Back-to-back games this weekend saw the 100 Mile House Wranglers Junior B Hockey team play two very different games.
On Friday, the Wranglers faced the Chase Heat, in a 9-3 loss, that saw Chase take the win in their home arena.
“I was really disappointed in our efforts and just disappointed in our ability to park the trouble and try and claw our way back,” says coach Dale Hladun.
“It was a very frustrating game and that being said, Chase came with a mindset to beat us, and they outworked us, moved the puck well; they stayed true to their systems and they worked very hard. I give them full credit for doing that. I felt that we were a little lackadaisical.”
Chase took the lead early, and despite two unassisted goals by Justin Bond, and a goal from Garrett Hilton to take the lead in the second period, the Wranglers were not able to hold onto the win.
“When they got their chances they buried them. We pushed back. That game was tight but late in the game some things went against us and we kind of folded and that’s not the way we need to be.”
Hladun says the Wranglers will be working on toughness.
“It’s like playing Jenga, you can pull out one thing and the tower still holds together but it’s not as strong — you just don’t notice it.
“I think there were a couple things: just some of our practice habits, little things away from the rink that we weren’t quite staying sharp on and then — Jenga. All of a sudden a few pieces fall out and then bud-a-bing.
“We’re just talking about accountability and being prepared: Fellas, we’re in this to be champions not just to do something for the winter.”
At home on Saturday, the Wranglers faced the North Okanagan Knights to a very different result, taking the win 10-3.
“Good for the guys to bring a better effort but all due respect, North Okanagan is not the Chase Heat,” says Hladun.
Goals were spread across the 100 Mile team, with six Wranglers putting up points on the board during the game.
“The game on Saturday, I was really happy for Quin Garrison. Quin got two goals, he’s been working really hard, he didn’t play hockey at all last year so he’s improving leaps and bounds.
“I’m really impressed with his work ethic,” says Hladun.
“Then Julien Dewey, the same thing, [he’s] from Clearwater, a small organization.
Dewey scored one goal and had two assists during the game.
“I was really happy to see him selected Game Star,” says Hladun.
Mackenzie Benn-Wipp was back in the line-up, after a seven-game suspension, and Kolten Carpenter, a 150 Mile player and crowd favourite, is back on the roster.
Adding another point to his total with a goal in the third period, Bond is now ranked third in the KIJHL for scoring.
Overall, Hladun says the team has some work to do before facing Kamloops and Chase again this weekend.
“Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn,” he says.
“Now I think we know the measuring stick.”