WENATCHEE, Wash. – Saturday’s game against the Jamestown Ironmen at the Town Toyota Center will go down as one of the most exciting regular season contests in Wenatchee Wild history.
Trailing by two markers with just 34 seconds left in regulation, the Wild scored a pair of dramatic goals 12 seconds apart to force overtime, then won the game 5-4 in a shootout to sweep aside the Ironmen.
Max McHugh (Edgewood, Wash.) scored a 6-on-4 power-play goal with 29 seconds remaining in regulation to trim Jamestown’s lead to one goal when he knocked the puck into the net off Jacob Barber’s (Dardenne Prairie, Mo.) shot, which was blocked by a defenseman.
McHugh won the ensuing faceoff at center ice, and defenseman Josh Hartley (Coquitlam, British Columbia) chipped the puck into the Jamestown end down the left wing. The bouncing puck was misplayed by a defenseman, and Jono Davis (La Verne, Calif.) picked up the biscuit and scored one-on-one on a glove-side wrister to send the game to overtime.
The game went to a shootout after a scoreless overtime session. Trailing in the shootout 1-0, Wenatchee’s fifth shooter, Noah Nelson (Oconomowoc, Wis.) extended the game when he beat Jamestown netminder Reid Mimmack.
Wenatchee goalie Robert Nichols (Dallas, Texas) stopped the next six Jamestown shooters before Wild defenseman David Mead (Conklin, N.Y.) finally clinched the win on a glove-side wrist shot.
The Wild trailed the Ironmen 3-1 entering the third period. Davis cut the lead down to one goal 5:31 into the final stanza when he smacked in a loose puck from the far side of the net. McHugh picked up the lone assist on the sequence.
Nathan Ropelewski reclaimed Jamestown’s 2-goal lead a little more than two minutes after Davis’ goal when he knocked the puck past Nichols. Wenatchee refused to give in down the stretch, however, and forced the overtime session behind extra-attacker goals from McHugh and Davis.
Wenatchee drew first blood in the contest 3:02 into the second period thanks to the hard work of Evan Schmidbauer (Surrey, British Columbia). After digging the puck off the wall, Schmidbauer threw a wrist shot at Mimmack, who made the save. Mimmack couldn’t control the rebound, however, and Schmidbauer used his backhand to slide the puck into the cage.
Schmidbauer’s goal officially started the 5th Annual Teddy Bear Toss, where fans threw teddy bears onto the ice to benefit Toys for Tots.
After the teddy bear toss, Trace Redmond (McKinney, Texas) and Ross Pavek squared off at center ice a moment after the ensuing faceoff. After the fight, Jamestown scored three straight goals in less than two minutes to take what seemed like a commanding 3-1 lead into the locker room at the second intermission.
Davis led the Wild with a pair of third-period goals, including the game-tying goal with 17 seconds remaining in regulation. McHugh also recorded a 2-point game for the Wild (1G, 1A). Nicholas Sierra scored a goal and notched an assist for the Ironmen.
Nichols made 18 saves on 22 shots to earn his 15th win of the season. Mimmack saved 35 of the 39 shots he faced.
Wenatchee scored one power-play goal on five chances while Jamestown scored one power-play marker on four tries.
Saturday’s game capped off a string of 10 straight home games for Wenatchee. The Wild went 8-1-1 over the stretch.
The Wild (19-3-2) will travel to Fresno, Calif., this weekend (Dec. 14-15) for a pair of games against the Monsters. Both games are scheduled to begin at 7:35 p.m.