Recap: Calgary Wranglers narrowly defeat San Diego Gulls, sweep season series
Photo credit:Angela Burger/Calgary Wranglers
8 months ago
The Calgary Wranglers and San Diego Gulls played their last regular season game against each other on Sunday evening. This was fan appreciation night at the dome for the third last Wranglers home game of the regular season. The Wranglers got all their scoring done in the first period and this carried them to a narrow 3-2 win in regulation. This will be their last match-up as the Gulls are mathematically eliminated from clinching a playoff spot this season.
Game at a glance
There were two Wranglers milestones to celebrate in this game. Clark Bishop hit 300 AHL games and Dustin Wolf hit 100 AHL games. 56 of Bishop’s games have been played with the Wranglers and all of Wolf’s games have been played with the Flames affiliate. When you include post-season play, Wolf actually hit this milestone 13 games ago.
The goaltending match-up changed just slightly for this game with Dustin Wolf in net for the Wranglers and Olle Eriksson Ek in net for the Gulls. The Wranglers also opted to skate with an extra defenceman this game. Alex Gallant was pulled out of the lineup and Yan Kuznetsov slotted in. They skated 11 forwards and seven defencemen.
The Wranglers got a surprising wake up call early in this game when the Gulls scored in the first minute. 54 seconds in to be exact. Wolf was unable to cover up a rebound and San Diego slipped the loose puck in behind him. They were caught on their heels early and took a few minutes to really catch up to their style of hockey.
12:40 into the period, they answered back and Matthew Phillips scored the opening goal of the game for the second game in a row. Assists went to Nicolas Meloche and Kristians Rubins.
The Wranglers took the lead shortly after with a goal by Clark Bishop. He came up the rush with Ben Jones, tried to go for the toe drag and lost the puck then regained possession and buried a sharp angled shot on his backhand. Better yet, this also came shorthanded. Jones picked up the lone assist.
Matthew Phillips just kept on rolling this period and scored another goal before the opening frame came to an end. He perfectly placed a shot past Alexander and gave the Wranglers a 3-1 lead. Ilya Solovyov and Dryden Hunt assisted on Phillips’ 32nd of the year. This also put Phillips right back at the top of the league in goals.
The first finished up with the Wranglers ahead 3-1 and leading 11-9 in shots. In the second, it was a quiet period for scoring. Neither side was able to light the lamp despite a couple of penalties each. The second finished up the same way it started with the Wranglers leading 3-1 and ahead 27-21 in shots.
The third period started off strikingly similar to the first period, unfortunately, with a Gulls goal early in the frame. Wolf appeared to catch the puck and it rolled out of his grasp and slipped between his legs and past the goal line. Just like that, the Gulls were within one. This goal came just 1:07 into the third.
The Wranglers had a few chances throughout the period but mostly got outplayed in the third. Fortunately, their lead was enough to hold things down for them. The Gulls got a late penalty and were unable to pull their goalie for long to generate some extra offence.
The game finished up with a 3-2 score and a Wranglers 37-30 edge in shots. This completed their season series and the Wranglers finished with a perfect 6-0 record with regulation wins in all of their games against the Gulls this year.
Two Wranglers were recognized in the three stars. Matthew Phillips picked up the first star and Clark Bishop picked up the second.
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The Wranglers play their last two home games this upcoming week against the Henderson Silver Knights. Henderson has been a tough opponent for them this season and arguably their biggest challenge of the season to date. The Wranglers have a 1-4-1-0 record against Henderson and look to put a couple more wins in the win column this week. Their next game will be Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m. MT.
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