Calgary Wranglers fight back literally and figuratively to win 4-2 in season opener
Photo credit:Jonathan Kozub and Darcy Finley/Manitoba Moose
1 month ago
Wranglers hockey is back and while we have a couple of weeks of waiting to do before we see them at the Scotiabank Saddledome, they still have some road action to fill up the bulk of the month. Calgary’s AHL team kicked off their 2023-24 season in Winnipeg, MB against the Manitoba Moose. Their summer break showed itself a little bit in the opening half of the first period but by the end of the game, the Wranglers battled all the way back from a 2-0 deficit and picked up a 4-2 win in their season opener.
Connor Zary – Cole Schwindt – Martin Pospisil
Lucas Ciona – Clark Bishop – Adam Klapka
Emilio Pettersen – Ben Jones – Mitch McLain
Alex Gallant – Brett Sutter – William Stromgren
Ilya Solovyov – Nick DeSimone
Jeremie Poirier – Colton Poolman
Yan Kuznetsov – Brady Lyle
Game at a glance
The Wranglers soaked up the opening night festivities that included the typical spotlighted introduction of the home team. They played in front of an away crowd of 3,888 and that crowd seemed to give their opponents an early jump on Calgary.
On just the second shot of the game, Dustin Wolf was beaten on an unfortunate bounce when the puck was cleared into the zone and deflected under him and into the back of the net. This goal was scored by Nikita Chibrikov and came just 1:07 into the game.
After this goal, there still wasn’t much action coming from the guys with the big Ws on their chests. Cole Schwindt was called on an early penalty that the team killed off then it was followed up by a roughing call against Mitch McLain that resulted in a Moose power play goal. This second goal came 7:40 into the game and was scored by Brad Lambert.
One Wrangler in particular thought enough was enough and took matters into his own hands. Alex Gallant dropped his gloves off the next draw at center ice and took on Jeffrey Viel for one of his signature heavyweight tilts. It did not disappoint either.
At this point in the game, the Wranglers hadn’t put up a single shot on goal and if Gallant couldn’t score to put them right back in the game, chucking the knuckles seemed to do the trick. The Wranglers snapped into things slightly better to finish the first period but did not make it on the board. After 20 minutes, they trailed the Moose 2-0 and were outshot 13-5.
They kept their opponents at bay in the second and slowly improved to a point where they could get themselves back into this game. 14:09 into the period, Jeremie Poirier scored the first goal of the season (just like last year), and cut Manitoba’s lead in half. Poirier’s first of the year was scored on a well-placed shot through traffic and was assisted by Colton Poolman and Connor Zary.
It looked as if the 2-1 score would remain through two complete periods, but Cole Schwindt upset that expectation. With the Moose being called for a too-many-men bench minor, Schwindt took the opportunity to score on the power play with just five seconds to go in the period. This tied this game up at two aside. Martin Pospisil and Jeremie Poirier picked up the helpers on this tying goal.
A better second period for the Wranglers put them back in the game and outshooting their opponents 9-8 in that frame. In the third, Calgary continued to roll the offence and earn themselves some breathing room. Adam Klapka scored his first of the season early in the third just 3:23 in. William Stromgren and Ben Jones picked up the assists on goal number three of the night.
About three minutes later, newly named Alternate Captain, Clark Bishop also joined in on the scoring for goal number four for the away team when he chipped in a rebound. The assists were awarded to two players on a multi-point night, Adam Klapka and Jeremie Poirier.
While the Moose had some time on their side to try and get some goals back, they were unsuccessful in their efforts. Dustin Wolf took advantage of the scoring safety net his team provided him with and didn’t let another puck past him. Despite being outshot 9-7 in the third period, the Wranglers held their 4-2 lead all the way to the last buzzer.
Shots finished 30-21 for the Moose and two Wranglers cracked the three stars of the night. Jeremie Poirier was awarded first star for his three-point night and Adam Klapka was awarded second star of the night for his two-point night.
The Wranglers will stay in Manitoba for the weekend and take on the Moose for their second game of the series on Sunday afternoon. The rematch will take place at 1:00 p.m. MT and will still be included in AHL.tv’s free preview weekend.
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