Blackfalds Wranglers look to step up their game

The Blackfalds Wranglers have been struggling to put the puck in the net this season.

The Blackfalds Wranglers have been struggling to put the puck in the net this season.

After a string of injuries that saw them lose several of their top scorers, the Wranglers have been caught in limbo in regards to their scoring.

“We’re just not scoring goals, bottom line,” said Head Coach Sean Neumeier after a 4-1 loss to the Mountain View Colts in Blackfalds on Tuesday night.

After a fairly strong start to the season that saw them defeat the Airdrie Thunder (17-6-1) 8-1 in their season opener, the Wranglers have had just an 8-9-3 record, not exactly reminiscent of the team that went all the way to the league final last season.

“You can’t win if you score one goal, that sums it up. Our power play is 0-100 it feels like. I don’t know the last time we scored a power play goal, it was probably three or four games ago. It makes a big difference,” Neumeier said.

In fact, the last time Blackfalds scored on the power play was on Dec. 2nd against Ponoka. Since then, Blackfalds has not scored on the power play, including a not too great 0-11 performance in Strathmore last Saturday night.

Blackfalds is currently tied with Three Hills for the lowest goal differential in the league for teams with winning records at just plus-nine.

Neumeier said that offense will come with time. “It’ll come. We’re playing with three lines, we’re playing short, we’re playing hurt. Christmas can’t come fast enough.

“Once Christmas comes and we get two weeks to rest and recoup, well, we’ll see where we’re at. It’s hard to address where you’re at when we don’t have a clue.”

After this week’s losses, the team falls to just a .500 win percentage.

But the season isn’t without its bright spots.

Veteran forwards Bryce Boguski, Wally Samson and Andrew McLennan are all scoring at a point per game pace, which for a team that is struggling offensively is huge. The team has also been competitive in games.

Tuesday night’s game was a good example, as Blackfalds not only kept pace with the HJHL North division leading Colts, they out shot them 32-30.

“We played the top team in the league and we were right with them. Shorthanded. So you can’t tell me that we’re not right there,” Neumeier said.

Realistically, Blackfalds is still in a good position to challenge for a playoff spot. They’re sitting in the fifth and final playoff spot in their division and with Stettler (6-16-2) and Ponoka (6-15-1) floundering at the bottom of the league, it’s unlikely the Wranglers will miss the playoffs.

“All you have to do in this league is make the playoffs. Everybody’s so close. Anybody can beat anybody this year so you make the playoffs you’ve got a 50-50 chance to win the league,” Neumeier said.

The team’s goaltending has also been solid.

The tandem of Nicolas Herrebrugh and Klay Munro have posted save percentages of .897 and .902 respectively.

“They’ve been doing their jobs. They’ve got good numbers but it’s the wins and losses that we need,” Neumeier said, adding it’s tough for a goalie to win games without offensive support.

“There’s not much you can say when you’re only scoring one goal. It’s not their fault. They can’t score goals too, so until we put up four or five it’s never their fault.”

Saturday night’s game against Mountain View was one of those games.

The Wranglers out shot the Colts 32-30, putting on a strong showing in the second half of the game, but weren’t able to beat Colts’ goaltender Jake Carlson. Many of their shots in the third period in particular were not high quality scoring chances.

On the other end of the ice, Blackfalds goalie Munro held his own, but the Colts’ offense is one of those that is just so explosive that you really have to out-score them rather than hope to contain them.

While the answer for the Wranglers may not seem clear, Neumeier said the team is just going to ride it out.

“We’re going to get healthy. Eventually we’re going to get healthy. It’s a matter of time. We’ve got five cards so we can add five guys yet too. So we’ve got lots of time to add guys. It’ll help. We need some guys we’re playing shorthanded all the time so we’re looking and we’re trying to get healthy.”

Neumeier added a couple of the team’s offensive threats are close to being ready.

“We’re close. We’ve got guys that are getting really close to coming back.”

Next up for the Wranglers is a Saturday night showdown against the third place Red Deer Vipers. That game kicks off at 8 p.m. at the Red Deer Arena.


Just Posted

Lacombe Generals punch their ticket to Allan Cup

6-1 win over Stony Plain finishes off series in 5 games

Town of Blackfalds looking into new seniors housing project

Community consultation will begin March 28th

Lacombe Chamber announces annual scholarship

Up to two recipients will receive $1,250 towards their post-secondary education

POLL: Should Canada do more to alleviate the global refugee crisis?

Currently there are over 25 million refugees worldwide.

Generals look to finish off Eagles Wednesday night

Lacombe currently leads Stony Plain 3-1 in best-of-seven

WATCH: AFSC unveils new CEO

Steve Blakely comes to AFSC after a 40 year career in the finance sector

Liberals awarded $100,000 contract to man at centre of Facebook data controversy

Christopher Wylie says his voter-profiling company collected private information from 50 million Facebook users

Starbucks to unveil latest creation: crystal ball frappuccino

The limited-edition drink will be available starting March 22

Two arrested in Leduc County after Thorsby RCMP drive by rural break-in in progress

Thorsby RCMP prevent break and enter, find other stolen property

Three-car pile-up on Northstar Drive and 58th Street

No injuries reported at Thursday afternoon incident

Liberals tried pilot project with Facebook data whistleblower in 2016: source

Cambridge Analytica has been accused of improperly using information from more than 50 million Facebook accounts

No opting out: Canadians to get emergency alerts on their phones soon

Canada’s wireless providers are preparing for a looming update to the National Public Alerting System

Just For Laughs sold to Howie Mandel

Just For Laughs sold to Howie Mandel and U.S. company ICM Partners

Texas bombing suspect blows himself up as SWAT moves in

The suspect in a spate of bombing attacks that have terrorized Austin over the past month blew himself up with an explosive device as authorities closed in

Most Read