right wing wall. The goal, assisted by Nick Kuchera, came at 8:04 and put the Wild up 4-2. The two-goal lead wasn’t safe, as Fresno’s Salituro scored at 13:01 with Karl Andersen and Gordon Wells assisting, slicing the visitors’ deficit to 4-3. The Monsters ramped up the pressure on the Wenatchee goal and tied the game at 4 as Andersen tipped home a pass from the left side from Christian Salvato at the 19:01 mark. The Wild would then storm the Fresno goal at the end of regulation but weren’t able to light the lamp, with the two teams going to overtime for the third time this season.
A penalty to McHugh with 38 seconds left in overtime set up a power play goal on a wrap-around credited to the Monsters’ Husch, assisted by Sucher with 5.2 ticks remaining in the extra session, giving Fresno the 5-4 win. “We definitely played well enough to win” said Head Coach Bliss Littler. “They (Fresno) were very opportunistic and they made a few plays at the end. I don’t think they quit playing and I give them credit for making a few plays.” Regarding next weeks’ trip to Fairbanks, Coach Littler said that his team was “Looking forward to it. We’ve put ourselves in position to compete for home ice in our division and this trip will give us an opportunity to see that first goal happen. “
Wenatchee outshot Fresno 29-28. Nick Schmit (Fargo, North Dakota) had 23 saves for the Wild, while Tomas Sholl made 25 stops for the Monsters. The Wild were 1 for 3 on the power play and 3 of 5 on the penalty kill.
Wenatchee’s record moves to 36-8-6 on the season, the Monsters improve to 15-29-6.
The Wild heads North to Alaska for six games starting next week at Fairbanks (8:00pm PST on Thursday, March 7th, 8:30pm PST on Friday and Saturday, March 8th and 9th), before moving on to Kenai River for three games (8:05pm PST on March 14th, 8:30pm PST on Friday and Saturday, March 15th and 16th) the following week. The Wild will then close out the regular season with a four-game home-and-home series versus Fresno, with games in Wenatchee on Friday and Saturday, March 22nd and 23rd (7:05pm PST both nights), then in Fresno on Friday and Saturday, March 29th and 30th (7:35pm PST both nights). Individual and group game tickets for all remaining home games are on sale now. Call 509.888.PUCK (7825).