The Wranglers had a tough weekend, tying a game against Revelstoke (2-2) and then losing to Kamloops 7-4 at home. The weekend results saw both Revelstoke and 100 Mile drop one spot in the divisional standings, with Chase Heat now taking the reigns.
Jakob Severson got a well-deserved rest for the Kamloops game after being nominated 100 Mile’s star of the game for the third time this month. Instead, Jared Breitkreuz started in net with rookie Hayden Lyons as back-up. Breitkreuz saw just under 19 minutes of ice-time and was pulled in the middle of the second period after conceding three goals, making way for Lyons who didn’t fare much better.
“When Sevey [Severson] was standing on his head for us, it kind of hides the holes in our game and it showed that we have to be a better defensive zone team,” said head coach Dale Hladun. “I thought it was a good game to see what we need to continue to work on.”
But the Wranglers have a new face running the power-play. Cameron Lockard, 17, from Whitecourt, Alta., arrived in 100 Mile on Nov. 8, after playing with the Dryden Ice Dogs in the Superior International Junior Hockey League. He played nine games and scored one goal and one assist while playing for the team based in Northwestern Ontario.
Hladun found Lockard back in March in the same scouting trip he discovered Dawson Long. Lockard decided to go to the Ice Dogs before making the switch to the Wranglers after his stint in Dryden didn’t work out.
“Cam stood right out,” said Hladun. “He was a strong forward but he ran the power-play on the back end.”
According to Hladun, Lockard has already added a new dimension to the team, which is one of the highest scoring teams in the league but has one of the worst power play in the league. The coach is hoping the right-handed forward can change their power-play fortunes.
The 5’11” right winger had a career season last year, playing with the Whitecourt Wolverines in the Northern Alberta Midget AA League, scoring the most assists (36) and points (65) in the league. He was also drafted by the Western Hockey League’s Medicine Hat Tigers in the fourth round at pick 72 overall.
Lockard played in both games this weekend, registering two assists in the Kamloops games. Leading scorer, Justin Bond also had two assists against Kamloops (and two points against Revelstoke) following his return to the line-up after serving his time for a hit from behind. Sophomore Rob Raju, who has been one of the teams most consistent performers also grabbed two points, a goal and an assist.
Bond, already franchise career leader in goals, points and penalty minutes, is four assists (67) away from claiming franchise career assists from former team stalwart, Brett Harris (70) who is now with the University of Jamestown Jimmies.
The star of the game was Kolby Page, scoring one goal but it was his impressive defensive game that warranted the accolade.
“I thought Kolby Page was a warrior that game,” said Hladun. “That poor kid, he’s blocked so many shots this weekend it was crazy and he comes off the ice and you think he’s dead but he’s dusting himself off ready to go again.”
Following a hit from behind against a Wrangler, 6’4” Kyle Lindstrom won a fight against the Storm’s rookie defender Brayden Davis. Winning the fight resulted in cheers from the fans and seemed to lift the Wranglers from their dog-tired performance. Also hurting the Wranglers was three of their players being suspended for a game each during the Revelstoke game.
Twin brothers, Liam and Frazer Dodd (second in scoring for the team with 16 points) were suspended for a game misconduct and multiple goalie interference infractions respectively. Nolan Parr also found himself in a suit rather than a uniform after being suspended for multiple fights.
The Wranglers have a busy week, playing away games in Sicamous on Nov. 14 and in Quesnel (against Kamloops) on Nov. 17 before coming home for back-to-back games against Sicamous and North Okanagan on Nov. 18 and 19.