Calgary Wranglers post-season preview: Round one against the Roadrunners

Photo credit:Angela Burger/Calgary Wranglers
Paige Siewert
1 month ago
The AHL post-season is here and the Calgary Flames organization still has a team to follow along with at this time of the year. Despite the Flames and Rapid City Rush out of the playoff picture, the Wranglers qualified in the final Pacific Division spot as the seventh seed. They are set to face the second seed, the Tucson Roadrunners, in a best of three series that will take place this week.

Playoff rosters

Forwards: Mitch McLain, Brett Sutter, Cole Schwindt, Riley Damiani, Ilya Nikolaev, Lucas Ciona, Ben Jones, Clark Bishop, Alex Gallant, Rory Kerins, David Silye, Parker Bell, Matt Coronato, Jaden Lipinski, Sam Honzek, Adam Klapka, William Stromgren, Sam Morton, Jakob Pelletier
Defencemen: Artem Grushnikov, Hunter Brzustewicz, Jeremie Poirier, Colton Poolman, Ilya Solovyov, Mark Pysyk, Jordan Oesterle, Etienne Morin, Joni Jurmo, Brady Lyle, Yan Kuznetsov, Jonathan Aspirot
Goaltenders: Connor Murphy, Dustin Wolf, Oscar Dansk
Forwards: Dylan Guenther, Nathan Smith, Ryan McGregor, Micah Miller, Milos Kelemen, Ben McCartney, Justin Kirkland, Jan Jenik, Travis Barron, Curtis Douglas, Aku Raty, Hunter Drew, Sam Lipkin, Cameron Hebig, Austin Poganski, John Leonard, Reece Vitelli, Colin Theisen, Conor Geekie, Josh Doan
Defencemen: Peter DiLiberatore, Michael Kesselring, Cameron Crotty, Lleyton Moore, Steven Kampfer, Vladislav Kolyachonok, Max Szuber, Patrik Koch, Victor Soderstrom, Montana Onyebuchi
Goaltenders: Matthew Villalta, Dylan Wells, Anson Thornton

Regular season leaders

Adam Klapka – 65GP, 21G, 25A
Ben Jones – 72GP, 21G, 22A
Matt Coronato – 41GP, 15G, 27A
Josh Doan – 62GP, 26G, 20A
Akuu Raty – 55GP, 15G, 29A
Jan Jenik – 55GP, 16G, 20A

Head to head

The Wranglers and Roadrunners only faced each other four times this season. Their first series was back in November in Calgary where they split. Tucson won the first game of the series on November 21st by a 3-2 decision and Calgary won the game the following night with a 4-0 final score. 
Their second and final series of the year was back on March 5th and 6th in Tucson, AZ. This back-to-back also ended in a split with Calgary picking up a 5-4 overtime win on the Tuesday and Tucson winning 3-2 on the Wednesday.
Dustin Wolf and Oscar Dansk evenly split the game time against this team and both played two games against their first playoff opponent. They both won one and lost one with Dansk picking up the win in the overtime decision. 
16 different Wranglers have put up points against the Roadrunners this year, two of which are inactive. The players who had the most success against their desert rivals were Ben Jones and Adam Klapka by a mile. Jones put up three goals and three assists through their four games in the regular season and Adan Klapka put up four goals and four assists in their season series. Matt Coronato, Cole Schwindt and William Stromgren have also put up multiple points against this opponent this year. 
On the other end, 15 Roadrunners scored against the Wranglers this season with Nathan Smith leading the way in points through these games. He had three assists. A few of his teammates had multiple points through their season series including Victor Soderstrom, Milos Kelemen, Justin Kirkland, Aku Raty, and John Leonard. However, none of these players were anywhere near the numbers of Klapka and Jones on Calgary’s side. 

Series notes 

The Wranglers are starting with a clean slate and need to flush whatever was going on in the last five games out of their system. They have not won a game since Apr. 5 against the Bakersfield Condors and time is not on their side when two losses are all it takes to end their season. However, they have the most stacked roster they’ve had all year so the pieces are there, it’s just a matter of how they mesh. 
The Roadrunners had a better April going 5-3-1-0 in their last eight games. They finished the regular season schedule with a 5-4 overtime loss to the San Jose Barracuda. Before that, they were on a six-game winning streak. 
Between the pipes, Matthew Villalta was the main workhorse for the Roadrunners playing in 51 games. He finished the regular season with a 2.54 GAA, a 31-17-3 record and a .911 save percentage. Dylan Wells was the next netminder behind him with 18 games played, a 10-5-3 record, a 3.28 GAA and a .898 save percentage.
Dustin Wolf had better numbers than both of these netminders with 36 games played between NHL call-ups, a 20-12-3 record, a 2.45 GAA and a .922 save percentage. Connor Murphy has been a more common choice in net towards the end of the season and ended up appearing in 15 games earning a 4-4-3 record, a 2.54 GAA and a .922 save percentage. Oscar Dansk played in 27 games, earned an 11-12-3 record, and finished with a 3.22 GAA and a .897 save percentage.
By the numbers and isolated performances against each other, this series is anticipated to be a pretty close one. Both squads have no choice but to run with their best players because whoever wins the first game puts themselves in a much better spot going into the remainder of the series.
The first game of this series is on Wednesday, Apr. 24, then the second game is on Friday, Apr. 26. If a third game is required, it will be played on Sunday, Apr. 28. All games are in Tucson, Arizona and all have an 8:00 p.m. MT puck drop. By the end of the week, a winner of this series will be declared and they will move on to face the Coachella Valley Firebirds. All games are streamed on AHL.tv and the Fan960 will have live radio broadcast coverage for the Wranglers post-season. Multiple FlamesNation contributors will also have updates for you on X (formerly Twitter).
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