Wave clinch division title with win over Wings, 6-3
MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Wave clinched the Central Division title Friday night at the U.S. Cellular Arena outlasting the Wichita Wings in a low scoring 6-3 affair. It was the fewest points scored by the Wave since Dec. 31 and the fewest scored in a victory this season as Milwaukee moved to 16-2 on the season and 10-1 at home.
Marco Terminesi had a say in all three Wave goals recording a goal and two assists while Greg Howes moved to second all-time in Wave history for 2-point goals scored. No player was bigger than keeper Nick Vorberg though, recording 14 saves on his birthday and allowing the fewest points since Mar. 4 when Milwaukee shutout Omaha 21-0. Victor Rivillo scored the lone goal for Wichita as the Wings fell to 7-11 on the season, putting a dent in its playoff hopes.
Milwaukee opened up the game controlling most of the possession and goal scoring opportunities with nothing to show for it. That is until Marco Terminesi laid a ball off to a surging Ian Bennett whose shot was misplayed by Wichita keeper Sanaldo to open the scoring eight minutes into the game. The Wave doubled up their lead four-and-a-half minutes later off a restart when Terminesi set up a Howes shot that found its way into the bottom left corner of the net. Howes goal was the 168th 2-point goal of his career, moving him into a tie for second with Todd Dusosky in Wave history.
Both teams played it cautiously in the second quarter leading to a defensive struggle with few scoring chances. The lone goal of the quarter came on a powerplay as Milwaukee was able to take advantage of the extra-attacker with Terminesi scoring his 12th goal of the season 40 seconds in. The Wings had a few clear chances during their own powerplay with 3:52 left, but Wichita was unable to take advantage and went into the break down six.
The third quarter saw the momentum turn in favor of Wichita. The Wings were able to control most of the possession and created more goal-scoring chances that were ultimately denied by Wave kepper Nick Vorgberg each and every time. It was the second time this year Milwaukee shut out Wichita for the first three quarters, also accomplishing the feat on Nov. 27.
With the shutout and Central Division on the line, Milwaukee opted for low risk plaeys secure passes back to Vorberg for the better part of the quarter. With 4:51 left in the game Howes and Sanaldo were given offsetting blue-cards for extracurricular activity making it four-on-four on the field. Neither team could take advantage during the two minutes but Wichita used the time to add a fifth attacker onto the field. It paid off with 2:10 left as Victor Rivillo scored a 3-point goal to cut the deficit in half. Milwaukee was able to see the game out though, holding steady in the back line and maintaining the 6-3 victory.
The Wave plays their final regular season home game on Sunday at 3 p.m. at the US Cellular Arena.