Recap: Calgary Wranglers win last regular season game, secure league and division titles
Photo credit:Terence Leung/Calgary Wranglers
7 months ago
The Calgary Wranglers wrapped up their regular season for the last game of their last three-game series against the Abbotsford Canucks. They needed a point in this game to secure the Pacific Division and league titles or the Coachella Valley Firebirds needed to lose to secure their first-round bye. They ended up doing both as the Firebirds lost minutes before the end of the Wranglers’ game, where the Wranglers beat the Canucks 3-2. They are officially the best in the league and will have an extra week of practice before starting their battle for the Calder Cup.
Game at a glance
Dustin Wolf got the start again in another important game for the Wranglers. The first period got off to a bit of an unhinged start with some tensions boiling over early. Kevin Rooney got the rough stuff started with a fight 4:55 into the game. Later in the period, another scrum resulted in four offsetting roughing penalties between two Wranglers and two Canucks.
Ben Jones was dealt a boarding and a roughing penalty so Emilio Pettersen ended up serving two minutes in his place and put Abbotsford on the man advantage just past the halfway mark of the first. Adam Klapka was also called for roughing late in the period. Despite all of that extra-curricular activity, the first period finished up scoreless. Abbotsford outshot Calgary 11-6 through the opening frame.
In the second, the scoreless streak came to an end with an opening goal by the Canucks. Wolf was beaten by a shot from Danila Klimovich, who has scored in every game of this series. This goal came 5:15 into the second period.
The Wranglers were able to answer back later in the period with a goal 12:19 into the period. Nick DeSimone was the goal scorer for Calgary. Dryden Hunt skated the puck around the back of the net and fed it up to DeSimone to take a shot and score the Wranglers first goal of the game. Emilio Pettersen also assisted on this opening goal for Calgary.
The second period finished up with these two teams tied up at one a side and shots were close at 14-12 for Abbotsford. In the third, the Canucks got an early goal 1:36 into the period. By this point, the Canucks had their spot in the playoffs secured, making this game less important for their seeding. The importance of this game transferred to the Wranglers securing a point to be sure the titles were theirs.
They didn’t wait long to start getting their fight and momentum back in this game. 5:18 into the third, the Wranglers found themselves on a power play and came flying into the Abbotsford zone and passed the puck all over to keep them disjointed.
Nick DeSimone passed the puck over to Jakob Pelletier who passed it to Dryden Hunt, who scored the tying goal.
Minutes later, Adam Klapka positioned himself in his familiar position in front of the net and deflected the puck into the net off of Ilya Solovyov’s shot from the point. Initial scoring went to Solovyov but official AHL scoring went to Klapka. Parker Bell also assisted on this goal to pick up his first professional point.
This goal came exactly eight minutes into the third and the last 12 minutes felt like an eternity. The Wranglers knew what was on the line and the advantage a first round bye would have for them. They certainly earned it.
With about two minutes to go in regulation, the Coachella Valley game finished up and they ended up losing to the Bakersfield Condors. A fact the guys on the ice might not have known this deep into the game.
The Canucks pulled their goalie 17:33 into the third, then the Wranglers took a penalty that gave their opponents a two man advantage. Time wound down and the Wranglers kept things together to secure the win and guarantee their spots at the top of the league and division. Their celebration says it all.
Dustin Wolf picked up his 42nd win stopping 28 of 30 Canucks shots. The Wranglers ended up registering 31 shots total. Dryden Hunt was awarded the first star of the night and Nick DeSimone was awarded the second star. Both had a goal and an assist in this game.
The next game for the Wranglers is unknown at the moment. They earned their first round bye and will watch the rest of the qualified Pacific Division teams battle it out in a best of three series next week. This puts an estimate on the start of their playoff run to be the week of Apr. 24 for a best of five series against a Pacific Division opponent to be determined.
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