Recap: Highlight reel goal defeats Calgary Wranglers in overtime

Photo credit:Jenn Pierce/Calgary Wranglers
Paige Siewert
3 months ago
The Calgary Wranglers ventured to Ontario, California to face the Reign on Friday night. Typical AHL series tend to go two games against the same team but this one was a one-off for two teams working against each other in the Pacific Division. The Wranglers struck first but couldn’t pull ahead when the Reign answered back later in the game. Akil Thomas pulled off one of the best moves in the league this year and Calgary fell 2-1 in overtime. 

Game at a glance 

Calgary went back to Oscar Dansk for this game and on the other end, Erik Portillo was in net for the Reign. The Wranglers rolled with the same lineup leaving out some of the semi-regular forwards like Ilya Nikolaev and Rory Kerins. 
In the first period, Calgary got out to a good start and earned themselves an early power play just 2:15 in. They were only able to get one shot off on the man advantage but continued to roll in the Reign’s zone and rattled off a couple more shots before taking their first penalty of the game just shy of the midway mark in the first. 
The Reign didn’t capitalize on their first power play either and once the Wranglers were up to even strength, they were back putting shots on goal. They killed off one more penalty by the end of the first but at the end of 20 minutes, it remained a scoreless game. Calgary out-shot Ontario 11-5 in the first. 
In the second, the lamp was lit for the first time by Ben Jones on the power play. Jakob Pelletier found Cole Schwindt on the side of the net, who then sent it over to Jones to shovel the puck into the back of the net. 1-0 Wranglers. 
Ontario made a push to even things up but Dansk kept them at bay. A few back-and-forth efforts finished up the second and Jakob Pelletier was tagged for roughing with 32 seconds to go in the second. There was a bit of a scrum in front of the net and he was the only one pulled off. The score remained 1-0 at the end of 40 minutes with the Reign out-shooting the Wranglers 14-8. 
In the third, Calgary fought to hang on to their narrow lead. They were successful for just over seven minutes, and then Ontario evened things up on the board. Tyler Madden was the goal scorer for the home team off a one-timer. Things tightened up after this goal and both sides kept their composure and didn’t risk any more time in the box. At the end of regulation, the score was evened up 1-1. 
In overtime, Ben Jones registered an early shot before the Reign went the other way. Adam Klapka got a chance just after the three-minute mark but wasn’t able to beat Portillo either. 3:30 into overtime, Akil Thomas pulled a spin move on Cole Schwindt and flipped a backhander past Dansk to pull off the win for the Reign. 
It’s one of those moves you have to tip your hat to and move on from. The Wranglers got a point in this one but fell 2-1 in overtime. Shots were tied through the third and overtime and finished an even 31-31. 

Next up

As of Friday night, the first team in the Pacific Division to clinch a playoff spot is the Coachella Valley Firebirds. The Wranglers have the Abbotsford Canucks on their heels and need to hold their position or make up some ground. Their next chance at two points will be on Sunday when they face the San Diego Gulls. Game time is 6:00 p.m. MT.
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