The 100 Mile House Wranglers have secured their playoff spot with a 7-2 victory over the Sicamous Eagles.
The Wranglers followed up this resounding victory Friday with a 7-2 loss to the Osoyoos Coyotes on Saturday. Coach Dale Hladun said with only two away games left they’re preparing for the playoffs, which begin in Revelstoke on Feb. 17- 18. Their victory over the Eagles is a great setup for that match.
“The Eagles have had a great season. They’re battling the Kamloops Storm for second place and I felt our boys met the challenge. They’ve been picking up their game quite a bit and you look back at our record, our last regulation loss at home was Dec. 10 when we outshot the North Okanagan Knights,” Hladun said. “At home, we’ve either won or gone to a shootout or overtime.”
READ MORE: 100 Mile Wranglers set winning tone for 2023
On Friday, the Wranglers started out strong with Presley Gordon scoring the first goal of the night, as his grandparents from Saskatchewan watched from the stands. During a double powerplay, Ethan Davey was able to widen their lead to two as the first period wrapped up.
In the second period, the Eagles attempted to rally and scored a goal but the Wranglers maintained the pressure with defenceman Memfis Burgeson and forward Owen Johnson both scoring goals. The Wranglers clipped the Eagle’s wings further with Jack Mulder scoring their fifth goal with an assist from Nathan Bohmer and Davey.
“Owen Johnson has been a tank. He’s been driving the net and getting key goals. Another bright light has been Memfis Burgeson,” Hladun said. “He’s been an exciting player to watch he has good end-to-end rushes, he’s fast and he has some good offensive instincts.”
Bohmer went on to seal the deal in the third period, scoring another two goals for the Wranglers.
The Eagles stayed in the fight and were able to score a second goal on a powerplay but were otherwise unable to match the Wranglers.
Against the Coyotes the next night, Hladun said the Wranglers were brought back down to earth. Osoyoos has primarily older players, with the maximum number of 20-year-olds the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League allows.
Coyote forward Jack Henderson, the leading scorer of the KIJHL last year, especially showed the Wranglers what a high-performing and scoring player can do if no one was in his way.
“On Monday’s practice, we worked a lot on gap control, defensive zone coverage and how to play a high-skilled man,” Hladun said.
Hladun said he was also proud of Tyler Smoluk, who was called up to play for the Prince George Spruce Kings. Smoluk represented the Wranglers well on the Junior A level, he said.
The Wranglers hit the road this weekend for their final games of the season facing the Chase Heat Friday and the Kamloops Storm Saturday.