After back-to-back wins, the Wranglers saw their three-game win streak stopped by the Kelowna Chiefs in a 7-2 loss on Nov. 3 on the Chief’s home ice.
“We had a bit of a tough start,” said head coach Dale Hladun. “We got in a bit of hole early in the game, we were down 5-2 but I thought our boys played a strong game despite the score.”
The first period of the game was action-packed, with five of Kelowna’s goals and the two goals from the Wranglers.
The 17-year-old rookie, Julien Dewey netted his fifth goal of the season. Another rookie, Dawson Long, scored his first goal this season and in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League after shifting west from Alberta where he split the last two years with the Whitecourt Wolverines Midget AA of the Northern Alberta Midget AA Hockey League and the North Peace Navigators of the North West Junior Hockey League.
Summerland native, goalie Jared Breitkreuz had a game to forget, sent to the bench after allowing the first five goals at the end of the period. His replacement was Jakob Severson, who allowed a goal from Kelowna forward Brett Witala in the remaining minutes of the third period. Severson’s performance was solid though, allowing one goal in 33 shots, getting recognized as the second star.
“We’re still a younger team and we’re still trying to find our way so there’s a lot of mistakes and when you got a goalie to bail you out, that just adds to the confidence,” said Hladun about the 20-year-old goalie.
The game was a rough one though, with both teams racking over enough penalties to make Tiger Williams proud. However, each team received two game misconducts and two fighting majors each.
“There was a couple of scraps in it,” said the coach. “There’s a lot of north kids on their team too, so there’s guys who held grudges from way back when in minor hockey.”
Despite the loss, the team went on to beat Osoyoos Coyotes 3-1 on the more southerly team’s home ice, bringing them one point closer to toppling the Revelstoke Grizzlies from first place in the division.
“Osoyoos is one of the strongest teams in that division and they’re very good at home and for our guys to go in there the next day and beat them, I think that’s a neat kind of way of foreshadowing of under adversity,” said Hladun.
The three goals came from Joel Patsey, Kyle Lindstrom and fourth-liner, Quinn Garrison, with Jaque Gilkerson, Rob Raju, Nolan Parr and Julien Dewey getting the helpers.
Other than the stellar performance from Severson, who made 41 saves from 42 shots, the fourth line of Dewey, Garrison and Jackson Miller contributed a lot to the victory, according to the coach. Anchoring defenceman, Joel Patsey was also pointed out.
“He’s just such a force with that shot and always dangerous on the power-play,” said Hladun of Patsey.
According to Hladun, how the players respond and then rebound after a heavy-handed loss, such as the one against Kelowna, is what has him most impressed.
“The way they speak, the way they handled themselves in the dressing room, you could tell they were just angry and needed to do better,” said Hladun.”So when we lost to Kelowna, you could sense that would never happen again.”
The Wranglers haven’t lost two games in a row since opening week, losing to Summerland and Princeton. Their next game is away against the Grizzlies on Nov. 10 , where they will battle for first place in the division, before returning to 100 Mile to face Kamloops the next day.