The Wranglers found some trouble on their weekend road-trip, losing 5-1 to the Revelstoke Grizzlies on Nov. 25, who are three points under the former but have played four games less.
Revelstoke were helped along by a brace from rookie-forward, Cody Flann, both goals coming from the power play. Joel Scrimbit scored another power play goal for the home side. The Wranglers penalty kill units found themselves on the ice more than a few times, collecting 48 penalty minutes (20 from game misconducts though), but with the continuing parade of Wrangler players heading to the box shows a willingness to fight for the first spot in the Doug Birks Division.
“It was very intense, the crowd was into it,” said general manager and head coach Dale Hladun. “I thought both teams competed hard.”
But it’s not like the penalty kill units were leaky, only allowing three goals in 11 attempts leaves the Grizzlies with a 27.3 per cent success rate. On the other hand, the Wranglers’ power play failed to find the net in five attempts.
The Wranglers’ lone goal came from Williams Lake’s Justin Bond, assisted by Rob Raju and Darian Long.
Rebounding against the Osoyoos Coyotes the next day saw Bond scoring his 19th and 20th goal, the third season in a row he has hit the 20 goal mark, in a 7-5 win. Bond is now one point away from passing his season-best points total (43) and assists total (23) with still 22 games left to play.
Jared Breitkreuz also won his fifth game of the season, facing 43 shots. It was forward Frazer Dodd who stole the limelight though, scoring a hat-trick, all three of them coming from the power play. Dodd was also named as the second star of the game, with Coyotee’s Cameron Welch taking the top honour after a four-point game.
“I can’t say enough about Frazer Dodd,” said Hladun. “Frazer could’ve had six, like, he was all over it. He was on fire that game.”
Cameron Lockard continues quarterbacking the power play, with assists on two of Dodd’s goals.
The emergence of rookie Julien Dewey is apparent, breaking out of the gate with two goals and an assist for a three-point game leaving him shy of reaching his first 20-point season with his first campaign in 100 Mile House.
With four of the Wranglers goals coming from the power play, the team achieved a 50 per cent success rate. Their total average power play success percent is 17.24 percent with 25 scored. The numbers might not look impressive but their total goals scored lead the league with 114. The next team is the Castlegar Rebels with 110.
Osoyoos has the second-best power play in the league, sitting at 24.28 per cent. They showed how lethal they really were on the power play, scoring four of their five goals against the Wranglers in five efforts.
Even though the Wranglers were only in the penalty box five times against the Coyotes, they still had plenty of time for the penalty box, racking up 33 minutes but were bested in this pursuit by a rowdy opponent who found themselves in the box for 44 minutes, including two 10-minute-misconduct penalties for fighting (Mackenzie Benn-Wipp took on Levi Holz) and a bench misconduct, which happened after Frazer Dodd scored his third goal of the game.
The Wranglers return home on Dec. 2 where they will be looking to get revenge on Revelstoke. Chase Heat, who are second in the division, will also be visiting on Dec. 6.
“There’s a good chance we’ll be playing them in the playoffs,” said Hladun about Revelstoke. “That’s two teams who don’t like each other and every game we play there’s a little more passion about who’s better so I think the home game on Saturday will be pretty intense.”
Hladun and the Wranglers would also like to encourage people who have witnessed vandalism towards players’ vehicles multiple times to talk to the police.