The first period Saturday was the exact opposite of Friday. Instead of the Wild leading 2-0 after 20 minutes of play, it was the Monsters who held a 2-0 lead. Dan Sherer lit the lamp just 18 seconds into regulation when he scored on a breakaway, and Andrew Herlofsky doubled Fresno’s lead with 5:29 left before the first intermission.
The Monsters extended their lead to 3-0 with 8:23 left in the second period when Mitchell Snyder scored on a ridiculously sharp angle shot from the left wing that somehow found its way into the Wild net.
Wenatchee got back into the game with a late second-period breakaway goal by Max McHugh (Edgewood, Wash.). The play started with good pressure defense in the Wild end that resulted in a Monsters turnover at the blue line. McHugh received a send away pass and scored on a 5-hole shot. Josh Hartley (Coquitlam, British Columbia) and Jono Davis (La Verne, Calif.) assisted.
No goals were scored in the third period, and the Monsters held on to win the second game of their divisional semifinal series against the Wild, 3-1.
Tomas Sholl made 35 saves on 36 shots to earn the win. Robert Nichols (Dallas, Texas) suffered the loss. He made 17 saves on 20 shots. Nick Schmit (Fargo, N.D.) also made three saves for the Wild.
“Definitely, Sholl was the difference,” said Wenatchee Wild head coach Bliss Littler.
The Wild outshot the Monsters over the last two periods 28-10, but were only able to get one puck past Sholl.
“We just didn’t finish,” Littler said. “We had plenty of chances to finish but we didn’t.”
Game 3 of the West Division semifinals between the Wild and Monsters is Wednesday at Gateway Ice Center in Fresno, Calif. Faceoff is set for 7:45 p.m. Game 4 will also be played at the Gateway Ice Center in Fresno, Calif. on Thursday at 7 p.m. If necessary, the Wild will host Game 5 at the Town Toyota Center on Sunday, April 21 at 5:05 p.m.
“We’ve said all along that we just need to be the first team to win three games,” said Littler.
Wenatchee went 7-1 on the road against Fresno during the regular season. The Wild had the sixth best road record during the regular season and had the longest road winning streak (10 games) in the NAHL.