The 100 Mile House Wranglers dropped four straight one-goal games in the wake of a rather prosperous month of hockey that propelled the local Kootenay International Junior Hockey League club to the top of the Doug Birks Division and Okanagan Shuswap Conference for the first in its three year history.
But, following the string of tough losses, the basic message coming from coach Dale Hladun, whose Wranglers now sit second in the division with 31 points behind the Kamloops Storm with 35, is that the KIJHL season is a marathon, not a sprint.
“We’ve been banking some points. We’ve won some games early to help us get through these tough points in our season. I saw a hardworking team that was very weary.”
“It’s a long race,” the coach adds. “How much do you have to whip the horses? You got to know when to do that. I’m not stressed.”
This upcoming weekend’s games – against the Okanagan Division-leading Coyotes in Osoyoos on Nov. 20 and the Princeton Posse on Nov. 21 – will mark the midway point of the 2015-16 season.
“Right now, I think we’re doing fine,” Hladun reiterates. “I thought the boys played pretty good this last while, we just didn’t get the results we wanted.”
The coach says he was happy with the play of the affiliate players the team called up – Nick Nordstrom of Terrace and Brendan Moore of Smithers – and the consistent play of the Wranglers’ goaltending tandem of Zane Steeves and Adam Derochie.
“Not only are they good goalies, they have a connection with each other. They’re a team themselves. They get along well. They communicate with each other. They discuss things to a point where I’ve never really seen goalies support each other so well.”
Sicamous beat 100 Mile House 3-2 on Nov. 15. Derochie made 40 saves in the loss. Ryan Friesen scored two goals. Nick McCabe, Michael Lynch, Brett Harris and Cole Zimmerman made assists.
The Summerland Steam and 100 Mile House Wranglers faced off in Williams Lake on Nov. 14. The Steam came out on top 3-2. Forward Tyler Povelofskie scored for the Wranglers in front of his home town crowd, and Kolby Page, who Hladun also credited with some great play of late, added an unassisted goal. McCabe and Tate Page assisted on Povelofskie’s goal.
On Nov. 13, the Steam and Wranglers went into overtime in 100 Mile. The Steam had 40 shots on goal in their 2-1 win. Steeves won star of the game for the Wranglers. Justin Bond scored with assists by Brett Harris, who returned from a knee injury, and defenceman Todd Bredo.
Revelstoke handed 100 Mile House its first loss at home in regulation this season, 2-1, on Nov. 10.
Lynch won player of the game for 100 Mile House. The Grizzlies scored first on a power play attempt, before Zimmerman, from Liam Cumberbirch and Brady Ward, evened the game 1-1 in the first. Revelstoke scored the game winner in the third. Derochie stopped 24 pucks in his first loss of the season.