WENATCHEE — After winning both of their opening games last weekend, the Wenatchee Wild are back in town for their home-opener against the Vernon Vipers this Friday night at Town Toyota. Puck drops at 7:05 p.m.
Though the faces and names will be different — with only a handful of guys returning from last years’ team — the style of play should remain constant. At least that’s what fans have come to expect from head coach Bliss Littler, who has kept the Wild relevant and near the top of the BCHL annually.
Wenatchee opened their season with a 3-1 win over the Merritt Centennials last Friday and then followed it up the next night, beating West Kelowna 5-4 to conclude the short road-trip.
In both wins, the Wild fell behind early but showed some intestinal fortitude by rallying and taking control in the third period. Nick Cafarelli scored in both games and currently leads the team with five points — good enough for second in the BCHL. Tyler Young is right behind him with three points (goal, two assists) and netminder Daniel Chenard has looked superb so far between the pipes, collecting both wins and stopping 54 of the 59 shots he’s faced.
Though this is Chenard’s first season with Wenatchee, he has plenty of BCHL experience having been Chilliwacks’ main goalie over the past two seasons and winning the RBC Cup with the Chiefs in 2017-18.
So he shouldn’t have too many nerves playing in front of thousands of raging Wild fans. But for many of his teammates, this will be their first chance to play in front of a packed house.
Scoring that early goal will be key to jumpstart the Wenatchee offense and keep the fans — and the subsequent — cowbell engaged all evening.
The Vipers come in having won their season-opener against West Kelowna last Saturday and boast a veteran roster with 14 returners. Wenatchee split its series with Vernon 3-3 last year.
The Wild take on the Vipers again Saturday night. Puck drops both nights at 7:05 p.m.