As was the case the previous evening, the 100 Mile House Wranglers skated off the ice with a 5-4 victory over the Summerland Steam in their own barn on March 19.
The best-four-of-seven-game Okanagan/Shuswap Conference Championship series now shifts back to 100 Mile House on March 21, with the Wranglers having a 3-1 game advantage.
Summerland is a good club just like Chase, says Wranglers coach Dale Hladun.
“A bounce here or there at the right time makes or breaks either club’s chances.”
Hladun adds the Wranglers played the Steam pretty good on March 18.
“In game 3, we had a 3-1 lead and got into penalty trouble again – imagine that. They killed a major penalty [when Cole Zimmerman got five minutes for head contact, and a three-game suspension] with three minutes left in regulation and two into overtime, which was huge.
Wranglers game 3 scoring
Alex Hanson (Zimmerman), 1-1 tie, period 1; Nick McCabe (Hanson), 2-1, period 1; Ryan Friesen (Brett Harris, Todd Bredo), 3-1, period 2; Tavis Roch (Zimmerman, Justin Bond), 4-4; and Stephen Egan (Tyler Povelofskie), 5-4, overtime.
For the first time in the series, the Wranglers scored first in game 4 in Summerland on March 19 and they had a 2-1 lead heading into the second period.
The Cariboo lads extended the lead to 3-1 with the lone goal in the second stanza.
However, the third period was a mirror image of the March 18 tilt – the Steam charged back with three unanswered goals, including two power-play markers, to take the 4-3 lead.
“Pretty much the same script was followed; it was Die Hard 2. We were up 3-1 and they got some power-play goals and some opportunities and they had the lead 4-3.
“We had a power play, so I pulled the goalie to give us another man advantage and we tied the game. Then we won in overtime.”
Hladun says the boys were peeved that they gave up another three-goal lead.
“But, I said, ‘fellas you saw this movie last night and you liked the outcome, so what’s the difference?’ Sure enough, it was almost the same outcome.
“I think the kids played so hard and with so much character in what’s supposed to be the opponent’s den. We had so much fan support there; it made a huge difference.”
Hladun says a lot of the players’ parents showed up for the game, along with a large contingent of fans from 100 Mile House – and they were the loudest in the rink.
“We can’t say enough about how important it is with those people coming to the rink. They make a huge difference.
“They are there and the kids feed off that.”
He notes they were shorthanded in game 4 because Brady Ward and Michael Lynch were hurt, and Zimmerman was out with his suspension.
Wranglers game 4 scoring
Bond (Roch, McCabe), 1-0, period 1; McCabe (Bond, Hanson), 2-0, period 1; Alex Meeker (Josh Odelein, Bredo), 3-1, period 2; Harris (Austin Turner, Roch), 4-4, period 3; McCabe (Povelofskie), 5-4, double overtime.
Game 5 goes tonight (March 21) at the South Cariboo Rec. Centre, with the puck dropping at 7 p.m.
If needed, game 6 will be in Summerland on March 22 and game 7 will be in 100 Mile House on March 23, with both contests starting at 7 p.m.