It was a Jekyll and Hyde weekend for the 100 Mile House Wranglers of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.
After beating the Summerland Steam 4-2 on Nov. 1 on home ice, the team travelled to Kelowna, only to be beaten handily 9-2.
“I thought our team played a good game,” said head coach and general manager Dale Hladun about the Summerland game. “We played relatively disciplined. We did good in the cycle. I thought all the lines contributed so I’m happy with our efforts at home.”
Two players Hladun highlighted in the performance were Cody Barnes and Harley Bootsma. Both scored a goal in the game, with Bootsma being named player of the night.
Barnes, Hladun said, was starting to understand the value of his size.
“What I mean by that is sometimes people feel size has to be pounding people or whatever, but he’s using his size to protect the puck, drive the net and he’s hard to push off the puck. That’s his asset, you know, in the one penalty kill he had two chances to score and he ended up scoring a shorthanded goal just by using his good speed, his big body puck protecting and leaning into the defenceman and getting a good shot on net.”
Bootsma, who scored the opening goal, was said to be invaluable to the 100 Mile House Wranglers. Hladun called him one of the team’s best forwards and defenders this season. The assistant captain has also stepped up in a leadership role, especially with captain Kolby Page’s absence due to a concussion (and a broken rib earlier in the season).
“It was kind of an interesting week before the weekend because I was quite sick and I missed a couple of practice, so just without having to ask (assistant coach Chris Langton was away) Darian [Long] and Harley ran practices all week. From all accounts, they ran really good ones. It shows that the leadership cares and I have nothing but praise for those two to work the boys like they did this week. Friday was very nice to see how we did.”
The Saturday night game was a different story though, with Kelowna coming out hot straight from the gate. Added to Kelowna’s prowess on offence (leading the league with 67 goals for), Hladun admitted his side was “very flat.”
“I was really disappointed with our overall effort. I was really disappointed with our lack of awareness of picking up on backchecks, our lack of compete level. I mean, it was so opposite of the night we played before.”
He went on to say that Monday was dedicated to a video session, pointing out to the players the mistakes they had made during the game, particularly defenseman pinching.
Dale Hladun, head coach and GM of the @100MHWranglers, said the team will have a video session today to show players what needs to be corrected for their game against @ChaseHeat tomorrow (and in general).
— Brendan Kyle Jure (@BrendanKyleJure) November 4, 2019
“Kelowna really put it to us and I think humbled us quite a bit. It was a very frustrating game all around.”
The Wranglers play the Chase Heat on Tuesday (Nov. 5) to the score of 4-1. Harley Bootsma scored a hattrick for the team, including an unassisted powerplay goal. Kaden Dempsey scored the other goal.
The Wranglers will go on the road to take on the Grand Forks Border Bruins on Nov. 8 and the Osoyoos Coyotes on Nov. 9.