SOLDOTNA, Alaska – If playing a better first period was the goal for Friday’s game against Kenai River, Wenatchee reached its mark and much more. The Wild scored three first-period goals Friday en route to a 6-2 victory over the Brown Bears at the Soldotna Sports Center in Soldotna, Alaska.
Dillon Eichstadt staked the Wild to a 1-0 lead 7:06 into the first stanza on helpers from Evan Schmidbauer (Surrey, British Columbia) and Trace Redmond. The score remained 1-0 until the 16:55 mark of the first frame when Nathan Flynn buried a glove-side shot from the slot on a deft pass from David Powlowski who was skating down the left wing. Defenseman Josh Hartley also assisted.
Derick Kuchera increased Wenatchee’s lead to 3-0 with 34 seconds left before the first intermission when he banged in the puck from the near side of the cage.
The Brown Bears bounced back with a pair of goals in the second period. Vincent Stefan notched Kenai River’s first goal of the game 4:31 into the second when he scored off a circle-to-circle pass from Matt Seidel. Lucas Kohls was credited with the second assist. Zac Lazzaro made it a 1-goal game with 2:51 remaining before the second intermission when he scored from the slot on a rebound. Kohls earned the lone assist.
The Wild began the third period by killing more than a minute of 5-on-3 penalty-kill time. Jono Davis later increased Wenatchee’s lead to 4-2 when he lit the lamp during his team’s only power play of the game. Davis entered the zone down the left wing, faked a slapper inside the faceoff circle, skated around a defenseman and scored 1-on-1 against Sean Healy.
Schmidbauer gave the Wild a 5-2 lead with less than seven minutes left in regulation when he scored on a rebound. Redmond assisted. Blake Roubos made it 6-2 approximately one minute later. Off a faceoff in the Brown Bear far circle, which Powlowski won, Roubos snapped a shot that found the back of the net.
Schmidbauer, Powlowski and Redmond led the Wild with two points apiece. Kohls paced the Brown Bears with a pair of assists.
Robert Nichols made 17 saves on 19 shots for the Wild to collect his sixth win of the season. Healy made 27 saves on 33 shots for Kenai River. Wenatchee scored a goal during its only power play chance of the night. Kenai River scored one power-play goal on three chances.
The Wild (10-2-1) will try to win their second straight game over the Brown Bears Saturday. Faceoff is set for 8:30 p.m. Pre-game on KPQ begins at 8:20 p.m.