The 100 Mile House Wranglers of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League finished their regular season with two wins against divisional rivals Chase Heat and Kamloops Storm.
The 4-2 win over Chase on Feb. 17 and the 6-5 win over Kamloops on Feb. 18 brought the Wranglers just one point shy of capturing second in the Doug Birks Division, which is held by Chase.
Chase beat the Wranglers to the goal horn in the first period but it didn’t take long for the Wranglers to score two unanswered goals from Darian Long and Kolby Page to end the first period. The Heat clawed their way back for a draw in the middle of the second and the game would remain deadlocked until the dying seconds of the period. Kolby Page potted another goal, which would end up being the winning goal.
“I was really happy with Kolby Page. He got a couple of goals, killed a few penalties, he was fantastic,” said Dale Hladun, general manager and head coach.
Captain and forward Justin Bond would add another one for good measure at the end of the third after intercepting a wayward pass from the Heat’s defence in their own zone.
The third period of the game got rough, especially after Grady Musgrave of the Heat boarded Wranglers forward, Frazer Dodd. Dodd went head first into the boards but was okay and didn’t miss a shift, but ended up getting a game misconduct in the last four minutes of the game after an intense scrum at the visiting team’s net.
Defenceman Nolan Parr switched to forward for the game and had a game to remember against Kamloops, scoring a hat trick and two assists for a five-point game. The 18-year-old Quesnel native finished the regular season with 26 points in his first campaign with the team. It was also his first five-point game in his three-year KIJHL career.
Dylan Carr, just 16, made his debut in the KIJHL scoring a goal and an assist.
“I was very excited for Dylan Carr, he’s right from 100 Mile House and he’s been skating with us all year at practices and he got a goal and an assist,” said Hladun. “It’s exciting to know that there’s talent in town because we do want to get players from the town and the region.”
Justin Bond and Dawson Long scored the two other goals. Goalie Jaysen MacLean also recorded his first win as a Wrangler, after replacing Hayden Lyons in the second period. He stopped all 28 shots he faced.
Brody and Tyson Conroy, from Williams Lake, also made their debut for the Wranglers.
The Wranglers will be facing Chase Heat in the first round of the playoffs starting in Chase on Feb. 23. Hladun is pretty confident of their chances in coming on top.
“I just feel that Chase is living off a power play and they have a very good one so if we stayed disciplined, that works in our favour,” he said.
He also mentioned the fact the Wranglers roll four lines and the depth of forwards, hoping to wear out the opposing team in the series.
Since moving to 100 Mile House in 2013, the franchise has yet to fail to make it to the playoffs.