The Hurricanes unleashed a second-half masterclass to power past a brave Western Force outfit 34-12 in Saturday night's Super Rugby clash in Perth.
A boilover was on the cards when Force fullback Dane Haylett-Petty scored a 44th-minute try to reduce the margin to just five points in front of 10,384 fans.
The Force had dominated play up until that point, and it was only the Hurricanes' resolute defence that had kept the home side at bay.
But the Hurricanes ran in four tries within the space of 17 minutes in the second half to blow the game apart.
Inside centre Ngani Laumape scored a double, while scrumhalf TJ Perenara starred with a try and an assist.The result means Australian teams are now 0-23 against NZ outfits this season.
The Kiwis can make it a regular-season whitewash if the Highlanders beat the Reds in Dunedin on July 14 and the Chiefs down the Brumbies in Waikato on July 15.
"I'm very proud of the effort the boys put in," Wessels said.
"The Hurricanes are a very good side, and we played with guts and determination.
"The frustrating thing was not being able to convert when we were inside their 22."
Force veteran Matt Hodgson will undergo scans after limping off in the 25th minute with a left calf injury.
Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd was disappointed with his team's effort, despite securing a valuable bonus-point win.
"You can't win games of football on 80 per cent possession and territory to the other fellas," Boyd said.
"We were lucky we got two or three quick tries from broken play to get the bonus point. But it was a long way from a complete performance."
The Force's mathematical chances of reaching the finals were extinguished before kickoff on Saturday when the Brumbies beat the Rebels 32-3 to wrap up top spot in the Australian conference.
And the Perth-based franchise was caught napping in the second minute when Hurricanes fullback Jordie Barrett made a break to set up Laumape for the opening try.
The Hurricanes are renowned for their attacking flair.
But the defending champions were on the ropes for long periods of the opening half as the Force threatened to cross time and again.
At one point, the Force completed 16 phases near the Hurricanes' line - only for the visitors to hold firm with a series of try-saving tackles.
Veteran Matt Hodgson's night ended in the 25th minute when he limped off with a left leg injury.
And the Hurricanes scored against the run of play just three minutes before halftime when prop Loni Uhila found a gap between two Force defenders to crash over.
The 12-0 scoreline was unfair on the Force, and the theme of near misses continued early in the second half when Hurricanes flyhalf Beauden Barrett pulled off a try-saving tackle on James Verity-Amm.
The Hurricanes seemed impenetrable at ground level, so the Force turned to the air - with great effect.
Flyhalf Peter Grant unleashed a high bomb. And when three Hurricanes defenders clattered together in an attempt to mark the ball, Haylett-Petty scooped up the crumbs to touch down in the 44th minute.
But the joy was short-lived, with the Hurricanes piling on four tries from the 55-minute mark up until the 72nd minute.
The try of the night came courtesy of the boot of Perenara, who produced a perfect grubber with the outside of his left boot for Vince Aso to run onto.
Haylett-Petty was sin-binned for shoulder charging Perenara just moments after the Hurricanes captain kicked the ball.