The 100 Mile House Wranglers defeated the Revelstoke Grizzlies Friday 4-3 for their first win of the season.
This win broke a five-game losing streak since the season began in late September. While the home ice magic didn’t last in their follow-up Saturday, where the Grizzlies won 3-0, coach Dale Hladun said it was still a good weekend for the team.
“We played the team that’s the returning champion, that’s loaded with returning champions,” Hladun said. “I thought the team did very good buying in and to win in overtime Friday night was pretty special.”
On Friday night things did not look good for the Wranglers in the first period. Despite being able to successfully kill penalties, the Grizzlies put intense pressure on the Wrangler’s new goalie Tysen Smith, ultimately scoring a goal.
Hladun said Smith impressed him both nights, earning player of the game back to back.
“The old adage is if you want to be a good coach, get a good goalie and that’s a good goalie,” Hladun said.
Hladun said that as the night progressed, the Wranglers began to rally in part thanks to the return of Nathan Bohmer, who left the Wranglers last season to join a Junior A team. In the second period, Bohmer scored two goals, keeping the team in the game as the Grizzlies pulled ahead with two goals of their own.
When skates hit the ice in the third period the Wranglers played like they had something to prove. Thanks to persistent pressure Jack Mulder was able to tie the game with an early goal which won a roar of approval from the crowd.
“Other key players Friday night included Mulder, he’s a relentless player,” Hladun said. “I thought Ty Smoluk and Ethan Hoffstrand were very good defencemen and were important to our game Friday. Smoluk is a horse. He was getting banged up, would come off in pain and then would go back on and inflict some pain.”
After taking the Grizzlies into overtime the Wranglers were unable to notch a final goal against their opponents. The game was decided in a sudden death shootout that Jace Myers won for the hometown team.
“Jace has been working hard and he’s gotten frustrated on some things. During that game, he made a nice pass to Bohmer to set up a goal and then to score that overtime winner was like being rewarded.”
On Saturday Hladun said the Grizzlies came with more of an edge while the Wranglers seemed tired. The emotions of breaking the losing streak drained his players and despite being shut out, he considered it a good lesson for the team. When they reach the playoffs, he said, they’ll be playing teams back-to-back just like they did last weekend.
“There were still moments of silly penalties but we didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot too much,” Hladun said. “I like the team. If we focus on the systems and how to manage your ice (we’ll be OK.)”
The 100 Mile House Wranglers play the Grand Forks Border Bruins Sunday at 1 p.m. at the South Cariboo Rec Centre.