Wranglers win provincials

The Blackfalds Wranglers didn’t even win the Heritage Junior B Hockey League title, but now they have the opportunity to become the top team in Western Canada.

Wranglers 2 Chiefs 1

LEDUC — The Blackfalds Wranglers didn’t even win the Heritage Junior B Hockey League title, but now they have the opportunity to become the top team in Western Canada.

The Wranglers beat the defending champion Beaumont Chiefs 2-1 on Sunday to win the Alberta junior B crown, in the process punching their ticket to the Keystone Cup Western Canada championship at Sherwood Park April 14-17.

The Wranglers took the long way to provincials — being eliminated twice from league playoffs, first by the Red Deer Vipers in the league quarter-final, but remained alive due to the Heritage Junior B Hockey League playoff format, clawed their way into the final and then lost to the Okotoks Bisons.

But none of that matters now. They won when it counted most on Sunday afternoon.

Kyle Maas and David Jantzie staked the Wranglers to a 2-0 lead heading into the final period where they proceeded to hang on with everything they had. The Chiefs scored one goal late, but when it was all said and done Tanner Schalin had made 36 saves in the Wranglers’ net and had stolen a provincial title — the team’s first since 2007 when they still played in Lacombe.

The Wranglers advanced to the final by winning twice on Saturday — beating host Leduc 4-3 to clinch a playoff spot then topping the North Peace Navigators 6-2 in the semifinal.

Derek Wiedmer potted two goals in the semifinal victory, while singles were contributed Karson French, Maas, Jared Ramstead and Jordan Freake. Schalin made 25 saves for the Wranglers.