MOVING AHEAD - The Blackfalds Wranglers have been busy over the past month gearing up for a new Heritage Junior Hockey League season. Pictured here is a game from last season when the Wranglers took on the Red Deer Vipers in February.

Blackfalds Wranglers start season off strong

The Wranglers moved to 1-0 in the season thanks to a big 8-2 win over the Thunder on Sunday at the Blackfalds Arena.

The Blackfalds Wranglers earned themselves a big win during their home opener against the Airdrie Thunder last weekend.

The Wranglers moved to 1-0 in the season thanks to a big 8-2 win over the Thunder on Sunday at the Blackfalds Arena.

“It wasn’t maybe an 8-2 game but it ended 8-2 so we’ll take it,” said Head Coach Sean Neumeier after the game. According to Neumeier, the game was a lot closer than the score would suggest.

“Their goalie had a tough night that game.”

The game started out strong thanks to a power play goal by third-year forward Garrett Glasman at the 4:52 mark of the first period. The Wranglers followed that up with goals from Andrew McLennan, Toran Corbier, and a power play marker by Wally Samson to jump to a 4-0 lead at the end of the first, despite being outshot by the Thunder 10-9 in the period.

“We forechecked really well actually. We put a lot of pressure on their D, which forced turnovers which we were able to take advantage of,” said Neumeier.

The second period was the same story for the most part. Bryce Boguski picked up the first of two goals on the night thanks to assists from Bryce Marshall and McLennan. Then, at 19:02, Samson scored his second of the evening on a pass from Glasman to give his team a commanding 6-0 lead. Airdrie, however, answered back just 40 seconds later thanks to a goal by Dylan Mccuaig, breaking a potential shutout by Blackfalds goaltender Klay Munro. Munro stopped 33 of the 35 shots he faced.

The second period ended with the score at 6-1 for Blackfalds, despite the fact they were outshot by Airdrie 25-17 in the first two periods.

“Like I said 8-2 doesn’t really tell the tale of that game. They’re a pretty good team. Klay Munro played really well and we scored on the chances that they gave us,” Neumeier said.

The Wranglers added two more goals in the third thanks to Boguski’s second and Samson’s third. Airdrie managed to solve Munro only once more with a goal by Carter Hill at the 15 minute mark of the period.

When asked what he thought the team could improve upon, Neumeier said they need to work on their defensive play.

“Our D-zone is going to be a work in progress,” he said, adding that because it’s the beginning of the year, it may take some time for the defense to settle in.

The Wranglers are now preparing for next weekend’s challenges, including games against the Cochrane Generals and the Strathmore Wheatland Kings.

“We’ve just got to keep things simple,” Neumeier said. He added he thinks the team has a pretty good chance of winning.

“If we make an effort we should be able to walk out of there with points on the board for sure.”

The coach noted, however, the season is going to be a competitive one. The Wranglers are going into this campaign with the goal of a provincial title, which they’ll need to win the league to compete for. And, to make things harder, they’ll have to do it without the talents of two of their best players. Robin Carlson, who led the league in scoring last year, is out with an injury and Glasman is out after breaking his leg earlier this week.

“We lost two thirds of our top line at the beginning of the year. Everyone’s got to step up now and one way or the other take care of business until these guys get healthy.”


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