The 100 Mile House Wranglers of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) defeated the Castlegar Rebels 5-3 on Nov. 2 and then lost out to the Summerland Steam 4-3 the next day.
“I thought overall we played a solid weekend,” said Dale Hladun, head coach and general manager.
Max Messier, one of the team’s newest members, scored the first game’s opening goal on the first shot of his first shift. The four other goals were scored by Dylan Car, Garrett Hilton, Darian Long and Kolby Page.
Hladun said Messier made a good first impression but also added that Hilton has been outstanding this year with being all over the game sheet and being a true leader this season. He also had things to say about Page and applauded all the little things he does like blocking shots and finishing hits.
“He inspires his teammates so much and he does a good job as captain,” said Hladun.
Page and Long also had one assist to their name for a two-point game, while Harley Bootsma and Tate Page also had two helpers.
On Saturday, the Wranglers made the four-hour trip to Summerland.
“I thought we started flat. When you have a long trip, chances are you don’t come out of the gates real strong. We were down 2-1 right away but the boys clawed their way back,” said Hladun. “I thought our conditioning showed and we really took over the game.”
The Wranglers managed to tie up the game 3-3 in the third period but Ethan Grover of the Steam managed to score on a rebound with two minutes left, enabling the home team to leave the arena with a win.
Hladun said it was Summerland’s only real chance in the period and that he was disappointed with the defensive zone effort of the players on the ice at that time. It was also the first time the two new Americans, Nico Hemming and Greg Moon, dressed for the Wranglers.
Hemming, a forward, from Colorado started his campaign with the Wranglers with ten penalty minutes due to a misconduct.
Moon made his first start as a goalie but was pulled after the first period after allowing three goals in 17 shots.
“It was tough on him because he was basically up for 24 hours before the game. I think his timing is off and I think he didn’t come in peak game shape and so it was hard for him to get into the line-up right away,” said Hladun. “We got a whole week of practice now and we’ll get him settled in and give him a few more opportunities. The jury is still out.”
A few roster moves were made on Nov. 5, with defenceman Liam Dodd being traded to the North Okanagan Knights for future considerations. Forward Jackson Miller was also released.
Hladun said that Dodd was looking to have a bigger role and North Okanagan would provide that for him.
“He wants to play, he’s a good defenceman but I think after a while he would have been frustrated here. It showed in his play because I got a good d-core and everyone gets minutes and some of the vets would like more ice time than they’re getting.”
Dodd has played 10 games this season, collecting five assists and 83 penalty minutes. Miller, on the other hand, has appeared in 12 games and assisted on three goals and spent eight minutes in the penalty box.
The Wranglers next two games are home. They will play the Nelson Leafs on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. and the Kelowna Chiefs on Nov. 13, also at 7 p.m.