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Recap: Oliver Kylington calm and collected in Wranglers 3-2 win over Reign

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Photo credit:David Moll/Calgary Wranglers
Paige Siewert
1 month ago
The Calgary Wranglers hosted a California team just in time for the cold snap. They kicked off their back-to-back series against the Ontario Reign with a Thursday night match-up. It was Oliver Kylington’s first professional game back since May 26, 2022, and he didn’t look like he missed a beat. Everyone was rooting for him and the Wranglers were able to pull out a 3-2 victory to further commemorate the night. 

Lineup notes

The team made it known after the morning skate on Thursday that Oliver Kylington would be in fact playing in this game. Nonetheless, his return was still one of great celebration for fans and the defenceman alike. The limited crowd due to the weather still made sure to make some noise for number 58’s return. 
Rory Kerins returned to the lineup after missing a pair of games. Both these changes took Ilya Nikolaev and Jarrod Gourley out of the lineup. Kerins centred the fourth line of Lucas Ciona and Gallant and Kylington played on a pairing with Colton Poolman. 
Oscar Dansk also returned from a few maintenance games to back up Wolf for this game. Connor Murphy was the backup option in the last two games against the Abbotsford Canucks.  

Game at a glance

Dustin Wolf got the nod for his third straight start for the Wranglers and Erik Portillo was between the pipes for the Silver Knights. The Wranglers got things started on the right foot with an early power play. While they didn’t score on this opportunity, they would open up the scoring shortly after with a goal from Lucas Ciona at 3:29.
Rory Kerins got the lone assist. Calgary would continue to hold the pressure and score the next marker at 13:52. Mitch McLain caught the tail end of a wraparound attempt and went post and in to make it a 2-0 game. Jonathan Aspirot and Cole Schwindt assisted.
The momentum shifted in Ontario’s favour shortly after this goal with a bit of zone pressure and a power play to work with. Mark Rassell was in the box for holding and Samuel Fagemo got the puck past Wolf on a one-timer at 17:50. 
The first period ended with Matt Coronato in the box for a power play that would carry over into the second period and the Wranglers up 2-1. Shots were 14-10 through the first frame. In the second period, the overlapping penalty didn’t hurt anything and play continued on as normal.
Perhaps the Wranglers’ best chance in the second period came from a scrambled play in front of Ontario’s net. Portillo ended up down on the ice with the majority of his net empty and Adam Klapka took a shot off his pads. 
Otherwise, it was a pretty scattered period with not a lot of opportunity for either team. With two minutes to go in the period, Oliver Kylington was called for tripping and by 18:51, Samuel Fagemo struck again on the power play in a similar fashion to his last goal.
The period ended with a 2-2 score and the Wranglers out-shooting the Reign 13-11. The start of the third continued at the same pace as the second with a lack of finished plays. There wasn’t a whole lot of huge highlights but the tie had to break for this game to end.
At 17:07 Mark Rassell batted in a rebound from Brady Lyle and scored what would be the game-winner. This is his second goal in three games in the league as he was just signed to a PTO with the Wranglers on January 4th.
The Reign pulled their goalie to try and answer back in the last few minutes and were not successful. They were successful in preventing a Wranglers empty-netter, however, with Calgary getting a few chances in the dying minutes.
The Wranglers held on and won this one 3-2 and out-shot the Reign 36-27. Mark Rassell earned the first star of the night and Lucas Ciona earned the second. The third star went to Reign forward Samuel Fagemo for his two power play goals.
After the game, Oliver Kylington was greeted by a plethora of local media and had a very poised and uplifting press conference. He spoke about his readiness for this game, the hard work into preparing for his return and how he was able to keep up with the pace in this game. complimented the new group of teammates and in regards to how he was feeling going into this game, he said,
“I felt pretty relaxed. I mean, I trust my instincts and know what I can deliver. So I just try to trust that and have fun out there. I didn’t try to paint the picture bigger than it is.”
This is one big step in the right direction for Kylington and we are lucky enough to not even have to wait another 24 hours to see more of it.

Scoring stat summary

Mitch McLain – 1G
Cole Schwindt – 1A
Lucas Ciona – 1G
Rory Kerins – 1A
Mark Rassell – 1G
Brady Lyle – 1A
Adam Klapka – 1A
Jonathan Aspirot – 1A

Highlights

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Next up 

The Wranglers’ next game wraps up their eight-game homestand that consisted of four back-to-back series against four different opponents. Game two against the Reign will take place on Friday at 7:00 p.m. MT.

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