Recap: Wranglers beat Reign 2-0 and punch their ticket to the Calder Cup Playoffs
Photo credit:David Moll/Calgary Wranglers
8 months ago
The Calgary Wranglers and Ontario Reign faced off on Friday night for a possible playoff-clinching night for Calgary. They had a few scenarios that would guarantee their spot in the 2022-23 Calder Cup Playoffs. A win or a San Jose Barracuda loss would do it or an overtime or shootout loss for both the Wranglers and Barracuda would also allow them to clinch on Friday night. Well, the Wranglers took the easy route and did the job themselves with a 2-0 regulation win against the Ontario Reign and the title of the first team to clinch a spot in the Calder Cup playoffs for the 2022-23 season.
Nicolas Meloche returned in this game after being injured and missing the last four Wranglers games. Josh Brook was out of this game as a result. It was also the AHL trade deadline on Friday and one move was made over to the Wranglers to help them out with defensive depth going into the final stretch of the regular season and into playoffs.
The Wranglers acquired defenceman Kristians Rubins from the Ottawa Senators organization in a future considerations deal. Rubins has played 42 games with the AHL’s Belleville Senators this season and put up six points in that time. He was assigned to the Wranglers but was not in town in time to join the team for their first game against the Reign.
Game at a glance
The effort in the first half of the period was swayed in the Reign’s favour. Calgary was being outshot 7-2 through the first half of the period and Dustin Wolf was getting his work in between the pipes. The Wranglers got some better looks through the second half of the period and ended up scoring their first goal of the night with just 1:11 to go in the opening frame.
Clark Bishop put a puck on net and it deflected off of Reign goaltender, Cal Petersen and it found its way to the back of the net. Kevin Rooney and Brett Sutter assisted.
That finished up the first with the Wranglers ahead of the Reign 1-0. Ontario out-shot Calgary 10-7 through the first period. In the second, no other scoring updates made their way to the scoreboard. Just a pair of penalties against the Wranglers. The second finished up with Calgary still up 1-0 and they were out-shot 11-6 in this frame.
In the third, the Wranglers were looking for a bit of a cushion to help them pull out this win. One of their other clinching opportunities would have been if the San Jose Barracuda lost in regulation against the Bakersfield Condors but at this point in the night, they were winning 4-0 so the Wranglers’ best bet was to get it done themselves.
4:57 into the third, the Wranglers found themselves on a power play and Cole Schwindt scored his 13th goal of the season off a tip in to put the Wranglers up 2-0. Connor Zary and Nick DeSimone assisted.
Tensions were boiling over after this goal and these teams had a couple of post-whistle activities at multiple points in the period. The biggest case of this was with 7:06 to go in regulation, which occurred because Matthew Phillips was brought down to the ice and everyone picked a partner that swarmed after the fact.
This scrum resulted in a Reign power play as Dryden Hunt was called for slashing, Ben Jones was called for roughing and Taylor Ward of the Reign was also called for roughing. The Wrangles killed off this late penalty with no damage done and no changes to the score.
They had one more penalty to kill off in the final 1:09 due to a face-off violation but that didn’t take away from their lead or Wolf’s shutout. The Wranglers went on to win the game 2-0 and Dustin Wolf picked up his fifth shutout of the season. Shots finished up 34-22 for the Reign.
With this regulation win, the Wranglers clinched a playoff berth and were the first team in the league to do so. Their next goals will include clinching the Pacific Division to get a first-round bye and hopefully, the league.
The Wranglers and Reign will play their last regular season game against each other on Sunday afternoon to wrap up their season series. The puck drop is set for 4:00 p.m. MT in Ontario, CA.
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