Wranglers cut down by Copperheads in series championship

Next up for the team is the provincial tournament over the Easter weekend

The two top teams in the Heritage Junior Hockey League, the Blackfalds Wranglers and the Coaldale Copperheads, faced off last week in a championship game that Coaldale ultimately won.


The Copperheads finished the game with a score of 4-1, after a scrappy three periods with intense participation from both teams. Coaldale Head Coach Derek Wiest was proud of his team.


“It’s an unbelievable feeling. These guys battle so hard all year – it’s a much-deserved championship. To beat a team that had such a great record three games in a row –it’s just an unbelievable feeling right now and I can’t express it,” he said.


Tension was palpable in the arena and visible amongst the players. Several fights broke out on the ice, a few penalties were given and some aggressive checking was put forth. Although the Wranglers tried hard to maintain control of the puck, they were thwarted by the Coaldale goalie and intense energy of the Copperheads.


Wiest said the championship title was a lot of work and he truly felt his team deserved to win.


“We always kind of build for the playoffs all season long. We just try to play a simple game, keeping to our structure and our systems, and getting pucks deep. We get on the fore-checking and just battle hard. I thought our guys did a great job of doing that. I’m super happy.”


As the scoreboard buzzer sounded, a rush of cheers and release of energy was felt throughout the arena. The Copperheads threw their gear about the ice in excitement, and were eager to hoist their championship cup.


For the Wranglers, the game had not ended in victory but Coach Sean Neumeler was still proud of the team and said they would re-focus their sights on the upcoming provincial tournament.


“(The Copperheads) are a great team and we knew they were going to be tough. We didn’t play very well the first game against them – they deserved to win that. Down south, they won on their home ice like they’re supposed to,” he said.


“We came back home and we played really well tonight – really well. I think we got burned a bit and their goalie really helped them out. That’s what happens when you can’t score, and it was one of those nights. I was still proud of the guys and how they played. I really was.”


Last year the Wranglers lost the league final to the Okotoks Bisons but were still able to proceed to provincials. Neumeler said although the loss stings, it is nothing to dwell on or seriously worry about because the team still has a bigger picture to focus on – provincials.


“Provincials takes place over Easter weekend. It’s a long tournament so we’ve got to be ready. If you don’t win two of your first three games, you’re out,” he said.


“Those first three games are huge so we’re going to start with those and then if we can, continue. I wouldn’t change a lot from tonight; I just hope that we can get through the net when we get up to Stony Plain.”


The Wranglers finished the regular season with a record of 34 wins, two losses and two ties. They were the top scoring team in the Heritage Junior league with 70 points.






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 drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

The Sylvan Lake Gulls show off the home jerseys (white) and their way jerseys at the Gulls Media Day on June 17, before the season opener. Following the media day, the team took to the field for their first practise. (Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News)
Sylvan Lake Gulls ready to throw first pitch as construction continues

The Gulls inaugural season kicks off June 18 with a game against the Edmonton Prospects

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read