WENATCHEE — Max McHugh picked the perfect time to bust his scoring slump.
After two periods of persistent, but unsuccessful attacking, the Wenatchee forward skated past the neutral zone into enemy lines, took a pass from teammate Noah Nelson and slotted his first score in eight games to break the stalemate and help lift the Wenatchee Wild to a 3-0 win over the Jamestown Ironmen on Friday at the Toyota Town Center.
“It was a great feeling,” said McHugh, who hadn’t scored a goal since October. “Especially since I’ve been snake bitten for quite a while here. To get a goal, especially the first goal to break the ice, it felt really good.”
The dry spell wasn’t easy for McHugh to stomach, but he kept firing away in hopes that things would get better. Eventually, they did.
“People were just telling me keep going and eventually it will go in,” he said. “And tonight, it went in.”
Wenatchee (18-3-2 overall) got insurance scores from Tyler Bruneteau (assist Joshua Hartley) and David Powlowski (assist Blake Roubos) later in the period. The late offensive outburst was a welcome change of scenery.
The Ironmen (18-7-2 overall) implemented a conservative style of play in hopes of frustrating and slowing down the potent Wild attack.
“They played a very, very defensive style of hockey,” coach Bliss Littler said. “Very effective, but not fun to play. I can’t imagine the kids enjoyed playing that style.”
Jamestown’s defense held the home team to just 10 shots on goal in the first period, none of which were a serious threat to the goalkeeper.
The Wild didn’t make any adjustments and continued to employ its offensive attack in aspirations of a breakthrough. It had some quality looks in the second period, but no luck breaking the deadlock.
Finally, the Ironmen came undone in the third period. Littler knew it was just a matter of time before they would crack.
“We did exactly the same thing in the third as we did the first,” he said. “When you play defense like they do the whole night when they’re backing up, eventually, you make mistakes.”