(Chilliwack, B.C.)…The Wenatchee Wild will now face elimination from here on out in the BCHL Playoffs following a 6-2 loss to the Chilliwack Chiefs Tuesday. The loss at the Prospera Center puts the Wild in a 3-0 hole in the best-of-seven series and must sweep the next four games to advance.
You had a feeling it would be one of those nights early in the second period of a scoreless game when the Wild had a 5-of-3 advantage with penalties assessed to Chilliwack. But Chief goaltender Mark Sinclair was up to every challenge the Wild could muster as the net minder not only turned aside Wenatchee and killed off the penalty, but energized his teammates in a two goal burst just over a minute apart. By the end of the second, Wenatchee trailed 3-1. The Wild’s lone goal in the frame came at the 10:11 mark when Brendan Harris tapped in a deflected shot from Brian Williams. It was 2-1 at that point and seemed like Wenatchee might be able to make a charge. But that’s when Jordan Kawaguchi got hot.
The Chief Captain scored what proved to be the first of a natural hat trick late in the second and squelched any chance the Wild had in coming back. Kawaguchi added his second goal 25-seconds into the third period and followed with his third less than two minutes later. That put Chilliwack up 5-1 and on its way to a 3-0 series lead. Wenatchee’s Charlie Combs scored his first goal of the series late in the 3rd and Chilliwack added an empty-netter by Anthony Vincent to round out the scoring. Wenatchee outshot Chilliwack 36-26 on the night, but Sinclair made 34 saves while Anthony Yamnitsky and Devin Cooley were a combined 20 of 26 saves.
Game 4 is Wednesday night at 7 o’clock in Chilliwack. Wild fans can take solace in the fact Wenatchee hasn’t lost more than 3-games in a row all season long. If Wenatchee can stave off elimination tonight, Game 5 would be Friday at the Prospera Center. Should the series return to the Town Toyota Center, Games 6 and 7 would be Sunday and Monday.