Darian Long brings the puck into the offensive zone during 3-1 loss at home against Revelstoke on Dec. 16. Brendan Kyle Jure photo.

Wranglers’ losing streak continues

Losing six games in a row, Wranglers look to beat back Christmas blues

The Wranglers were on the losing side twice over the Dec. 15 weekend, extending their losing streak to six.

Losing away to Sicamous (5-25-1-1) will be a sore spot, especially with the Wranglers (15-13-3-0) giving up a 3-2 lead in the middle of the third period to lose 4-3.

“In Sicamous, we came out strong – the way we want to play, we want to be physical and push guys off pucks and we did,” said head coach Dale Hladun. “Right away we had a two nothing lead but our comfort zone came back quick, when we got those goals we thought we’d keep on scoring and Sicamous is kind of like a wounded animal.”

Positional details were also omitted from the game, where the Wranglers thought they could run and gun instead of playing structural hockey according to Hladun.

Their power play units failed to make much of an impact, only scoring once in seven attempts. Hladun will be happy his team were good on the penalty kill though, only allowing one goal in the ten times they were shorthanded with seven skaters combining for 42 penalty minutes including three ten-minute misconducts doled out to as many players.

Two of those players are Quesnel’s Travis Gook and Dawson Long from Whitecourt, Alta. who have now spent over 100 minutes in the box each, the first two on the roster to reach that seasonal milestone.

Gook and Julian Dewey were sent to the box after a bit of tussle with Sicamous players, Cody Loucks and Jordan Sheasgreen after the former slew foot goalie Hayden Lyons, a cardinal sin in the world of hockey is going after a goalie.

“I’m okay with those guys sticking up for our goalie,” Hladun said.

Another Sicamous player, Sebastion Archambault received a game misconduct for a slew foot earlier in the game.

The Wranglers returned home the next day to face off against Revelstoke and the score ended up as a 3-1 affair in favour of the visiting side.

“I was happy with our efforts as a group,” said Hladun. “We played a better structure. The kids spoke better on the bench.”

Revelstoke (18-5-2-3) only outshot the home team by one with 36 but managed to score three goals on Lyons who replaced an injured Jakob Severson early in the game. The Wranglers didn’t fare as well, only beating Lyons’ counterpart, Giovanni Sambreilaz once via Frazer Dodd.

Mental errors were what Hladun attributed to the loss but again asserted the team played a good game.

The topic of a “Christmas Curse” also returned. In the past four years, the Wranglers have often lost most if not all their games in December before rebounding in January. The slump is now regarded as the team’s biggest rival.

“The biggest heroes need to battle the biggest villains. I think the biggest villain right now is overcoming this slump,” he said. “I believe in what we got here and hopefully we can end the holidays on a good note.”

The Wranglers will be looking to return in the win column against Chase Heat (20-11-0-1) on Dec. 22 and gain ground on Chase, tied for first place in the Doug Birks Division with Revelstoke at 41 points. Wranglers, who are sitting in third place with 33 points, are now the chasers instead of the pacemakers after they were dethroned as divisional leaders earlier this month.

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