The 100 Mile House Wranglers had another Jekyll and Hyde performance this weekend, beating the Sicamous Eagles 6-2 on Dec. 13, then going on to losing 9-0 against rivals, Revelstoke Grizzlies on Dec. 14.
“The weekend was unique, I guess. There were a lot of good things during the weekend and there were a lot of upsetting things,” said Dale Hladun, general manager and head coach.
In the game against Sicamous, Darian Long found his scoring touch again, providing two goals and an assist for the Wranglers. Captain Kolby Page also scored two goals. One goal from each was a shorthanded goal. Defenceman Aidan Morrison also scored a goal and an assist.
It was also a scrappy game, with both teams going shorthanded numerous times. The Wranglers capitalized twice on the 16 powerplays they were on and conceded one in their 18 times shorthanded. In total, the Wranglers found themselves one man short for 91 minutes. The Eagles spent 87 minutes in the box.
Jordan Wilde, the Wranglers goalie, saved 16 of the 18 shots he faced for his eighth win of the season.
“I thought our powerplay looked sharp. We’re still working on it. I’ve been putting forward on the backend, so I’ve been adding Mulder and Dempsey to just try to create a little more offence,” said Hladun.
Two of the Wranglers goals were from the powerplay via Harley Bootsma and Morrison.
The game against Revelstoke was a completely different story.
Hladun said the team seemed to be hemming in the Grizzlies during the first period, despite letting one goal past. It was the second period where everything seemed to fall apart.
Prior to the game, the Wranglers made a trade for Khale Skinner from the Columbia Valley Rockies (the Rockies will get a “future” in the offseason, meaning either a player or financial compensation yet to be decided).
“He [Skinner] finished his hit at the wall. The young man that was hit was in a vulnerable position and Skinner hit him from behind. I think the fact that Kale is just a heavy kid – if it was somebody else, a slighter man it probably wouldn’t have hurt the young man – his body just crushed the kid. There was a bit of a skirmish after that. Obviously, Revelstoke stuck [up] for their teammate, so there was some roughhousing.”
After everything with the skirmish was cleared, the Wranglers ended up with a seven-minute penalty kill, yet somehow kept on adding more minutes to it throughout. Skinner was given a 6-game suspension.
“We ended up with 5-on-3s against us and that’s when Revelstoke started. They just took over the game with their powerplay.”
In fact, Revelstoke ended up scoring six powerplay goals. Four of them were during that second-period penalty kill stretch that ran from ten-minute mark to the last minute of play.
“I’m not happy with that result in Revelstoke but I can see the pieces,” said Hladun. “A lot of the onus is going to go on me. We got to get better on the penalty kill, we have to play better in our defensive coverage. Really, it’s about the structure of the team opposed to the talent of our team.”
He also added Khale Skinner is another piece that will be good for the team. The Albertan was the Rockies’ leading scorer, with 24 points in 24 games. Another point he addressed was the play of Morrison, who he said was the most consistent player during the weekend and was playing hard throughout both games, as well as making good decisions.
The Wranglers also played the Chase Heat on Dec. 17, losing 5-3 at the Art Holding Memorial Arena. Cody Barnes scored two goals, with Chase Vancoughnett-Lafleur scoring the other. Eric Smith also had a multi-point game, assisting on both Barnes’ goals.