The Wranglers (16-13-3-0-0) won their first game of December beating divisional leaders Chase (21-12-0-0) 5-3 in the latter’s backyard at the Art Holding Memorial Arena.
Forward James Gordon opened up the scoring with his second goal of the season in the first period with the assistance of Travis Gook. It was soon followed up by a Frazer Dodd goal and a third goal in the second period by Darian Long. Long’s goal was during one of the Wranglers seven power-play efforts and the only successful conversion of the game for both sides.
Chase Heat got into the game scoring two unanswered goals to round off the second period by Pat Brady and Zachary Fournier and making it a 3-2 game.
The Wranglers potted another goal to widen the gap in the third courtesy of Vanderhoof native, Kolby Page. Playing only 26 games this season, Page already has had a more successful season, matching his first year with the team in the 2015-2016 season in statistics with four goals and seven assists.
Chase clawed one back to keep the game within one goal but Julien Dewey scored an empty-netter to capture the victory.
Haydon Lyons was in between the pipes making 26 saves in 29 shots and winning his fourth game of the season.
Overall, the Wranglers are ranked sixth in the league when it comes to capitalizing on power play opportunities with 18.48 per cent and scoring 34 goals in 184 opportunities, with nine of them finding the netting this month. Only Chase Heat (23.89) have a better power play than the Wranglers in the Doug Birks Division, third overall.
This didn’t phase 100 Mile, who killed off all five penalties called against them. The team also only racked up ten minutes in the box, the least amount of time Wrangler players had to watch the game unfold from the sin bin since the North Okanagan Knights beat them 5-3 but only collected eight minutes in the box.
Currently, the team is ranked 13 league-wide in penalty kill success and with nine of 33 goals scored on them this month, it looks like the team has been working on bolstering their performance in this category. The team has struggled with keeping the puck out of the net during even strength opposed to being a man short this month.
This is the complete opposite situation than it was in October. By Nov.3, the Wranglers had only been scored on six times during even strength play and letting in 39 goals while a man short.
Wranglers players are still finding the net though. Finding 18 this month, the Wranglers have scored a total of 134 goals with only Chase higher in scoring in the division by two. Revelstoke is third with 106 goals but is sitting in second place in the division, only allowing 71 goals.
General manager and head coach Dale Hladun has spoken throughout the month of the team having a poor month of December in the past four years, losing the majority if not all games but bouncing back and pushing through adversity to explode in January.
On Jan. 5, the Wranglers will return to the Art Holding Memorial Arena to face Chase. They will be back the next day to play the Summerland Steam (20-8-1-0-1).
Hladun was unreachable by press time.