The 100 Mile House Wranglers kicked a four-game losing streak this weekend with two back-to-back wins against the Revelstoke Grizzlies last weekend.
The Wranglers fought hard on home at the South Cariboo Recreation Centre, thrashing the Grizzlies 5-2 Friday and 4-2 Saturday.
“It was a pretty good weekend for the fellas. For them to get those hard-fought victories, it was powerful,” head coach Dale Hladun said, adding he was proud of the team. “Revelstoke is a good team, they brought a good game and battled hard.”
The Wranglers took an early lead in the first period Friday with two goals in quick succession by newcomer Macquire Ratzlaff and his teammate Nathan Bohmer. Hladun said that the addition of Ratzclaff and his bond with Bohmer has added some excitement to the team’s offence.
The Grizzlies responded with one goal in the first period but despite a strong offence, they couldn’t get another one past the Wranglers’ goalie by the end of the first. In the second period, Wranglers’ forward Ethan Sanders scored the only goal, widening the lead by two. In the third period, the game got heated, with Wrangler Reid Stumpf making an unassisted goal, which was answered by the Grizzlies. Bohmer secured the win, ending the game at 5-2.
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The next night, at the Wrangler’s Hockey Fights Cancer fundraiser, the Grizzlies fought hard, hoping to redeem themselves. Emotions ran high both on and off the ice, with several jeers directed at the referees throughout the game.
Bohmer once again put the Wranglers on the scoreboard halfway through the first period as the teams duelled back and forth. With seconds to go in the first, the Grizzlies’ Bennett Kuhnlein tied up the game.
It was a near stalemate in the second period before Grizzlie forward Jacob Smith slipped the puck past Wranglers’ goalie Loic Mainguy-Crepault on a power play. Hladun said that Mainguy-Crepault had a strong game and saved the team more than once, blocking 56 of the 58 shots on net.
“I feel we probably have the best tandem of goaltenders between him and Casey Thomson. Those two really push each other and are pretty good friends,” Hladun said.
The Wranglers rallied quickly in the third period with Jace Myers tying the score early on and later assisting Sanders with another goal. Hladun described Myers as a “lion” throughout the night and said the team rallied around his passionate play, which ultimately earned him player of the game.
As the game wound down, Ratzlaff wrestled the puck from the Grizzlies’ offence and scored an open net goal to clinch the victory. While the Wranglers were triumphant they suffered a few battle scars.
“Our defence, they were beat up and sore. Our kids worked hard but they were very bruised. I give them full kudos because they had to battle a lot,” Hladun said. “We were like a MASH unit, Revelstoke really pounded us and usually it’s the other way around.”
The Wranglers face off against the Summerland Steam this Friday, Nov. 5, and Hladun is excited for the return of former Wrangler defenceman Kyler Opp. Hladun said Opp is a hard-hitting defensive player and at 20 will bring some valuable experience to the defensive line.