Calgary Wranglers recap: Sam Morton’s two goal night not quite enough to win regular season closer

Photo credit:Terence Leung/Calgary Wranglers
Paige Siewert
1 month ago
The Calgary Wranglers played in their 2023-24 AHL regular-season finale on Saturday against the Abbotsford Canucks. Going into this game, the Wranglers had dropped their last four games. Three of which were against the Canucks. They looked to change that storyline but came up short once again. The final score was 3-2 and this completed a consecutive two-series sweep for the Canucks over the Wranglers. 

Lineup notes

The lineup for the regular season closer was a lot more what we expect to see for the postseason. The reinforcements from the Flames made it and all of them rejoined the lineup. That included Dustin Wolf with the start between the pipes as well as Matt Coronato, Adam Klapka and Ilya Solovyov. 
Other changes included Riley Damiani, Jonathan Aspirot and Colton Poolman slotting in for this game. The ones who were scratched in this game as a result of those lineup additions included Connor Murphy, Parker Bell, Rory Kerins, Alex Gallant, Brett Sutter, Brady Lyle and Mark Pysyk. 

Game at a glance 

As mentioned above, Dustin Wolf returned to the Wranglers net for his first AHL start since March 10th. On the other end, Nikita Tolopilo was in for Abbotsford. The puck dropped and the fourth straight game between these two was underway. It was a pretty typical dynamic in their opening minutes. 
Things took a bit of a turn when Ben Jones was on the receiving end of a hit he didn’t appreciate. Then in his next shift, he went after the player who hit him, Matt Irwin and they fought. They both took a seat for their five-minute majors and Jones tacked on another roughing minor on this play that William Stromgren served.
Nothing came of this odd four-on-three and about five minutes later, Adam Klapka was getting tied up with Linus Karlsson. This didn’t end up turning into anything beyond offsetting roughing calls. By the time the period came to an end, San Diego and Calgary were scoreless and shots were 10-6 Abbotsford. 
In the second period, Sam Morton got some scoring started for the visiting Wranglers starting with a goal at 1:44. William Stromgren took a shot on Tolopilo that Morton got the last touch on for a slight redirect and made this game a 1-0 lead for Calgary. William Stromgren and Yan Kuznetsov assisted on the first goal of the game. 
Morton followed up with the next goal of the competition around the 10-minute mark. He made a heads-up play behind the net and jammed in a quick partial wraparound at 10:16. Morton’s second goal of the night was assisted by Ilya Solovyov and Adam Kalpka. 
The home team took back the momentum in this game a handful of minutes later with a scrambled play in the Wranglers zone that Linus Karlsson finished the play on. This cut Calgary’s lead in half and that wasn’t even the end of the Canucks’ effort to get back in this game. 
In the same minutes of gameplay, Tristen Nielsen struck for Abbotsford and evened up the score in this game. Abbotsford won the faceoff and Arshdeep Bains received a perfect pass to rip a shot past Wolf. That wrapped up the action in a productive second period and the Wranglers and Canucks were at an even 2-2 after 40 minutes. Shots in the middle frame were 15-8 Abbotsford. 
In the third, the Wranglers got a chance on the power play in the opening minutes to try and pull ahead but weren’t able to score. Calgary continued to pressure the Canucks’ zone but didn’t get anything else past Tolopilo. 
It would be the Canucks who scored the next goal at 11:24 when Arshdeep Bains scored the game-winning goal. He received a rebound and ripped a shot past Wolf. Calgary could not answer back in the remaining time even with an extra attacker in the last two minutes when they pulled Wolf. 
This game finished up in a 3-2 win for Abbotsford and shots finished up 32-29 for the Canucks. Neither team scored on their power play chances and Sam Morton cracked the three stars for his two-goal night and was recognized as the second star of the game. 

Scoring stat summary

Ilya Solovyov – 1A
Yan Kuznetsov – 1A
Adam Klapka – 1A
William Stromgren – 1A
Sam Morton – 2G

Next up 

As of the time of the end of their last regular season game, the future is slightly uncertain for the Wranglers. What they know at this point is that they’ve all but secured the seventh spot in the Pacific Division and will face the team that finishes up in second. This will likely be the Tucson Roadrunners but it could end up being the Ontario Reign depending on how their last game finishes on Sunday. The Wranglers are expected to kick off their best-of-three playoff-opening series next week. 
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