Recap: Walker Duehr, Matthew Phillips connect for last-second GWG against Bakersfield
Photo credit:David Moll/Calgary Wranglers
1 month ago
After a 5-1 loss on Thursday night, the Calgary Wranglers were back in action the following night seeking to enact revenge on the Bakersfield Condors. They did just that, coming away with a 2–1 comeback win.
It was Star Wars night at the Saddledome and Calgary switched things up in net by going with Oscar Dansk for the start; he didn’t finish, suffering an injury midway through the game and being replaced by Dustin Wolf.
The evening’s events ended in a dramatic fashion with Walker Duehr scoring the game-winning goal with 4.6 seconds to go in regulation. The Wranglers now enter the All-Star break with a 2–1 win at home fresh on their minds.
Dennis Gilbert was back in the lineup after missing Thursday’s game; Emilio Pettersen remained out. Another interesting lineup note was the absence of Jakob Pelletier. It is possible he was recalled unofficially to join the Calgary Flames on their road trip early. The Flames play next on Monday against the New York Rangers. Alex Gallant ended up slotting into the lineup to add another forward.
Jeremie Poirier was also out of this game but that has not been uncommon this season. Mitch Love has said in the past that Poirier is still a young player and his expectations for him are at a certain level he needs to be at as a pro now. I would expect to see Poirier back by their next game or shortly after.
Game at a glance
The Wranglers appeared to pick up where they left off from Thursday’s game. That is not a good thing. The Condors opened up scoring only 2:26 into the game on their third shot of the game. About another two and a half minutes later, the Wranglers were on the penalty kill.
This penalty kill turned from a 5-on-4 to a 5-on-3 and they had 32 seconds to kill off being down two skaters. They were looking flat again and just outright stunned by a team they’ve had so much success against this season and with such a large standing differential.
The Wranglers still didn’t pull much together to finish up the first period. A power play opportunity came and went and the period ended with them trailing 1-0 and behind 12-6 in the shot category.
Calgary had a bit of a jump going into the second not a whole lot came of it through the first few minutes of the period. 8:59 into the second, Oscar Dansk was clipped by a Bakersfield skater right at the knees and took a hard fall. This caused some fighting behind the net and Dansk was down for quite some time. The trainer came to attend to him and he was helped off. His night was done. This also ended up being a massive turning point in the game.
Dustin Wolf came in relief and the crowd roared when his name was announced. In the next couple of minutes after Dansk’s exit, the Wranglers found themselves on a 5-on-3 for 1:12. They capitalized on this huge power play with a tip-in goal from Brett Sutter.
Sutter was the lone goal-scorer in their previous game and is up to a four-game point streak. Ben Jones and Matthew Phillips assisted on the Captain’s 12th goal of the season.
13:17 into the period, a scrum erupted that resulted in four offsetting penalties between the two teams. Speaking of penalties, later in the period, the Wranglers found themselves on another 5-on-3 opportunity for 1:19 that carried into the third period.
After two complete periods, the Wranglers and Condors were deadlocked at one and the Wranglers were closing in on shots just trailing 32-30.
In the third, the Wranglers’ early power plays came and went but the energy was still there. Adam Klapka put up a monster hit on a Condors skater and immediately answered for it. He fought Alex Peters in a solid tilt. Klapka skated off and went down the tunnel to likely get his knuckles looked at as he returned a few minutes later during a stoppage in play to serve the rest of his penalty.
Time ticked down and both teams were running out of time to score the go-ahead goal. With 4.6 seconds to go in regulation, Matthew Phillips set up Walker Duehr for a massive goal that got the fans out of their seats and won the game for the Wranglers.
The Condors got super heated after this to the point that chirps were flying and it took them quite a few minutes to get back to the faceoff dot to play out the dying seconds of the game. When the Wranglers’ win was sealed, they celebrated in a normal fashion and there was still more chatter between teams before they went off to their respective locker rooms.
Matthew Phillips spoke to the media after the game and reflected on the win:
We were focused on ourselves and bouncing back because we really didn’t like our effort last night. They always play us hard and we always seem to have one-goal games against them. It was a good battle.
It was a huge win to take into the All-Star break with Calgary finishing up with a 2-1 win. Bakersfield finished with a slight edge in shots 39-36.
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The Wranglers will now head into their All-Star break, with all but three of them getting some much-needed time off: Mitch Love, Matthew Phillips, and Dustin Wolf are packing up and going to Laval, QC for the weekend to represent the Wranglers at the 2023 AHL All-Star Classic. Our very own Mike Gould is down east to attend the event — stay tuned for up-to-the-minute coverage here on FlamesNation.
After the break, the Wranglers’ next game will be on the road against the San Jose Barracuda on Feb. 10.
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