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Series Preview: Calgary Wranglers host San Diego Gulls for fan appreciation weekend

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Photo credit:Jenn Pierce/Calgary Wranglers
Paige Siewert
10 months ago
The Calgary Wranglers are back home this week for the start of their last homestand of the regular season. They will host the San Diego Gulls on Friday and Sunday then play their last two regular season home games next week. The Wranglers are coming off a loss but leads the season series with a perfect 4-0 record. They’ll look for a sweep on the season in their two upcoming games. 

Projected lineups

Calgary 
Dryden Hunt – Ben Jones – Matthew Phillips
Emilio Pettersen – Connor Zary – Cole Schwindt
Brett Sutter – Kevin Rooney – Clark Bishop
Mitch McLain – Adam Klapka – Alex Gallant
Ilya Solovyov – Nick DeSimone
Jeremie Poirier – Colton Poolman
Yan Kuznetsov – Josh Brook
Dustin Wolf
Oscar Dansk
San Diego
Chase De Leo – Benoit-Olivier Groulx – Dylan Sikura
Pavol Regenda – Josiah Slavin – Glenn Gawdin
Brayden Tracey – Brent Gates Jr. – Justin Kirkland
Dmitry Osipov – Josh Lopina – Bryce Kindopp
Nikolas Brouillard – Drew Helleson
Olli Joulevi – Chase Priskie
Andrej Sustr – Luka Profaca
Gage Alexander
Olle Eriksson Ek

Leaders

Calgary 
Matthew Phillips – 56GP, 29G, 33A
Connor Zary – 62GP, 18G, 36A
Ben Jones – 61GP, 14G, 31A
San Diego 
Nikolas Brouillard – 62GP, 6G, 32A
Dylan Sikura – 59GP, 16G, 21A
Michael Del Zotto – 57GP, 8G, 27A

Notes and expectations

The San Diego Gulls come into town as the last placed team in the Pacific Division and dead last in the league. While they are not completely statistically out of the playoffs just yet, the hopes won’t be too high with less than a month of games left in the AHL schedule.
On the other hand, the Wranglers are comfortably in a playoff position but have new goals on their horizon. They look to clinch the Pacific Division and hopefully the top spot in the league in their last 10 games. Their magic numbers going into this series are 23 to clinch both the division and the league. If they are to clinch the division, they will get a first round bye in the play-in round for the Pacific Division. This is specific to the Pacific due to the number of teams in their division.
For the time being, this Wranglers roster is the one that needs to be gearing up to be at their best come playoff time. The Flames are still in the race for the wildcard spot but if they are to be mathematically eliminated, the Wranglers will have some high value reinforcements like Jakob Pelletier and Walker Duehr to slot back into their lineup.
Someone I’d really like to see hit a good stretch of hockey again is Matthew Phillips. He was exceptional in the first half of the season and has been on and off since Pelletier was called up. He used to have exceptional line chemistry with Pelletier and Radim Zohorna slotting in earlier in the year. Now both of those guys are not on the day-to-day roster with Zohorna traded at the trade deadline and Pelletier up with the Flames long-term. As a result, Phillips has had to adjust. 
Phillips still does well individually. For instance, his tying goal with 28 seconds to go in their game against the Roadrunners on Saturday. He no longer holds the league lead in goals but hasn’t fallen too far down just being in the second spot for the time being. He had point in the Wranglers’ last two games but was kept off the board in the four previous. I’d like to see his trend of production continue in these upcoming games and carry over to when they need him the most in postseason play. 
This series kicks off on Friday with a start time of 7:00 p.m. MT. The next game will be on Sunday night at the same time and will be fan appreciation night at the Scotiabank Saddledome. You can catch these games at home at the dome or stream them on AHL.tv. FlamesNation contributors Mike Gould and myself will have updates on Twitter.

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