ONE-TIMER - From left

ONE-TIMER - From left

Blackfalds Wranglers win first game in series

The Blackfalds Wranglers’ power play units took centre stage Tuesday night, as the Heritage Junior Hockey League playoffs got underway.

By Zachary Cormier

The Blackfalds Wranglers’ power play units took centre stage in Blackfalds Tuesday night, as the Heritage Junior Hockey League playoffs got underway.

The Wranglers kicked off the 2016 HJHL post season with a huge win on Tuesday when they hosted the Three Hills Thrashers at the Blackfalds Multiplex for the first game in a best of three series.

“That’s playoffs. That’s the way it goes,” said Wranglers’ Head Coach Sean Neumeier after his team claimed a marathon 4-3 win in double overtime. With the win, the Wranglers take a 1-0 lead in the series.

It was a close game, though it started quite slow for the Wranglers.

Blackfalds got the game off to a good start when defenseman Brock Boguski ripped a power play goal past Three Hills’ goaltender Greg Pols to give his team a 1-0 lead 10 minutes into the first period.

After that, though, the home team’s defense seemed to fall apart.

It took less than two minutes for Three Hills to tie the game up when Damien Chopek shovelled the puck past Blackfalds’ goaltender Klay Munro. Just five minutes after that, the Wranglers found themselves trailing by a goal when Rylan Plante-Crough chalked up a power play marker for the Thrashers on a rebound.

“Our first period was very bad,” Neumeier said, adding their play in the second and third periods was much stronger.

The opening frame ended with the Wranglers trailing the Thrashers 2-1.

Despite the slow start, the Wranglers would not go down easy and came out flying in the second period.

They out-shot the Thrashers 27-21 in the second and third periods and eventually managed to tie it up a 6:59 of the second when Robin Carlson fired a shot past Pols.

Building on the momentum that goal gave them, the Wranglers continued the charge early in the third when Curtis Rangen picked up a gritty goal, pounding home a rebound to give his team a 3-2 lead.

Two minutes later, though, the Thrashers struck back, adding another power play marker on a Tyler Newsham shot. The goal tied the game at three and sent it hurtling into overtime.

“We had a lot of chances in the last 10 minutes of the third and the first overtime too. Greg Pols played really well for them,” Neumeier said.

The first 10 minute overtime period solved nothing, despite a bunch of good chances for both teams. Blackfalds’ penalty kill came up big in the first overtime frame, killing off a controversial tripping penalty that could have spelled the end of the game.

“The special teams have been improving throughout the year,” Neumeier said, adding having a strong offensive presence like Robin Carlson has helped both on the power play and the penalty kill.

The kill was a turning point for the Wranglers that allowed them to press offensively for the rest of the game.

They were playing so well that when Plante-Crough took a tripping penalty 38 seconds into the second OT to put the Wranglers on the power play, the Wrangler’s win was all but assured.

“As soon as that penalty was called, I said to my two assistants, ‘This is it, we got it,’” Neumeier said, adding a big part of his confidence came from how sharp the Wranglers’ power play looked throughout the game.

Sure enough, Andrew McLennan rose to the occasion and banged in the game winner just 58 seconds into the second overtime period.

“I told the guys in the room that it’s going to be a greasy, bang-in, rebound goal. It’s not going to be a fancy one. It’s going to be a hard working goal and Andy banged it home, so it’s perfect.”

With the win, the Wranglers will look to finish off the two game sweep on Friday night in Three Hills. Puck drop is at 8 p.m. at the Three Hills Centennial Arena.

zcormier@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer COVID cases continue to fall

114 cases in Red Deer, down one from Saturday

File Photo
Blackfalds RCMP seeking suspects in traffic collision

RCMP are asking the public for help identifing two suspects wanted for multiple offences

Maskwacis Pride crosswalk (Left to right): Montana First Nation Councillor Reggie Rabbit, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Louise Omeasoo, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Katherine Swampy, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Shannon Buffalo, Samson Cree Nation Chief Vern Saddleback.
Pride in Maskwacis

The 4th inaugural Maskwacis Pride crosswalk painting took place on Saturday 12, 2020.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

Most Read