Coach Dale Hladun says he thought his 100 Mile House Wranglers played three good games in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League action last weekend, and had two victories.
Noting the road trip started with a 3-1 loss to the Osoyoos Coyotes on Jan. 2, Hladun says Osoyoos is a very strong team that will be a top contender in the playoffs. There in first place in the league overall for a reason, he adds.
Team captain Devan Suidy scored the lone Wrangler marker, with assists going to Austin Turner and Brett Harris.
“I was real happy with our effort … but not happy about the loss. We had a couple affiliate players, but we had 20 healthy guys in the lineup and it certainly made a difference.”
He notes defenceman Cole Weber is back. Suidy is nursing injuries and forward Harris is bruised and banged up, Hladun says, adding all three are starting to get better.
The Wranglers have battled with injuries and the flu bug for much of the season. Josh Odelein went down with an elbow injury on Jan. 4 and Michael Lynch is out with the flu.
100 Mile 4 Nelson 3
On Jan. 4, the Wranglers skated to a 4-3 overtime victory against the Nelson Leafs in what Hladun calls a “gritty win.”
Harris (A. Turner, Suidy) opened the scoring in the first. Nelson tied it in the second before Brady Ward (Nick McCabe, Jayden Syrota) gave the Wranglers the lead again.
Ward (McCabe, Syrota) made it 3-1 in the third frame before the Leafs roared back with two late markers to send the game into overtime. Syrota (Stephen Egan) scored the winner at 1:49 of the second OT period.
100 Mile 4 Castlegar 1
The Wranglers controlled this contest on Jan. 3 against the Castlegar Rebels.
Tate Page (Lynch, Harris), McCabe (Weber), Suidy (A. Turner, Page) and A. Turner (Harris, Page) scored for the Wranglers.
100 Mile 2 Sicamous 3
On Dec. 30, the Wranglers had a 2-0 lead heading into the third period on goals by Page (Odelein) and Suidy (Harris, Jaydon Gilding), but let is slip away for the 3-2 overtime loss.
“I like our effort but we didn’t put in a full game, and that’s what we focused on the weekend. The boys knew it … we’ve got to play nasty right to the end and we can’t glide.”
Hladun says the line of McCabe, Micky Turner and Ward has been the Wranglers most consistent lines in the past five games.
“They were fantastic against this weekend. Jayden Syrota is stepped up his game this weekend and was a horse and got the overtime game-winner in Nelson.
“The boys showed a will to win and bodes well for the future. They’re confident, but they’re also frustrated about letting games get away and that’s why they played so well this weekend.”
The Wranglers get a shot at redemption against Sicamous at home on Jan. 9, and host Castlegar on Jan. 10. The puck drops at 7 p.m. both nights.
Then they travel to Chase for a 2 p.m. tilt against the Heat on Jan. 11.