Wranglers round up Lightning
Ryan Chambers of the Blackfalds Wranglers celebrates after scoring the game-winning and series winning goal against the Stettler Lightning Sunday evening at the Blackfalds Multi-plex Arena. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)
It looked like one storm the Blackfalds Wranglers’ second-round hopes wouldn’t make it out of alive.
Down 4-0 with under six minutes left to play, even the general manager admitted to believing the team’s post-season would end in the Heritage Junior B Hockey League qualifying round final against the Stettler Lightning on Sunday.
A goal by Ryan Chambers with 5:08 left in the third, however, marked the start of a comeback that left Stettler, rather than Blackfalds, looking like they’d been struck by lightning.
“We knew we were never out of it,” said Chambers. “We’ve done that before, been down that much and come back and won games. We just used that to our advantage.”
His goal was followed by three quick tallies in the next three minutes.
Brenden Davidson scored on a shot from Garrett Glasman less than 30 seconds later, followed by a power play goal by Landon Siegle and another tally from Austin Wilson to push the game into overtime.
The first overtime period wasn’t enough to finish the game, but at 7:39 of double OT, Chambers sealed the deal, slipping the puck between the pads of Stettler Lightning goaltender Jordan McCallum.
“I saw five-hole the whole way, so I said: ‘I’m going there,’” Chambers said, but gave his opponents credit.
“They played awesome. They were a hard-working team — by far one of the hardest working teams that we playing against. It was a tough series and we’re pumped we came out of it.”
Although the team had been down, however, Wranglers Head Coach Sean Neumeier said his team deserved to win the game, outshooting their opponents 61-29.
“Those guys were throwing everything at McCallum. He was standing on his head for 45 minutes,” Neumeier said. Although his team has shown its resiliency time and time again this season, Sunday’s effort took it to a new level.
“The guys are unreal. I’ve never, never seen that in my life...they never cease to amaze me,” he said. “I always say I’m impressed, but then they one-up me. They’ve got a special group.”
The Wranglers will now head into a best-of-seven, North Division semifinal against the Mountainview Colts, who swept the second-round series last year.
Puck drop is Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. in Didsbury. Further game times and dates have yet to be announced.
Quade Cassidy of the Stettler Lightning led all players on the ice with three points (2G, 1 A) ... Stettler was 3 for 6 on the power play, while Blackfalds was 1 for 4 ... Goaltender Lane Brann made 25 saves for the Wranglers, while opposition netminder Jordan McCallum made 56 ... The other north division qualifying round series between the Ponoka Stampeders and Red Deer Vipers was swept by the Vipers 2-0. The Vipers will now face the Airdrie Techmation Thunder.