Photo by JOSH ALDRICH/Advocate staff -- for Josh's story -- Blackfalds Wranglers defenceman Jordan Jakubow is hit by Cochrane Generals defenceman Austin Keller as he takes a shot at the Blackfalds Multiplex on Sunday

Photo by JOSH ALDRICH/Advocate staff -- for Josh's story -- Blackfalds Wranglers defenceman Jordan Jakubow is hit by Cochrane Generals defenceman Austin Keller as he takes a shot at the Blackfalds Multiplex on Sunday

Wranglers look for title sweep

At 21-0-2 the Blackfalds Wranglers are almost perfect this Heritage Jr. B Hockey League season. The ‘almost’ part, however, is what keeps driving the coaching staff. The good and the bad was on display during their 5-3 win over the Cochrane Generals (14-5-3) on Sunday afternoon in Blackfalds.

BLACKFALDS — At 21-0-2 the Blackfalds Wranglers are almost perfect this Heritage Jr. B Hockey League season.

The ‘almost’ part, however, is what keeps driving the coaching staff.

The good and the bad was on display during their 5-3 win over the Cochrane Generals (14-5-3) on Sunday afternoon in Blackfalds.

“There’s a lot of areas we can still clean up, that’s the scary part,” said Wranglers coach Sean Neumeier, noting their defensive play in particular. “To say we’ve went out and played a 60 minute game yet is a stretch too. We haven’t peaked yet.”

Bryce Marshall, Jesse Fletcher, Bryce Boguski, Robin Carlson and Jordy Potter all scored for Red Deer while Thomas Isaman made 16 saves for the win.

Cochrane replied with goals from Colby Chartier, Austin Keller and Chad Harrison while Garrett Iverson let in four goals on 18 shots before getting replaced at 6:10 of the second period by McKenzie Chalmers, who allowed one goal on 24 shots the rest of the way.

The Wranglers built a 3-0 lead and took a 3-1 lead into the second period. 6:10 into the frame they made 4-1 but the Generals fought their way back into the game, scoring at 10:58 to cut the lead to two goals.

Harrison made the score 4-3 at 4:31 of the third period, but Potter re-gained the Wranglers’ lead at 9:03. Cochrane appeared to score again 21 seconds later, but the goal was waved off on a slashing penalty by the Wranglers’ Bryce Marshall, the referee ruling Blackfalds had played the puck before the Generals could pop the rebound home.

Cochrane never really came close again.

It was their season in a microcosm, they managed to outscore their mistakes.

“We have to hold ourselves to a higher standard if we’re going to have the success we’ve been having,” said Neumeier. “There’s moments where it looks like they take it a little easy but we’ve got to try an control it the best we can.”

Scoring is not an issue at all for the Wranglers.

They are led by Carlson, 20, who has a league-high 61 points (27 goals, 34 assists) in 23 games, but their next four leading scorers are also in the HJHL’s top 10 — Garrett Glasman (21-29-50) is fourth, Wally Samson (22-21-43) is sixth, Trent Hermary (19-20-39) is ninth and defenceman Bryce Marshall (9-28-37) is 10th.

“Last year we had two lines that did the goal scoring, this year we’ve had more of a contribution from all four lines and our forecheck has been unbelievable, we just hem them in and get shot after shot,” said Carlson, the team’s captain.

They are nine deep on the blue-line, meaning they will have some decisions to make with the Jan. 10 trade deadline looms. But that could be a good thing, encouraging better play in their own end, not just by their defencemen but by the entire group.

The goaltending tandem of Isaman and Kyle Baumgardner has managed to cover up for a lot of mistakes this season.

Heading into Sunday’s game, Isaman (10-0-2) had the league’s bet goals against average (2.30) and it’s best save percentage (0.929), but Baumgardner has been no slouch, sitting No. 3 in the HJHL with a 2.60 G.A.A. and sixth in save percentage, 0.916.

“We have two really good goalies that bail us out nightly,” said Neumeier. “There are games like against Mountain View, where we easily could have been down 5-2 but end up winning 6-1, it was two full periods before we got our crap together and if we don’t have (goaltending) it’s a different story.”

Driving them this year was last season’s success and ultimately their short comings.

The won their division, but lost the best-of-five league final to the Okotoks Bisons 3-2. Blackfalds went on to win provincials, but then settled for bronze at the Keystone Cup, the Western Canadian Championship, in Abbotsford.

The goal this year is to win all three titles.

“We have the experience, we know what we’ve got to do,” said Carlson. “The big thing we’ve got to do now is work on our D-zone and work our way out, that’s how we played so well last year, we just shut them down and then took it to them in the other zone.

“(Bronze) is not acceptable this year … We feel like we should have been in that final game. We want to be there this year.”

l The Wranglers beat the Three Hills Thrashers 13-5 in Trochu on Saturday, getting two goals and three assists from Glasman and two goals and an assist from Samson and Andrew McLennan. Jakubow, Hermary, Marshall, Boguski, Carlson and Jesse Fischer each scored once for Blackfalds while Baumgardner made 38 saves for the win.

Michael Stoetzel led the Thrashers (14-11-1) with two goals while Cody Keith, Spencer Fournier and Luke Scheunert each scored once.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced updated health measures Monday which are now in place for retail, hotels and community halls, performance groups, and youth sports as part of Step 2 of Alberta’s reopening plan. (File photo by Government of Alberta)
COVID restrictions for retail, sports and performers further eased

Occupancy in stores and malls boosted to 25 per cent from 15 per cent

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Active COVID cases in Red Deer continue to decline

249 cases in Red Deer, down from 565 peak on Feb. 22

(File photo)
Five Olds College students semi-finalists in marketing pitch competition

Winner of Second Annual UFA Student Pitch Competition to be announced April 13

Nordegg residents, including retired fisheries biologist Vance Buchwald, are concerned this kind of coal mining could start up in the wilderness area. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mead Gruver, File).
Biologist urges Clearwater County to take a stand against Nordegg coal mining

Vance Buchwald said there’s no future in coal, the county should back eco-tourism

Quentin Lee Strawberry Photo from RCMP
Updated: Bleeding man came to door frantically calling for 911 help, neighbour testifies in murder trial

Quentin Strawberry on trial for second-degree murder accused of killing Joseph Gallant in 2019

Ben King scores for the Red Deer Rebels during the third period of a Western Hockey League game against the Calgary Hitmen at the Westerner Park Centrium Saturday. (Photo by Rob Wallator/Red Deer Rebels)
Rebels complete comeback to pick up first win of season

Rebels 3 Hitmen 2 (OT) The Red Deer Rebels were able to… Continue reading

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland holds a media availability in Ottawa on November 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Liberals told to think beyond child care in work to craft ‘shecession’ recovery plan

Liberals told to think beyond child care in work to craft ‘shecession’ recovery plan

A helicopter passes over excavation equipment at the Mary River exploration camp, the site of a proposed expansion to an iron mine on northern Baffin Island, on August 17, 2006. The board of the organization that represents Inuit in Nunavut's Baffin Island region says it does not support the proposed expansionnear Pond Inlet. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Vinne Karetak
Inuit group’s board says no to proposed expansion of Nunavut iron ore mine

Inuit group’s board says no to proposed expansion of Nunavut iron ore mine

A street sign along Bay Street in Toronto's financial district is shown on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Royal Bank replaces Shopify as most valuable company as TSX hits intraday high

Royal Bank replaces Shopify as most valuable company as TSX hits intraday high

Rail cars wait for pickup in Winnipeg, Sunday, March 23, 2014. The fierce debate over cross-border pipelines is putting more Canadian oil and gas on trains destined for the United States — a country experts fear is ill-equipped for the potential consequences. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
As debate rages over cross-border pipelines, U.S. analysts brace for more oil by rail

As debate rages over cross-border pipelines, U.S. analysts brace for more oil by rail

As spring nears, houseplants feel it too and can get unruly

As spring nears, houseplants feel it too and can get unruly

A couple walks past a vandalized mural depicting world's first woman cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova in Madrid, Spain, Monday, March 8, 2021. At least two street murals celebrating accomplished women in politics, arts and science have appeared covered in black paint over the weekend. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Defying pandemic, feminists in Spain decry far-right attacks

Defying pandemic, feminists in Spain decry far-right attacks

Demonstrators march through downtown Minneapolis following protests near the Hennepin County Government Center, Monday, March 8, 2021, in Minneapolis where the trial for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin began with jury selection. Chauvin is charged with murder in the death of George Floyd during an arrest last May in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Fiery chants for justice from marchers at Chauvin trial

Fiery chants for justice from marchers at Chauvin trial

This image provided by The Alexandria (Va.) Sheriff's Office shows Jacob Chansley. A judge ordered corrections authorities to provide organic food to the Arizona man who is accused of participating in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol while sporting face paint, no shirt and a furry hat with horns. He was moved from the Washington jail to the Virginia facility. (Alexandria Sheriff's Office via AP)
Arizona man who wore horns in Capitol riot to remain jailed

Arizona man who wore horns in Capitol riot to remain jailed

Most Read