Morinville Kings double up on Blackfalds Wranglers

Justin Moltzahn of the Blackfalds Wranglers keeps Kyle Harris of the Morinville Kings away from goaltender Adam Gingras during NCHL action at the Blackfalds Multi-plex Arena on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

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The Blackfalds Senior Wranglers weren’t able to find their bounce-back victory this weekend.

After coming up short against the Devon Barons 5-4 in overtime Friday, the team was defeated 6-3 at the hands of the North Central Hockey League-leading Morinville Kings Sunday at the Blackfalds Multi-plex Arena.

Wranglers Assistant Coach Brian Lenz says they didn’t quite have the same energy they did Friday night, which saw the team fall flat for about five minutes in the third.

“In the third period up in Devon, everybody skated – we’re a fast hockey team. We just didn’t seem to have enough life tonight to really push like we did up there,” he said. “We outshot Devon 19-6 and scored three goals. I thought we’d come back and do that tonight, but we just didn’t look like the same team.”

In the first 10 minutes of play, the Wranglers had been outshot 10-3, but goaltender Adam Gingras stood on his head to keep the team in the game, and by the end of the period, shots were 14-8 in favour of the Kings.

The Kings’ Jordan Denesuik, however, would shovel a puck past Gingras early in the second to open the scoring. Adam Wilson added another through traffic midway through the frame to put the Wranglers down 2-0.

About three minutes later, Ian Kirk brought the Wranglers within one, beating netminder Chase Mudryk on his right side. However, with 52 seconds left in the period, Denesuik would score his second of the game to make it 3-1 – a goal Mudryk would even get an assist on.

Chris Couper of the Blackfalds Wranglers and Zach Eastcott of the Morinville Kings battle for the puck during NCHL action at the Blackfalds Multi-plex Arena on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

“That’s been a bit of our problem all year – we gave up one in Daysland with 0.6 seconds left in the first period, the other night in Devon the same thing,” said Lenz. “We need to get away from that last minute – it’s always a problem for us and I don’t know why.”

Late momentum in the second propelled the Kings in the third, with Mikey Mantello and Kyle Harris scoring early, followed by a power play marker by Jordan Pelletier with 9:28 left to go.

While Michael Mcadam would score for the Wranglers with 5:24 left in the period, and Kirk would score his second of the game with 1:48 left, it wouldn’t be enough to come back, and the team fell to 4-6-0-1 on the season.

“We played well. (Morinville) is a good hockey team, no doubt about it. We stayed with them – take that five minutes out of the game and she’s probably a 4-3 game,” Lenz said.

The Wranglers will have one last game before the Christmas break on Dec. 21 when they’ll face the Lacombe AA Generals in Lacombe at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex. Puck drop is at 8 p.m.

As for what it will take to get back into the win column against Lacombe?

“We need to try and play a full 60 minutes,” he said.

The Wranglers will be back in action with a road trip in the new year, facing the Bonnyville Sr. Pontiacs Jan. 4, and the Fort Saskatchewan Chief Jan. 5.

On Sunday, Jan. 12, they will host the Daysland Northstars at the Bentley Arena. Puck drop is at 2:30 p.m.

Eric Moltzahn of the Blackfalds Wranglers goes to make a pass while pursued by Kyle Plett of the Morinville Kings during NCHL action at the Blackfalds Multi-plex Arena on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

Nate Higgins of the Blackfalds Wranglers and Zach Eastcott of the Morinville Kings chase after the puck during NCHL action at the Blackfalds Multi-plex Arena on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

Kyran Karol and Taylor Lashyn of the Morinville Kings chase after the puck behind the net during NCHL action at the Blackfalds Multi-plex Arena on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

Blackfalds Wrangler goaltender Adam Gingras gets into position to make a save against Morinville King Zach Eastcott during NCHL action at the Blackfalds Multi-plex Arena on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

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