The 100 Mile House Wranglers of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) have managed to get back to their winning ways after defeating the Princeton Posse in a back-to-back affair on Nov. 24 and 25.
“We’re going in the right direction, even the games we lost we played some pretty top teams and we still played them well,” said Dale Hladun, the franchise’s general manager and head coach. “I thought there was certainly upside in how we have been playing.”
The first game against the Posse saw the Wranglers claim the ‘W’ with a 5-3 showing, despite being outshot 41 to 32. Darian Long, Garrett Hilton, Kolby Page and Jayce Schweizer all had multi-point games.
Miles Minor made 38 saves in 41 shots faced.
“We started with a couple of goofy goals against us. I was happy the boys clawed and took charge of the game,” said Hladun.
Darian Long was the star of the game for the Wranglers, after scoring two goals and one assist.
The second game was a more lopsided affair, with Hilton scoring four goals in the Wranglers 8-2 win over the home team. Page also had a game to remember, with three assists. Only one of his assists contributed to a goal scored by Hilton.
The four other goal scorers were Tristan Williams, Darian Long, James Pederson and Nico Hemming.
This was the last game defenceman Tate Page (Kolby’s older brother) played for the club, as he will be going back to Saskatchewan to rejoin the Kindersley Klippers of the Junior A Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
In only seven games with the club, Hemming has scored six points including two goals. Three of those points came from this game.
“I’m happy to see Nico Hemming come along,” said Hladun. “Nico had a strong weekend. He’s really starting to find his role at our club.”
Jakob Gullmes was in net for this one, facing 38 shots and allowing two to cross the line.
Before the two wins against Princeton, the Wranglers were in Summerland to play the Steam. Unfortunately, the Wranglers lost 4-3 in overtime. Page, Hemming and Ben Keon were scorers for the Wranglers. Minor was also in the net for the loss, facing 39 shots.
As of Nov. 26, Hilton is the leading scorer for the club this season with a career-best in 39 points and goals (21). He will soon surpass his career best in assists which is 18. He is averaging 1.7 points per game.
Captain Page is next with 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists), also a career best in all three categories. He also has had a career year in penalty minutes (54).
Long is the third leading scorer, with 24 points. After the departure of Liam Dodd, Long now leads the team in penalty minutes with 97, with the next person (Tate Page with 58) being almost half of that.
Hladun also said that Ben Keon has been the most consistent defenseman on the team and has been a huge part of the team both offensively and defensively.
“We’d be a different team with Ben playing.”
Because of the elder Page’s departure, Hladun will be looking to add some more defencemen before the deadline on Dec. 1. In total, he is looking to add three to four new players.
The Wranglers’ next game is on Nov. 30 at home. They will be playing conference rivals, Osoyoos Coyotes. This game will also have a teddy bear toss, so the club would like attendees to throw stuffed animals at a certain time on the ice.