The Wenatchee Wild have become the first U.S. team to win the British Columbia Hockey League title in 39 years.
The Wild powered their way to a 3-0 win over the Prince George Spruce Kings in Game 5 of the BCHL finals, winning the Fred Page Cup on Thursday.
The Wild scored on the first powerplay as Zak Galambos snapped home a hard shot from the left circle just 2:50 into the game. It was another tripping call, this time in the third period that set up the second goal of the night for Galambos. Team captain AJ Vanderbeck buried an empty netter to secure the win at 17:45 of the final frame, as fans chanted, “We Want the Cup.”
Prince George was held to just eight shots on goal, all of which were denied by Austin Park for the shutout win, but there were quality chances including a couple of shots that rang off posts that just wouldn’t fall for the Spruce Kings as the Wild fired 37 shots at Evan DeBrouwer.
The Wild have two Canadians rostered on the team, both from B.C. — Penticton’s Nathan Iannone and Cloverdale’s Josh Arnold. Iannone has tallied three goals and three assists and Arnold has two goals and three assists during the Wild’s BCHL playoff run where they knocked off the Merritt Centennials, Vernon Vipers and Trail Smoke Eaters before dispatching the Spruce Kings in the Fred Page Cup finals.
The last time a U.S. team won the BCHL title was in 1979 when the Bellingham Blazers earned it. The Wild will now carry on to the Doyle Cup where they will face the Alberta Junior Hockey League champions in a best-of-seven series.
The AJHL Spruce Grove Saints hold a 3-1 series lead over the Okotoks Oilers, with Game 5 of the series happening on April 20.
The winner from the Doyle Cup earns a berth in the Royal Bank Cup, held in Chilliwack.