Skip to content

Sylvan Lake Wranglers fall in HJHL finals

Second straight appearance
The Sylvan Lake Wranglers lost in their second straight HJHL finals over the weekend. (Photo by Sylvan Lake Wranglers/ Facebook)

The Sylvan Lake Wranglers fell short in pursuing a Heritage Junior B Hockey League (HJHL) championship title.

On Saturday the Wranglers lost the best-of-seven series in Game 6 to the CarStar Okotoks Bisons 1-0 in the HJHL finals.

After a scoreless opening frame, Okotok’s Easton Dean scored the game’s only goal with 14 seconds left in the second period. Bisons’ goaltender Grady Nicholas made 26 saves in the shutout win.

This marks the Bisons’ third straight league championship title and they will now head to compete in the Alberta Junior B Provincial Championship in Peace River from April 3 to 7.

In a battle between the HJHL’s top two seeds, the Wranglers lost Game 1 in Okotoks but they rebounded to tie the series 1-1 after a 4-2 victory in Game 2.

Okotoks answered back with a 5-3 win in Game 3 but Sylvan Lake tied it once again with a 6-1 blowout in Game 4. The Bisons then won two straight in Games 5 and 6 to win the championship.

Last season the Wranglers were swept in the finals by the Bisons but returned a strong team to make another run in the 2023-24 campaign.

The Wranglers claimed their second straight North Division title after finishing the regular season with a 33-3-2 record. They were led offensively by forward Justin Gyori who scored 55 points (20G, 35A) in 37 games. Rookie forward Owen Callow also had a big season notching 51 points (17G, 34A) in 38 games.

After receiving a bye past the first round, the Wranglers swept the Airdrie Techmation Thunder and beat the Medicine Hat Cubs in the semi-finals before returning to the finals.

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
Read more