Special to The Record
The 100 Mile House Wranglers declawed the Victoria Cougars 5-4 in the Cyclone Taylor Cup gold-medal game on April 10 at Archie Browning Sports Centre in Esquimalt and are now the British Columbia Junior B hockey champions.
Wranglers’ coach Dale Hladun (who coached the Comox Valley Glacier Kings in the early 2000s) once said, “I might write the script, but it’s the boys who make it exciting.”
And that it was.
The Cougars entered the Sunday afternoon championship game with a 3-0 round-robin record, including a 4-2 victory over the Wranglers in Round 1, and were considered the top seed at the tournament.
The Wranglers entered the game for all of the marbles with their trademark bang-and-bash, grind-the-opponent-down attitude.
Nick McCabe, who has been having a tremendous playoff run, opened the scoring with an unassisted goal at 14:10 of the first period.
Cougar Dom Kolbeins, who was named the second star of the game, got the equalizer at 11:04 of the second stanza, with Nathan Looysen and Cody Hodges getting the assists.
Then Wrangler Brett Harris, who was named the first star of the game, notched the 2-1 goal at 1:06 of the second. Assists went to Tyler Povelofskie and Jaydon Gilding.
The third period saw the game open up big time.
Ryan Friesen (Povelofskie, Harris) gave the Wranglers the 3-1 lead 55 seconds into the final frame with a power-play marker.
At 14:02, Harris found the back of the net with on unassisted goal to increase the lead to 4-1.
Then the Cougars knotted the score with three unanswered goals by John Kretzschmar (Jordan Passmore), Passmore (Nico Somerville, Ryan Carson) and Kolbeins (Bryton Beattie).
With Passmore off for making head contact with just under two minutes to play, Justin Bond (Harris) found the back of the net on the ensuing power play.
The provincial championship-winning goal came with 54.3 seconds left on the clock.
The Wranglers, in just their third year of existence, have earned a berth in the Keystone Cup in Regina, Sask. on April 14-17.
They will be going up against the other Junior B champions from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario.
Wranglers’ goalie Zane Steeves (2-1, 2.68 GAA, ..928 save percentage) was named tournament MVP. Steeves made 49 saves in a 2-1 win over the Mission City Outlaws on Friday. 100 Mile House started the tournament with a 4-2 loss Thursday to Victoria, the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League champions.
On Saturday, the Wranglers defeated defending Cyclone Taylor Cup champions Campbell River Storm 4-3.
ICE CHIPS The Wranglers won the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League title March 31, beating the Kimberley Dynamiters in a five-game series … 100 Mile House also won the 52-game regular season title with a 33-12-3-4 record … after going winless in round-robin play, the Storm defeated the Outlaws (PJHL) 8-4 earlier on April 10 in the bronze medal game …