In a tournament full of tight games, with six of eight going to overtime, the Wenatchee Wild provided the first blowout win Thursday afternoon.
Facing the Wellington Dukes in a matinee matchup at Prospera Centre, Wenatchee got two goals apiece from Zak Galambos and August Von Ungern in a 7-1 win.
Wenatchee finished off an unbeaten round-robin (4-0).
Wellington will be Chilliwack’s biggest fan tonight as the Chiefs face the Steinbach Pistons. Steinbach a win to jump the Dukes in the standings and get the final semi-final spot because Welllington holds the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Wenatchee took just 24 seconds to open the scoring in this one on a goal by Galambos. The defenceman collected a loose puck at the point, walked the blue line to the middle and put a wrister on net. With his own defenceman blocking his vision, Dukes goalie Jonah Capriotti never saw it as it zipped past him into the cage.
The Wild doubled the lead at 8:20 on a solo effort by Von Ungern. The Baron turned on the jets on a rush down the left wing, chipping the puck past Wellington defenceman Keegan Ferguson at the blueline. Cutting hard to the net, Ungern had to chip the puck over another Dukes defender who was sliding across to block. The puck fluttered into the air and Ungern showed great hand-eye coordination to bat it into the net.
Wellington briefly cut into the lead on a goal by Andrew Rinaldi. A defensive breakdown left the Montreal native with no one between him and the Wild net as he took a long lead pass from Ben Evans. Rinaldi skated in and put the puck between the legs of Wenatchee goaltender Austin Park.
But the Wild had the last laugh in period one, scoring a backbreaker with just three seconds on the clock.
With Wellington’s Mitchell (My Favourite) Martan in the box for slashing, Wenatchee’s Jasper Weatherby uncorked a shot from the right faceoff dot. Capriotti made the stop, but the puck dropped in the blue paint where Sam Hesler stuffed it in on the backhand.
The Dukes continued with the same penchant for undisciplined play that they’ve shown the entire tournament, taking three penalties in the opening 20, leading to a 14-5 edge for the Wild on the shot clock.
Wenatchee broke the game wide open with three second period goals, starting with a Cooper Zech snipe at 8:30.
The smooth skating defenceman took a pass from Weatherby at the left point and was allowed to walk in unchecked, taking a wrist shot that beat Capriotti through a screen. Zech’s goal ended the goalie’s night, a disappointing four goals on 18 shots for the 19 year old Hamilton native.
Tyler Richardson took over in the Wellington net.
The first thing he saw was Von Ungern tearing down the left wing, cutting across the goal mouth and slipping a backhand shot inside the right post.
Galambos blew a wrist shot past Richardson from the left faceoff dot at 12:03.
Richardson was solid from that point until the final minute of the game, when a soft sharp-angle backhand shot from Drake Usher beat him to wrap up the scoring.
Final shots on goal favoured the Wild 41-19.
Wenatchee’s Player of the Game was Von Ungern while Rinaldi took the honours for Wellington.