The 100 Mile House Wranglers took three out of four points from fellow Doug Birks Division clubs to get back on track and remain in the hunt for first place following a three game losing streak.
The local Kootenay International Junior Hockey League club is one point out of top spot in the division and host the Princeton Posse in their one and only game this weekend on Jan. 8.
100 Mile House tied the Sicamous Eagles, 2-2, on the road in overtime on Jan. 3 and beat the Revelstoke Grizzlies at home, 3-1, on Jan. 2.
Coach Dale Hladun was happy with the goaltending and the play of the short lineup in both games.
“Sicamous, even though they’re in last place [in the division], they’ve been one of the hottest teams since before Christmas and after since they got a new goaltender and tweaked their lineup a bit. I thought Sicamous competed pretty good.”
After 70 minutes, the Wranglers and Eagles stayed knotted at two. Jaydon Gilding scored a power play goal and Cole Zimmerman scored one even strength. Alex Hanson, Ryan Friesen and Stephen Egan tallied assists. Adam Derochie stood between the pipes and turned away 35 shots, including four in overtime. Eagles goalie Michael Lenko made 48 saves and won star of the game for the home team. Michael Lynch won star of the game for 100 Mile House.
100 Mile House got back on track in the 3-1 win over Revelstoke at the South Cariboo Rec. Centre on Jan. 2.
Brady Ward, Zimmerman and Friesen scored for 100 Mile House. Nick McCabe, Kolby Page (2), Alex Hanson, Justin Bond and Lynch tallied assists. Zane Steeves turned away 37 shots and won star of the game.
The Chase Heat, which trail the second place Wranglers by four points with three games in hand, torched 100 Mile in a pair of games the weekend before: 6-2 on Dec. 30 and 3-2 on Dec. 29.
The KIJHL’s tightest playoff race at the moment is in the Doug Birks Division, which is led currently by the Kamloops Storm, with the Wranglers and Heat on their heels.
“It’s like playoffs every game,” says Hladun, looking ahead to four consecutive divisional match-ups after the Princeton game.
Asked what the Wranglers need to do to win the division with 14 games remaining, Hladun has a familiar response. The key is discipline, he says. The Wranglers must stop taking inopportune penalties at inopportune times. Then the coach adds a “however.”
“It’s kind of a Catch-22. We take penalties because we play on high emotion. And yet you need that emotion to keep you going.”
The trade deadline in the KIJHL is Jan. 10. Hladun says he’s looking for defencemen.