In a tightly contested exhibition opener, it was the Wild who scored in the back half of the third on the powerplay to score the winner and take a 4-3 win over the Smoke Eaters.
The Smoke Eaters started strong with plenty of chances through the opening twenty minutes, but Andy Vlaha stood tall in the Wenatchee net. In his first debut for the Smoke Eaters Teagan Kendrick had a positive showing playing the first half of the game. The Wild open the scoring in the second period with their first of two powerplay goals, as Jason Stefanek let a shot go from the top of the left circle that beat the crowd and Kendrick for the go ahead goal. The Wild doubled their lead with five minutes to go in the second with a shot from the bottom of the left circle that snuck through the near post past Aidan Fischer who had taken over the net after the halfway mark.
The Wild looked to be in complete control with a early goal in the third, but the Smoke Eaters came charging back. Josh Schenk set up Trey Fechko who’s one-timer blew past Vlaha to get the Smoke Eaters on the board. Ridge Dawson helped set up Adam Parsons a few minutes later with Fechko scoring his second of the night just moments after that. The Smoke Eaters turning over a 3-0 deficit to tie the game inside the first ten minutes of the third. The Wild would score the winner on a Garrett Szydlowski back door pass from Cade Littler with just over 7 minutes remaining in the third.
The Smoke Eaters will look to bounce back with a number of roster changes expected ahead of Saturday’s 4pm start time.