Recap: Wranglers fall short in comeback efforts in Coachella Valley

Photo credit:Mike Zitek/Coachella Valley Firebirds
Paige Siewert
5 months ago
The Calgary Wranglers kicked off their road trip with a game in Coachella Valley on Friday night. Despite getting off to a good start, the second half of the game proved to be much more fruitful for their opponents. Calgary made their best effort to make a full comeback but came up short with a 4-3 final score. 

Lineup notes

The Wranglers got Yan Kuznetsov back and Walker Duehr from assignments with the Flames this week. Duehr made his season debut with the Wranglers in this match-up in place of Adam Klapka, who was called up to the Flames earlier this week. Duehr was also needed to cover another winger in Matt Coronato. 
While at the time of this game, there weren’t any official transactions, Coronato’s absence from the lineup unofficially confirmed his call-up back to the Flames after Martin Pospisil suffered an injury in the Flames’ game against the Maple Leafs on Thursday night.
Also in the lineup was Oliver Kylington. Kylington only got one game in with the Wranglers last week then took a night off to recover from a minor groin injury. The week between games got him back up to game-ready for what was likely his last game of his conditioning assignment. 

Game at a glance

Dustin Wolf was called up to the Flames earlier this week so Oscar Dansk got the start for his first game since Jan. 2. His last game also happened to be against the Firebirds, just on home ice. On the other end, Ales Stezka got the start for the home team.
Once they got their feet under them, the Wranglers struck first just 7:36 into the game. Jonathan Aspirot skated the puck into the zone and ripped the puck bar down for his third goal of the year. Cole Schwindt and William Stromgren assisted.
After this goal, the penalties started and continued through the second half of the period but did not result in any scoring changes. Each side had three penalties with four of them overlapping. At the end of 20 minutes, the Wranglers led 1-0 but trailed 16-12 in the shot category. 
In the second, some of the heightened emotions from the first period boiled over and as a result, Alex Gallant and Ian McKinnon fought each other at 7:10. Gallant was sticking up for a hit on Ilya Solovyvov along the end boards. This was perhaps one of the most even fights Gallant has had this season, but McKinnon wrapped it up by taking Gallant down to the ice.
This fight fired up the Firebirds and they evened the score shortly after. At 9:19, Connor Carrick ripped a shot past Dansk on a delayed penalty call. Just over a minute after this goal, another fight erupted. Lucas Ciona instigated a fight with Jimmy Schuldt after a hit on Emilio Pettersen and paid for it in extended penalty minutes. He was dealt an instigating call, a fighting major and a misconduct.
This play resulted in a power play for Coachella Valley that they converted on. At 10:38, the Firebirds took their first lead of the game with a goal from Andrew Poturalski. That 2-1 score held the rest of the way through the second period and Coachella Valley once again had the advantage in shots 15-8.
In the third, the Firebirds were looking to shut down the Wranglers and put this game away. They scored an early shorthanded goal at 3:43 to extend their lead to a two-goal differential. Ville Petman was the goal scorer for the Firebirds.
The distance between the teams grew even further with another goal from the home team at 8:04. Cameron Hughes scored for Coachella Valley with a quick tip-in and put their lead up to three goals. 
The Wranglers got a bit of gas back to try for the comeback after this goal and Yan Kuznetsov netted his third of the year at 10:27. William Stromgren and Mitch McLain assisted.
They were running out of time to close in on the Firebirds and at 16:11, the Wranglers pulled Dansk for the extra attacker. It ended up working for them as Rory Kerins buried a rebound off Walker Duehr’s shot. Ilya Solovyov also assisted. 
Calgary pulled Dansk again but their luck on the 6-on-5 ran out. They kept the puck away from the empty net but could not get one more goal past Stezka to at least force at least overtime. The Wranglers fell by a final score of 4-3. Shots finished 35-28 for Coachella Valley.

Scoring stat summary

Mitch McLain – 1A
Ilya Solovyov – 1A
Rory Kerins – 1G
Walker Duehr – 1A
Yan Kuznetsov – 1A
Cole Schwindt – 1A
William Stromgren – 2A
Jonathan Aspirot – 1G

Next up 

The Wranglers have a venue change to make between Friday and Saturday night as they face the Bakersfield Condors on Saturday night. The game time is set for the same time with an 8:00 p.m. MT puck drop.

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