The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s (KIJHL) 100 Mile House Wranglers went 1-2 over the weekend, losing out to Kamloops and Summerland but coming out on top of a tilt with Kelowna to a score of 6-3.
“We only got the one win but overall I didn’t mind our play,” said Dale Hladun, the general manager and head coach.
Starting their weekend against Kamloops on Feb. 9, the Wranglers travelled to neutral ground in Quesnel and were felled by Kamloops 2-1, with the focus primarily being on the team’s defensive play – something the team has struggled with in the latter half of the season.
The game against Summerland ended 7-4 but Hladun thought the first period was okay, second “stunk” and the third period was the best one for his team, scoring two of their four goals.
Hladun told his players when they went up against Kelowna that the team only played one bad period during the weekend. The Wranglers would go on to outplay the opposition.
One major concern Haldun has is the discipline of his players who are prone to arguing with the referee or getting upset with opposition players, some even taunt the other side after scoring a goal. These decisions often lead to game misconducts.
“I’m just dumbfounded as to how we can’t control ourselves. It’s like we are a bunch of Chihuahuas that just got to bark for the sake of barking and we’re trying to address that,” said Hladun. “The thing is dogs bark but the dangerous dog is the one that’s tail isn’t wagging and he’s just staring at you. I need the big German Sheperd who’s tail doesn’t wag and he’s just staring at you and you know it’s coming.”
Defencemen Travis Gook and Frazer Dodd were both given game misconducts late in the game against Kelowna. So was forward and sometime defenceman Rob Raju.
“With three games left in the regular season and the intensity of playoffs, we have to correct this and correct it fast,” he said. “But as a team, skill-wise we’re good.”
The head coach highlighted Jakob Severson’s play on the weekend. Recently returning from injury, Severson played on Friday and Sunday and was described by his coach as outstanding.
“He’s starting to prove that he’s among the top goalies not just in our division but in our whole league,” said Hladun. “It’s great to see him do that.”
The team is still locked in a battle with the Chase Heat to decide the second and third placing in the division. To come in second the Wranglers must win all three of their last games and Chase must lose their last two games.
The last three games for the Wranglers are two home games against Sicamous (Feb. 14) and Chase (Feb. 17) and an away game at Kamloops (Feb. 18).