The Sylvan Lake Wranglers fell to the league best Okotoks at home on Friday night.
The Wranglers, who hosted the Bisons in their second home game of their inaugural Heritage Junior Hockey League season, slipped to a 6-3 loss on Oct. 18.
“I’m not sure that the score is indicative of the game,” said Wranglers Head Coach Pat Garritty. “I thought both teams had quality chances to score, the difference was they scored on their chances and we didn’t.”
He added his team competed hard, fought for loose pucks and executed well, but unfortunately didn’t get the result they deserved.
Garritty says the Wranglers’ penalty minutes aren’t abnormally high, but they did get bit by them on Friday night as the Bisons scored three power-play goals.
“When you’re playing a team the calibre of Okotoks sometimes you’re going to take a few more penalties because you’re chasing the puck a little bit,” said Garritty, who added the Wranglers’ penalty kill has been very good and is at the top of the league.
He says any good penalty kill is built around hard work, checking and playing without the puck.
“This team works hard and they will compete every night,” commented Garritty. “We have a group that works hard, we just haven’t been rewarded yet.”
Over the weekend the Wranglers also travelled to Medicine Hat on Oct. 19 where they came out with a 5-3 loss.
Garritty says the team was in the game from start to finish as the Cubs scored the winning goal with a little more than a minute left to play.
“There’s a lot of excuses not to play well when you have to travel four and a half [to] five hours to play, but our players played hard and they probably deserved a better fate, but that’s hockey,” Garritty said.
He says the Wranglers have faced a tough schedule so far this season with only two home games, as well as the turn around like they had this past weekend.
“When you’ve got the league’s best team at home on a Friday night and you get home after midnight and you’ve got to be in Medicine Hat the next night to play another good team on the road it’s a tough schedule,” explained Garritty.
The Wranglers have back-to-back home games coming up as they host the Rocky Rams at 8 p.m. on Oct. 26 and then Strathmore on Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Garritty says the Wranglers will be playing as hard as they can as they look to put some home wins together this weekend.
“We know that good things are on the horizon,” he said, adding they have been working hard on some skill sets.
“That’ll come in time and when it does it’s definitely going to give us a better opportunity to win some games.”
Currently the Sylvan Lake Wranglers are sitting sixth in the Northern Division with a record of 2-6.