The call had the announced 690 people in attendance scratching their heads – which is putting it nicely.
Over the public address system, 100 Mile House Wranglers director of marketing Don Jones asked that fans at the South Cariboo Rec. Centre not throw objects on the ice.
Referee Quinn Bjordal was public enemy No. 1.
The local Junior B hockey team hosted the Chase Heat in its final home game of the regular season on Feb. 21, and with the score knotted at four, the Wranglers seemed to have won in overtime on a goal by Lane van de Wetering.
The lamp was lit, the scoreboard read 5-4, and the Wranglers, all of them, were on the ice with their sticks in the air. The crowd cheered. Home ice advantage was still in the cards with one game against Kamloops left to play.
Then the referees conferred, and determined the net was dislodged when the puck went over the line.
Coach Doug Rogers was hit with a bench minor for arguing the call. Chase scored shortly after on a power play. Jordan Low let the referee have it after that, and along with Robert Orrey and the Heat’s Connor Venne, picked up a 10-minute misconduct.
The Chase win solidified its home-ice advantage in Round 1 against the Wranglers. Game 1 and 2 went Feb. 25-26 – after press time.
100 Mile House hosts the Heat on Feb. 28 and March 1. The games start at 7 p.m.
If necessary, the teams meet in Chase for Game 5 on March 3; 100 Mile House for Game 6 on March 4; and Chase for Game 7 on March 5.
100 Mile House outshot Chase 32-23 on Feb. 21. Still, Chase was up 3-1 after 40 minutes. Jayden Syrota, from Tyson Levesque, scored for the Wranglers in the second frame.
Bradley Williams, from Connor Sloan and Micheal Lynch, scored early in the third. Chase added its fourth, and then with 9:42 remaining, Stephen Egan scored with assists by Levesque and Lynch. van de Wetering, from Syrota and Luke Santerno, evened the game at four with 1:41 remaining.
A win in regular time would give 100 Mile House home-ice advantage against Chase in Round 1. After a 52-game season, 100 Mile House finished third in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s Doug Birks Division with 54 points, ahead of Sicamous with 49 and Revelstoke with 22. The Kamloops Storm won the division with 85 points, while Chase finished in second with 56.
The Wranglers travelled to Kamloops on Feb. 22, where they were handed a 4-0 loss.
Kamloops outshot 100 Mile House 60-17 and goalie Magnus Viberg made 56 saves in the club’s final regular season game.
With respect to the playoff picture, there wasn’t anything on the line for the game.
Low says it was a tough game to play.
“They were firing on all cylinders.”
van de Wetering says the playoff series against Chase is a whole new thing for both teams, but he thinks what happened Feb. 21 will carry over into the matchup going forward.
“It was kind of a heated game. I can’t see it not having a bit of extra drama.”
The teams split their eight regular season meetings.
Low, who has missed a few games with the Wranglers recently when he was called up to the Prince George Spruce Kings of the British Columbia Hockey League, says he’ll be in the lineup for the Chase series.
“We’re excited to get started. I think we have a fire lit under us to go out there and beat them.”