WILD FINISH UNBEATEN, CLAIM FIRST IN PRELIMS AT RBC CUP
JASON LA ROSE
CHILLIWACK, B.C. – Zak Galambos and August Von Ungern scored two goals apiece to help the Wenatchee Wild to a 7-1 win over the Wellington Dukes in the preliminary-round finale for both Thursday afternoon at the 2018 RBC Cup.
The win caps off a perfect prelims for the Wild, and secures first place. They will face either the Dukes or Steinbach Pistons in the semifinals Saturday, and will decide which semi they will play in.
After five days of close games, including six overtime contests, the Wild were in control against Wellington; they led by two goals after 20 minutes, and were up five just past the 12-minute mark of the second period.
The scoring started early, with Galambos getting a wrist shot from the point through traffic and past Dukes goaltender Jonah Capriotti just 24 seconds after the puck dropped.
Von Ungern made it a 2-0 game at 8:20 when his centering pass hit a sliding Duke and beat Capriotti, but Andrew Rinaldi capitalized on a breakaway six minutes later to pull the Central Region champions back within a goal.
Sam Hesler restored the two-goal lead very late in the opening frame, slipping a Jasper Weatherby rebound around Capriotti with just three seconds left for a power-play goal and a 3-1 advantage after one period.
Three goals in less than four minutes sealed the Dukes’ fate in the second period.
Cooper Zech was first, jumping in off the blue-line and beating Capriotti to the short side at 8:30. That was all for the Wellington goaltender, who gave way to Tyler Richardson after allowing four goals on 18 shots.
Richardson didn’t fare much better; Von Ungern drove to the net and tucked in his second of the game at 9:49, and Galambos picked the top corner with a wicked wrist shot at 12:03 to make it 6-1.
Wenatchee finished a dominant performance in the third period, outshooting the Dukes 16-7 in the stanza and 41-19 overall. Drake Usher added the seventh and final goal with 53.9 seconds left, providing the final margin of victory.
While the Wild know they will be part of the weekend, Wellington must wait for the result of the prelim finale; if Chilliwack beats Steinbach the Dukes will be semifinal-bound, while a Pistons win ends their season.