(Photo: Cody Wooten)
WICHITA FALLS, Texas – Four unanswered goals in the final two periods of Saturday’s contest propelled the Wichita Falls Wildcats (36-13-2) past the Wenatchee Wild (23-23-7), 4-1, at the Kay Yeager Coliseum, as the Wildcats completed the sweep of the weekend series.
Kevin Charyszyn had a goal and an assist in the win, while Tommy Apap registered two assists as well. Nick Farmer, Austin Albrecht and Austin Azzinnaro also found twine for Wichita Falls, while David Zevnik steered aside all 13 shots he faced in relief to earn his 13th triumph of the campaign.
Wenatchee set the tone early, scoring just over a minute into the contest.
A shot towards the net from the right wing was not covered cleanly by Austin Shaw, allowing the Wild to jab it loose and keep play moving. The disc fell to Stevie Bryant, whose quick shot from the wall was deflected home by Jake Ahlgren in front to give Wenatchee its first lead of the weekend.
The Wild used that goal to generate momentum and dominated the remainder of the frame, outshooting the ‘Cats 9-2 over the first 20 minutes, but Wichita Falls stood firm to keep the score at 1-0 in favor of the Wild entering the first intermission.
The red-and-black surged out of the gate to start the second period, and after killing off a Wenatchee power play, found the net via a transition rush on a power play of their own.
After taking a cross-ice pass in the neutral zone, Apap raced down the right-wing wall and took the puck to the corner. Apap slammed on the brakes just behind the cage of Michael Bullion and swiveled the disc to the bottom of the circle, where Charyszyn squeezed a one-time snap-shot home for his team-leading 23th goal of the season.
Wichita Falls then took its first lead of the evening roughly nine minutes later, taking advantage of an intercepted clearing attempt by the Wild.
Charyszyn intercepted a breakout pass at the left-wing half-wall and sent it quickly to Apap in the left corner. With time and space, Apap settled the puck and fed it to the high slot for Farmer, who snapped a shot past Bullion into the top shelf to make it 2-1 at 14:09 of the second.
The red-and-black put the game to bed in the third period, using two unassisted goals from a pair of Austins to seal the victory.
Albrecht found the net first on an unassisted tally after intercepting a Wenatchee breakout pass at the offensive blue line. The Flemington, N.J.-native skated into the zone and drifted to the left faceoff circle, before whistling a wrist shot past Bullion into the far side for his second goal of the weekend at 8:19 of the third.
Azzinnaro joined the offensive display a few minutes later, as once more Wichita Falls took advantage of a Wild miscue in the defensive zone. Bullion turned the puck over behind his net, allowing Paul Soubry to force the disc along to Azzinnaro unmarked behind the left post. The defenseman-turned-forward took the puck, stepped in front and tucked it home into the vacated cage for a 4-1 lead for the ‘Cats.
Wenatchee tried in vain to mount a comeback attempt, but Wichita Falls repelled all advances to finish the weekend sweep.
The Wildcats are back in action on Wednesday, March 11 at the KYC for their final home game of the regular season. That night is Fan Appreciation Night, with all single-game tickets available free-of-charge by visiting the KYC Box Office.
Fans that cannot make it to the arena may follow all the action on FASTHockey.com, with an audio-only broadcast available via YouTube.
Single-game tickets for the 2014-15 Wildcats season are on sale now at the Kay Yeager Coliseum box office. Stay updated on the latest team news and notes by connecting with the Wildcats on Facebook (WFWildcats), Twitter (@WFWildcats), Instagram (WFWildcats) and on YouTube (Wichita Falls Wildcats).
NOTES: With their 4-1 win, the Wildcats completed a clean sweep of the season series against Wenatchee, winning all four games by a combined score of 13-4…Wichita Falls now needs just two wins over its final nine games to equal the franchise record for most wins in a single season, set in 2007/08 (38).
Wenatchee – Jake Ahlgren (Stevie Bryant, Chris Jones) 1:04
Wichita Falls – Kevin Charyszyn (power play) (Tommy Apap) 3:14
Wichita Falls – Nick Farmer (Tommy Apap, Kevin Charyszyn) 14:09
Wichita Falls – Austin Albrecht (unassisted) 8:19
Wichita Falls – Austin Azzinnaro (unassisted) 14:39