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Calgary Flames prospect Dustin Wolf looks to stay dominant when facing elimination in the AHL playoffs

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Photo credit:Mike Gould / FlamesNation
Mike Gould
10 months ago
Top Calgary Flames prospect Dustin Wolf will get his first taste of winner-take-all playoff hockey on Friday night when the Calgary Wranglers take on the Coachella Valley Firebirds for Game 5 of their Pacific Division Final series.
Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert, California will be the site as the Wranglers look to complete their comeback from a 2–1 series deficit to advance to face either the Texas Stars or Milwaukee Admirals in the best-of-seven Western Conference Final.
Wolf posted a 27-save shutout on Wednesday as the Wranglers evened the series with a 1–0 win over the Firebirds. Cole Schwindt scored the lone goal for Calgary in the nail-biting victory.
Wednesday marked the fourth time Wolf has started a Calder Cup Playoff game with his team facing elimination. He helped the 2022 Stockton Heat win twice after taking a 3–0 deficit in their Western Conference Final series against the Chicago Wolves (the Heat ultimately lost 3–0 in Game 6).
This series has been dominated by the two starting goaltenders. Wolf has gone head-to-head with Firebirds netminder Joey Daccord, who helped his team emerge victorious in triple overtime despite being heavily outshot by Calgary in Game 3.
In Game 4, Wolf one-upped Daccord with a shutout against a reinforced Firebirds team that made room for Seattle Kraken playoff returnees Tye Kartye and Jesper Froden by making top prospect Shane Wright a healthy scratch.
“It’s really fun,” Wolf told FlamesNation on Wednesday. “He’s a hell of a goalie over there. He’s made some awesome saves and he kept his team in it for sure tonight. You know what, he probably stole Game 3 for them.”
Here’s a look at Wolf’s previous four performances with his team facing elimination in the AHL playoffs:
June 10, 2022:
Chicago @ Stockton (Game 4)
34 shots faced
31 saves
Heat win 4–3 in OT

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June 11, 2022:
Chicago @ Stockton (Game 5)
39 shots faced
37 saves
Heat win 3–2 in OT

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June 14, 2022
Stockton @ Chicago (Game 6)
37 shots faced
35 saves
Wolves win 3–0

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May 17, 2023
Calgary @ Coachella Valley (Game 4)
27 shots faced
27 saves
Wranglers win 1–0

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Here’s an eye-popping statistic. Wolf is 13–8 with four shutouts and a .926 save percentage in 21 career AHL playoff games. He’s 3–1 with one shutout and a .949 save percentage when facing elimination.
The Wranglers convincingly defeated the Abbotsford Canucks in four games to get to this point. Last year, as the Heat, Mitch Love’s team swept the Bakersfield Condors and beat the Colorado Eagles in four games before falling to the Wolves in six games in the West Final.
This isn’t the first time this team has seen an elimination game. But it is their first time playing in one while they also have the chance to vanquish their opponents.
“We were down 3–0 last year to Chicago. We had a couple home wins to keep our season alive and came up short in Game 6 in their building,” Love told FlamesNation after Wednesday’s win. “I think that’ll be good experience for our guys coming into a do-or-die game on Friday night.
“The season series has been Even Steven between these two teams and we’re excited to be living for another day.”
The Wranglers and Firebirds will hit the ice at Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert at 8:00 p.m. MT on Friday. You’ll be able to catch the game on AHL TV or on Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

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