FRESNO, Calif. — The Wenatchee Wild must win tonight if they want to see their season continue.
Matt Salituro scored in overtime to give the Fresno Monsters a 2-1 victory over Wenatchee on Wednesday in the third game of the teams’ North American Hockey League West Division semifinal playoff series at Gateway Ice Center.
The Monsters have a 2-1 series lead, and can advance to the West Division finals with a win tonight. If the Wild can force a fifth game, the deciding contest will be held at the Town Toyota Center on Sunday.
“Our best players have to show up (tonight),” Wild coach Bliss Littler said in a new release, “and they have to be our best players.”
The Wild were penalized for slashing 6 minutes, 41 seconds into overtime Wednesday, which led to the game-winning goal. During the power play, Fresno’s Trevor Husch entered the Wild zone dropped a pass to Salituro, who scored the game-winner from four feet inside the blue line. Mitchell Snyder also assisted on the game-winner.
The Wild dominated the first period of play, and Evan Schmidbauer scored the first goal of the game at the 12:33 mark after cleaning up a rebound.
In the second period, Fresno tallied an equalizer when Dan Sherer scored on a backhand shot.
Wenatchee outshot the Monsters 38-28 and went 0-for-3 on its power plays, all of which occurred in the second period.
Robert Nichols stopped 26 of 28 shots for the Wild, while Fresno goaltender Tomas Sholl made 37 saves.
“We have to get in front of their net,” Littler said. “We have to solve Sholl; he’s the difference. We’ve outshot and out-chanced them all three games, and Sholl has been the difference for them.”