Wranglers drop game against Generals
Blackfalds Wranglers forward Landon Siegle tries to keep the puck away from Cochrane Generals defenceman Will Gretton during Heritage Junior B action at the Blackfalds Multi-plex Arena on Friday night. The Wranglers fell 6-4 to the Generals. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)
The Blackfalds Wranglers might have got a little too cocky sitting atop the Heritage Junior Hockey League’s north division.
Up 4-1 heading into the third period against the Cochrane Generals on Friday night, they lost their composure, gave up five unanswered goals, and then dropped the game 6-4.
“It was one of those games where we weren’t mentally prepared. We were doing a lot of bickering on the bench, which we haven’t seen all year,” said Wranglers Assistant Coach Brian Lenz.
“I’m saying too much winning and not enough losing – we just got complacent.”
Tyler Bell opened the scoring for the Wranglers less than two minutes into the game on a pass from Ryan Chambers. Four minutes later, Braden Olsen scored unassisted to give the Wranglers a 2-0 lead, before Talus Hume brought the Generals within one.
In the second period, Ryan Chambers put the Wranglers up 4-2 on two power play goals. However, with just 38 seconds left in the period, Landon Siegle was sandwiched between two Generals players in an open-ice hit in front of the player boxes that set off his teammate, Zane Bennett. Bennett went after the players, and was slapped with an instigating minor, fighting major and a game misconduct. No penalty was assessed to the Generals.
Head Coach Sean Neumeier had some choice words for officials following the play which put his team on a long, seven-minute penalty kill. He was unavailable for interview postgame.
“We got mad and attacked their bench,” said Lenz. “I don’t totally agree with the call, but you can’t ref the game and we told our guys that.
“I don’t care how the ref is – you’ve got to keep playing. You can’t lose focus over something like that. That was the kind of the turning point when we were going crazy in the head.”
In the seven minute penalty kill, the Wranglers allowed just one goal, but the Generals knew they’d gotten to the Wranglers mentally and scored three goals in the span of six minutes to take the lead. An empty net goal with 23 seconds left sealed the deal, and the Wranglers fell to 10-3 on the season.
Lenz wasn’t exactly sure why the team was arguing with each other, but he hopes they learn from it.
“You can’t argue and complain about everything and win hockey games. I’ve been around for a long time and it just doesn’t happen that way,” he said. “For some reason tonight we did that. Hopefully we learn from it.”
The Wranglers have now slipped to second in their division – just one point ahead of third-placed Mountainview Colts, and two back from the Airdrie Thunder. They have two games in hand on both teams.
The Blackfalds Wranglers will look to regain camaraderie and cohesion as they hit the road to face the Three Hills Thrashers on Friday, Nov. 17. They will return home Sunday, Nov. 19 to host the High River Flyers. Puck drop is 3:30 p.m. at the Blackfalds Multi-plex Arena.
The Cochrane Generals were one for five on the power play, while the Wranglers were two for five.... Shots on goal were 46-28 for the Cochrane Generals....Wrangler Zane Bennett racked up a total of 19 minutes in penalties to lead all players on the ice...Landon Siegle is currently sixth league scoring with 26 points, including 14 goals and 12 assists.