The Revelstoke Grizzlies staged a big third period comeback, but the real story might have been written on the whiteboard in coach Dale “Duner” Hladun’s office: a long list of players out of the lineup as the 100 Mile House Wranglers ride through a bout with the injury bug.
Officiating was another sore point with the coach after a 4-3 overtime loss at the South Cariboo Rec. Centre on Dec. 20, when 100 Mile House – on goals by Micky Turner, Austin Turner and Brendan Lane – was up 3-0 heading into the third.
“The referee had to straighten it out,” says a frustrated Haldun after the game.
“Sometimes the officiating wants to officiate the game sheet as opposed to the game. The game sheet showed 3-0 and we had too many power plays. And he had to ‘officiate’ it in such a way to make up a bunch of cheesy calls.”
Goalie Quinn Ferris saw 34 shots, including 17 in the final frame and the one winner in extra time – that came on a two-on-one and lifted the water bottle off the top of his net.
Revelstoke took five penalties in the first period and 100 Mile House took one. In the second, each team took two. In the third, 100 Mile House took three and Revelstoke one.
On Dec. 19, Revelstoke outshot 100 Mile House 57-21 at home for a 6-2 win. The Wranglers got goals by Brett Harris and Jayden Syrota. Goalie Kristian Stead faced the barrage for 100 Mile House.
Needless to say, a 10-day layoff before a Dec. 30 matchup with Sicamous (after press time), was expected to go a long a way in replenishing the Wranglers’ roster.
“The kids have been really good at staying focused,” Hladun says. “They did want to win.”
“I’m proud of that. We are going to take a deserved rest. We have a mess of games coming back right away.”
The Wranglers are on the road for three games: in Osoyoos on Jan. 2, Castlegar on Jan. 3, and Nelson on Jan. 4.
Looking ahead, Hladun says he’s excited about the club.
“The real hockey is from January on. We’ll have a lot of good battles and vying for position in the playoff standings … I like my club. Thank goodness we’re as deep as we are.”
One of the players out, with a high ankle sprain, was captain Devan Suidy, one of the local Kootenay International Junior Hockey League club’s top scorers.
“We’re going to come back [after the break] and be a way better team than we’ve been in the last few weeks,” says Suidy, who was hoping to make a return on Dec. 30.
“I think we have the team to do it. We don’t win all the games we should. But, Duner always says, ‘It’s all practice to the playoffs.’”
Meanwhile, the result of a Dec. 12 game between the Wranglers and Kamloops Storm has been invalidated.
The Wranglers filed a protest with the KIJHL following the 7-3 loss and it was determined Kamloops had an ineligible player in the lineup. 100 Mile House was awarded the two points.