The Wranglers did what they had to do at home on March 15; they beat the only team they didn’t beat in the regular season.
They knocked off the Summerland Steam 3-2 on another big goal by hometown product Cole Zimmerman (Michael Lynch, Brett Harris) at 9:25 of the second overtime period.
The game was a run-and-gun contest with both teams applying extended pressure in their opponents end of the ice during game 1 of the Okanagan/Shuswap Conference championship on March 15.
There was a lot of crashing and banging with the Wranglers taking no prisoners whether it was along the boards or in the open ice.
Wranglers coach Dale Hladun says he thought both teams played relatively good.
“I thought we came out pretty strong. It was unfortunate the [25-minute] delay to replace the broken glass kind of slowed us down a bit.
“I thought Summerland pushed hard, but I think they were a little tired [because their bus broke down], so we’re going to have to up our game [March 16]. We have to play more physical and wear them down.”
At 11:42 of the second period, Steam player Calvin Hadley and Wranglers captain Stephen Egan got into a scrap.
“Kudos to Egan for standing up to Hadley after he [kneed] Brett Harris. Hadley is a strong, tough kid, so our leader, our captain and our wolverine went after him and I thought Egan did quite well to send a message that if your the toughest guy in Summerland, we’re coming after you.
“Egan sent a message and let them know [the Wranglers] aren’t going to take [any nonsense].”
Hladun says he thought Matthew Huber played really well for the Steam and Zane Steeves played really well for the Wranglers.
“We had to kill a couple of penalties in overtime, which was unfortunate, but when we were on the bench Zimmerman just sensed he was going to get that goal for us and he did it – good for Zimmer.”
Alex Hanson (Justin Bond) got the first goal for the Wranglers at 15:00 of the first to knot the score at one.
Ryan Friesen (Alex Meeker) got the 2-1 goal on a Wrangler power play with 3:11 left in the first.
The Wranglers out shot the Summerland 44 to 29, and both teams got a power-play marker.
Game 2 goes today (March 16) at the South Cariboo Rec. Centre, starting at 7 p.m.