It wasn’t the 100 Mile House Wranglers’ best weekend of hockey, but Williams Lake fans won big Saturday when the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League team squared off with the Summerland Steam.
A recorded 750 fans packed the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex as the Wranglers fell just short of a victory, losing 3-2 to the Steam.
Four players from Williams Lake made appearances in the contest, including the Wranglers’ Tyler Povelofskie, Justin Bond and Kolten Carpenter, plus the Steam’s Calvin Hadley.
“I thought we worked hard like we always do, but at the end of the day they wanted it a little bit more than we did,” Povelofskie said, who put the Wranglers on the board with 12 seconds remaining in the first period.
“That was just lucky [my goal],” he said. “I have to shout out to Nick McCabe for doing all the work on that one. I was just there to clean up the garbage and got lucky.”
Wranglers coach Dale Hladun said it was a good showcase for his team and for the KIJHL. A group of Williams Lake residents interested in bringing a Junior B team to Williams Lake — Tyrel Lucas, Rob Sandrock and Ryan Bailey — helped make the game possible.
“It was a really good game,” Hladun said.
“You know for Williams Lake to be interested in our league to see that type of pace out there with two pretty hungry teams, I think it had a lot with good goaltending, some end-to-end hockey, some big saves and a little bit of rough stuff.
“It was a good crowd and I thought the little kids were all fired up with a couple of local boys here.”
Hadley made good on his return to Williams Lake as he potted the game winner with 20 seconds left in the second frame to put his squad up 3-2.
Povelofskie, meanwhile, said it was good to catch up with his old friend, Hadley, who he played together with in bantam in Williams Lake as a kid.
“I’m having a lot of fun,” he said of playing for the Wranglers.
“There’s a lot of good guys on the team and it’s nice to have fun playing hockey again.”
The day before the Wranglers lost to the Steam in 100 Mile House, 2-1.
Following the two weekend losses the Wranglers are now second place in the KIJHL’s Doug Birks Division with 14 wins, seven losses and three overtime losses (31 points), four back of Kamloops (17-5-0-1).
The Wranglers return home to 100 Mile House Sunday to host the Sicamous Eagles.