The 100 Mile House Wranglers live to fight another day.
After losing away to Revelstoke Grizzlies in game five on March 12 to a score of 5-4 in overtime, the Wranglers returned to home ice and won game six 3-2, despite being heavily outshot. The game also went through three periods of overtime before forward Julien Dewey scored.
“Definitely a big win,” said Dale Hladun, head coach and general manager. “It was a character win. I’m so proud of the kids and it’s dynamite.”
A key player in the win and in the series as a whole is Jakob Severson, who kept the Wranglers in the game facing over 50 shots and making big saves, which Hladun described as “series savers.”
“Jakob Severson was outstanding tonight,” he said. “Sevy was so in the zone. He’s been a rock for us and that’s why he got the Player’s Choice Award at the banquet.”
The head coach also had plaudits for Dewey, saying his performances in the playoffs were “money” and he was not surprised with Dewey’s clutch performance who often has a flair for scoring important goals, whether shorthand or game-winning.
The 18-year-old Clearwater native finished the regular season with 33 points and continued his good form scoring eight goals in his first playoff run with the 100 Mile House team.
Overall, Hladun was happy with the team’s effort, particularly the penalty kill units. Giving up penalties with just roughly three minutes left in the period happened in both the first and second periods of overtime was sure to give Hladun and fans alike to catch their breath.
“We still have a knack for getting a penalty at the wrong time but there were some major good penalty kills, even in overtime,” he said before lauding more praise on his players. “There was a lot of different heroes today.”
Hladun was also happy with the officiating this game. In game four, the Wranglers found themselves butting heads with officials resulting in some calls going against them. This time, Hladun was happy with the quality of officiating, saying it was good karma and good that some calls were at least turning out to be in his favour.
“In the first round of the playoffs, we only had 60 [penalty] minutes in the series against Chase and in one game [against Revelstoke] we had 60 minutes. We’re up over 200 and when we went to Revelstoke there were fans pointing out that actually felt bad about whats going against us,” said Hladun.
Even though the coach was happy with the performance, the game was still a source of some stress for him saying that it was the first time in a while that he was angry on the bench and giving some players some grief.
“I haven’t addressed a lot of the misconducts and silly penalties and you tell them not to, but today I chose to be angry. The reason I chose that was I needed them to know that if they didn’t bring their ‘A’ game then guys’ careers are done tonight,” said Hladun. “That’s why I was in the face some of these kids just to make them on the edge of their seat. They weren’t happy but I don’t care. It’s not about being happy, it’s not about being comfortable, it’s about being on the edge of your seat.”
Game seven will be played in Revelstoke on March 14 (today) and the Grizzlies have not played away from home often and with game six going through three rounds of overtime the travel back might give 100 Mile an advantage, as they have been often been the visitors in their playoff run.
If the Wranglers win game seven, they will go on to play Osoyoos in the conference final. In the other conference, Nelson Leafs and Kimberley Dynamiters are facing off to see who goes on to the league final.