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

40-year Big Brother match a gift to Lacombe Man

Andy Pawlyk and his Little Brother Chris Selathamby honoured at BBBS Awards Night

Lacombe Police Service rolls out holiday roadside check stops

Officers with approved screening device can request a breath test from anyone they lawfully stop

UPDATED: Calgary Police receive multiple bomb threats

Similar threats received across Canada and the United States

Town Center removed from Lacombe Southeast Area Structure Plan

Developer of Lacombe Market Square requested ammendment to the plan

Lacombe Amnesty International group writes letters for human rights

Group honours 70th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights

WATCH: CP Holiday Train rolls into Lacombe

Kelly Prescott performed for hundreds of Central Albertans

Stettler man found guilty of illegally trafficking wildlife

Hunting license suspended for three years

RCMP Major Crimes Unit South lay charges in homicide

23-year-old Chelsey Lagrelle of Sunchild First Nation charged with manslaughter

House fire leaves Bentley area family homeless

Family suffers loss, community steps up

EU leaders vow to press on with ‘no-deal’ Brexit plans

European Union leaders have offered Theresa May sympathy but no promises, as the British prime minister seeks a lifeline.

Powerful winds set to hit Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island

The agency says winds in coastal areas will strengthen up to 70 kilometres an hour before the front moves inland and gusts reach 90 kilometres an hour.

Mandatory victim surcharge cruel and unusual punishment, top court rules

Stephen Harper’s Conservative government made the charges mandatory in 2013.

Tourism minister postpones trip to China amid tensions between two countries

Tourism Minister Melanie Joly’s office says Canada and China have mutually agreed to postpone a closing ceremony next week.

Police across Canada probe bomb threats as U.S. authorities dismiss ‘hoax’

A police spokesman said the emails were the same as those received elsewhere in North America

Most Read