(l-r) Sylvan Lake Wranglers Captain Dayton Playford, alumni Kurtis Ross, Wranglers General Manager Mathew Torgerson, Mayor Sean McIntyre and Red Deer Vipers Captain Justin Paarup participate in a ceremonial puck drop before the home opener on Sept. 22. Photo Courtesy of the Sylvan Lake Wranglers.

Sylvan Lake Wranglers fall 0-2 in opening weekend

The Wranglers are looking to lasso some wins on upcoming road stretch

The Sylvan Lake Wranglers came out on the bottom of opening weekend.

The Wranglers played back-to-back games against the Red Deer Vipers to kick off the 2019/2020 Heritage Junior Hockey League season.

The inaugural season as a Sylvan Lake team started on the road with a 3-2 loss to the Vipers on Sept. 21, and the Wranglers came back to the NexSource Centre the next night seeking revenge in the home opener.

With the final score being 2-0 in the Vipers’ favour the Wranglers came out of opening weekend 0-2 in regular season.

“They don’t give championships away in September, so I’m not too concerned about losing a couple of games this weekend,” said Head Coach Pat Garritty.

He said starting out the season with consecutive games against Red Deer was a “tough task,” but the weekend showed the Wranglers can skate with a quality team like the Vipers and “that’s a really positive sign.”

Garritty says he’s more concerned with how the team played.

“I feel that we played well enough in both games to win either game, but that’s how tight this league is,” he explained, “… we’re doing all the things necessary to win games, we just haven’t got the result yet.”

With that said, being 0-2 is not a position they want to be in, added Garritty, who said they have to turn it around and get wins as soon as they can.

The Wranglers are going to focus on producing offence and manufacturing goals going forward in the season.

Sylvan Lake is heading out on a road stretch starting Sept. 27 against the reigning provincial champions, the Airdrie Thunder, followed by trips to Okotoks, Didsbury and Rocky Mountain House.

“Winning on the road in this league is tough, each one of these rinks are hard to play in [and] these teams are all good,” said Garritty. “We’re going to have to bring that same level of intensity and we just maybe add a little bit more in the execution part and we should be fine.”

He says the team’s roster is made up of a core group of returning players and new kids resulting in good depth in all positions.

The team is excited to be in Sylvan Lake, excited to be playing out of the NexSource Centre and can’t wait for good things to come.

The Sylvan Lake Wranglers return to home ice on Oct. 18.

“It’s almost a month, but hopefully we can go out and put some wins together and when we come back in we’re in a position that they can see that they’re going to be one of the top teams in the league, at least that’s our goal,” said Garritty.

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Eckville’s Austin Kalev lines up to take a face off against a rival Viper in the NexSource Centre on Sept. 22. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News

Zachary Daniels dives to block a shot on net during the second period of the Wranglers home opener at the NexSource Centre. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News

No. 5 Jackson Rider gets in a scrap with Vipers’ Keenan Smith in the final frame of the Sunday night matchup. Photo Courtesy of the Sylvan Lake Wranglers.

Beaudon Rider speeds towards the Vipers net with the puck during the first frame of the Wranglers’ home opener. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News

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