They’re enjoying the view from the top of the Doug Birks Division mountain, and the 100 Mile House Wranglers plan on staying there.
The local Kootenay International Junior Hockey League club is riding high following back-to-back wins against its best rivals – 2-1 in Chase over the Heat on Jan. 16 and 5-2 in 100 Mile House over the Kamloops Storm – and they’re confident heading into Revelstoke for a pair of games against the Grizzlies, Jan. 22-23.
Heading into the upcoming weekend, the Storm and Wranglers have 53 points at the top of the Doug Birks Division and share an identical record (25-11-1) after 41 games. The Wranglers have the edge in the standings as they have the edge in head-to-head games.
Looking ahead to the Revelstoke Grizzlies, coach Dale Hladun says the Wranglers will have to bring their “A Game” on the road heading into the busy ski town’s arena.
“With all those ski bums, it will be loud in there. It will be rocking… It will be an intimidating crowd. But no more intimidating than for opponents when they come here.”
In Chase on Jan. 16, goalie Zane Steeves made 35 saves and won star of the game.
Austin Turner, a Terrace forward, won star of the game in his first game back in 100 Mile House when the Wranglers thumped the Storm at the South Cariboo Rec. Centre with over 500 fans in attendance on Jan. 15.
Justin Bond, Tate Page, Turner, Cole Zimmerman and Brady Ward notched goals against Kamloops. Brett Harris (3), Tavis Roch and Stephen Egan tallied assists.
Steeves was solid in net, turning away 22 shots.
Hladun praised the play of returning Terrace talent Turner, who “was huge for us”; usual forward Michael Lynch, who “was outstanding” playing defence; and Zimmerman the local talent, who notched the game winner in Chase and an empty-netter against Kamloops and played “two of his best disciplined games in some time.”
“When the game was on the line, I made sure Egan, Ward and Zim were on the ice, and both times they shut them down.”
Egan assisted on Zimmerman’s winner. Alex Meeker, from Justin Bond and Turner, scored the first goal for 100 Mile House in Chase.
“I really believe the most dangerous team in our division is the Chase Heat,” says Hladun. “They’re 26 per cent on their power play at home.”
Meaning the Wranglers need to be mindful of the penalty trouble they often find themselves in if they meet in the playoffs. Those tables turned some in Chase though. Chase was one of five and the Wranglers were two of three on the power play on Jan. 16.