WENATCHEE — The Wild haven’t had any problems creating scoring opportunities all season.
Last weekend’s two-game home series against the Fresno Monsters was no different. Wenatchee (26-6-4 overall) finished the weekend with 78 scoring opportunities to Fresno’s 23.
But it’s one thing to create a chance, and something entirely different to come away with a score. For all their efforts last weekend, the Wild suffered back-to-back losses, including a 4-3 shootout loss on Saturday.
Sometimes the puck just doesn’t bounce your way. Sometimes the goaltender makes a spectacular play on the shot. Regardless, Wenatchee hopes to convert more of its opportunities into goals when it hosts the Kenai River Brown Bears (15-19-4 overall) on Thursday at Town Toyota Center. Coach Bliss Littler feels like his team is right on the cusp.
“If you do that (create lots of scoring opportunities) most times, you’re going to win,” he said. “We looked at it and we felt like we need to do a good job at getting to the net. … We’re right there, the rebounds are bouncing around, but we need to get there on the rebounds.”
Dropping two at home against an NAHL West foe was a tough pill to swallow, but the aftermath isn’t dire.
Wenatchee still leads the NAHL West — although its lead over second-place Fairbanks dropped to three points — and has plenty of games to figure out a way to score more goals and it has a number of ways to do that.
The team’s top line — Max McHugh, Jono Davis and Noah Nelson — combined for three points in Saturday’s loss and Davis, who leads the team in scoring, netted his 23rd goal of the season after knocking in two Saturday.
Additionally, Chris Kerr and Jacob Barber — who rank second and third on the team in points, respectively — accompany newcomer Joe Sullivan on the second line.
Collectively, the team ranks third in goals in the NAHL with 124.
Kenai River, on the other hand, is 2-5 in the month of January, most recently losing back-to-back contests by one goal, one in a shootout. But Littler said his team isn’t concerned with standings, just winning.
“I don’t think our players go light on anybody, I really don’t,” he said. “I think fans look at standings. Our players are playing the games, they know the other teams are good.”
Wild players make top prospects tournament
Five players from the Wild will represent Wenatchee in the Frontier Team of the NAHL’s Top Prospect Tournament on Feb. 18-20 in Troy, Mich.
McHugh, Kerr, Nelson, Barber and Sullivan will make the trip. Littler will coach the team.