Wranglers Playoff Game Day: Fired up for the Firebirds

Photo credit:Eric Boldt/Calgary Wranglers
Paige Siewert
1 year ago
The two newest AHL teams are set to battle it out in a best of five playoff series starting Thursday night. The Calgary Wranglers and Coachella Valley Firebirds started their seasons against each other and one of them will end their season against the other for this Pacific Division playoff battle in the third round of the Calder Cup Playoffs. The Wranglers chose to start the series at home once again and this week will show if the Saddledome crowd gives them that extra edge against the team that has been on their heels all season long. 

Projected lineups

Jakob Pelletier – Ben Jones – Matthew Phillips
Dryden Hunt – Connor Zary – Walker Duehr
Brett Sutter – Kevin Rooney – Clark Bishop 
Mitch McLain – Cole Schwindt – Adam Klapka
Ilya Solovyov – Nick DeSimone
Jeremie Poirier – Colton Poolman 
Yan Kuznetsov – Nicolas Meloche
Dustin Wolf
Oscar Dansk (backup)
Coachella Valley 
Forwards: Nick Pastujov, Luke Henman, Alexander True, Austin Poganski, Kole Lind, Max McCormick, Carsen Twarynski, Cameron Hughes, Ian McKinnon, Andrew Poturalski, Ville Petman, Logan Morrison, Max Andreev, Jeremy McKenna, Shane Wright, Jagger Firkus, David Goyette
Defencemen: Jake McLaughlin, Peetro Seppala, Matt Tennyson, Eddie Wittchow, Gustav Olofsson, Brogan Rafferty, Ville Ottsvainen, Ryker Evans, Jimmy Schuldt
Goaltenders: Joey Daccord, Christopher Gibson, Shane Starrett

Post-season leaders

Nick DeSimone – 4GP, 1G, 4A
Matthew Phillips – 4GP, 1G, 3A
Jakob Pelletier – 4GP, 1G, 2A
Coachella Valley
Kole Lind – 8GP, 4G, 7A
Max McCormick – 8GP, 5G, 5A
Ryker Evans – 8GP, 1G, 8A

Notes and expectations

The Firebirds have the stats in the playoffs that really make them stand out in postseason scoring at this point. They have played twice as many playoff games as the Wranglers because Calgary earned the Pacific Division first-round bye. With Coachella Valley’s extra games, they lead the league in postseason scoring with four out of the top five playoff scorers on the Firebirds’ roster. 
With the talent on both sides of this series, these three to five games could very well determine the team that will play the Eastern Conference winner in the Calder Cup Finals. Yes, they will have to get through the Western Conference final after this round, but these two have been the teams to beat all season. The winner of this round will play the winner of the Central Division match up between Milwaukee Admirals and the Texas Stars.
Against each other, they played eight games in the regular season that they split evenly with four wins a side. The Wranglers finished their season series against them with two 3-1 wins. Dustin Wolf and Joey Daccord give a great goaltending battle on their respective ends that could make for some very interesting hockey and nail biters down the stretch. It wasn’t until the last game of the season that the Wranglers secured the Pacific Division title and finished placed just one spot higher than the Firebirds in the division and the league. I wouldn’t be surprised if this series goes the whole five and it’ll be up to the Wranglers to get things started the right way on home ice. 
This highly anticipated series kicks off on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. MT at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Fan960 has been providing radio coverage of the Wranglers’ playoff games if you are unable to attend in person and it can be streamed for a fee on AHL.tv. Multiple FlamesNation members will also have coverage for you on Twitter.

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