Gillette Wild wins home opener 5-3 over Sheridan

The Gillette Wild won their home opener Saturday night at Spirit Hall Ice Arena in a North American 3 Hockey League exhibition game against Sheridan.

Wild forward Caleb Sanborn broke a 3-3 tie with 7:32 to play in the third period. Sanborn received a pass from Declan Young and sped down the ice on the right side, fired across the goalie and under his blocker and netted the game winner.

“It was pretty energetic. The boys wanted it back (after) a rough loss yesterday, and it was just an amazing crowd,” said Young, a Fairbanks, Alaska, native and first-year Wild player. “(We) had a long week, but it was good. We got connected here and chemistry started rolling.”

Gillette’s Jacob Sundgren tallied an insurance goal on the power play in the final minute of play, and the Wild won 5-3 at the buzzer.

On Friday night, Gillette lost its first exhibition game of the season at Sheridan 6-1, and the response was just what coach Steven Kruk was looking for.

“I don’t think we were ultra prepared last night,” Kruk said after Saturday’s win. “But to come back and respond the way we did in front of our home fans, I’m really happy for the guys.”

Gillette’s Jacob Kaminski broke scoring for either team in the second period when he buried a back door feed at 10:03 to play in the period. Sheridan took a 2-1 lead with 6:22 left in the second frame, and Young responded to tie it 2-2 in the last three minutes of the period.

Tyler Kaminski scored with 9:33 left in the third period, but Sheridan came right back 12 seconds later and made it 3-all with a half period to play.

The Wild start their regular season Friday at the Great Falls Americans’ Great Falls, Montana, Ice Plex.