Back in town after a 7-3 loss to the Summerland Steam the night of Nov. 10, the 100 Mile House Wranglers called a team meeting.
It was late, but the matter of the club’s habitual mid-game struggles had to be remedied.
“We sat in a room and the kids said they had it under control. They came up with a plan to sort out the second period issues we’ve had lately,” explains coach/general manager Doug Rogers.
“To their credit, they did.”
The Wranglers beat the Chase Heat 5-4 at the South Cariboo Rec. Centre on Nov. 11.
If they didn’t play good hockey for a consistent 60 minutes, it was pretty close to that.
“Our team came out in the second for once,” says Michael Lynch, who scored a second period goal for 100 Mile House and was named top player of the game.
“We’ve had a rough time throughout the second period and we came out to play today. Everyone wanted to win and we put in a full 60 minutes.”
Not to say the win was an easy one. The Wranglers were up 3-1 after one period and 5-3 after two. Chase scored at the 12:25 mark in the third to pull within one. 100 Mile House was down a man on penalties for a total of four minutes and 35 seconds after that, which created some tense and exciting moments for the hundreds of fans in attendance.
Credit went to a consistently impressive goalie, Nathan Warren, and strong and relentless penalty killing units.
“I always have those nerves in the third, especially when we have a one goal lead,” defenceman Kenny Nordstrom says following the game. “But, we have Nathan Warren in net, and he always makes those key saves for us, even when we let him down.”
Nordstrom adds keeping focus, in the dressing room between periods and on the ice, was another big part of the Wranglers success Monday night.
“We knew it was a division game and we needed the points.”
With close to a minute left and an empty net at the Chase end, Lynch fired a shot down the ice from his defensive zone. It looked good most of the way but caught the post. In a way, both teams got lucky on the play.
It was no goal, but it wasn’t icing either.
Rogers talked about the team “getting a break” after the game. But he also stressed the credit his players deserved bouncing back from the Summerland loss.
“It’s a character builder for us to be able to hold on and battle through some adversity.”
Forward Donovan Law is one of the newest additions to the Wranglers roster. He scored a goal in the first period.
“I think we’re a hard working team,” Law says of his new club. “I think what’s going to get us most of our wins is our hard work.”
Mathieu Longhurst scored twice for 100 Mile House and Luke Santerno added one. Assists on the night went to Lane Van de Wetering, Tyson Levesque, Cole Zimmerman, Robert Orrey, William Orrey, Braeden St. Louis, Warren and Nordstrom.
The Wranglers (10-9-0-3) meet the Heat again in Chase on Nov. 15. The club’s next home game is Nov. 23 hosting the division leading Kamloops Storm.