Wranglers playoff game day: Hitting the road for Game Three

Photo credit:David Moll/Calgary Wranglers
Paige Siewert
1 month ago
The Calgary Wranglers kicked off their playoff series against the Coachella Valley Firebirds last week with two home games that ended in a split. The team with the series edge will be revealed at the end of game three in Coachella Valley. The winner will put the other team on the brink of elimination for Friday’s guaranteed game four. 

Projected lineups

Jakob Pelletier – Cole Schwindt – Matt Coronato 
William Stromgren – Sam Morton – Adam Klapka 
Brett Sutter – Clark Bishop – Riley Damiani/Adam Klapka 
Mitch McLain – Ben Jones – Adam Klapka/Riley Damiani 
Jordan Oesterle – Ilya Solovyov 
Colton Poolman – Jeremie Poirier
Jonathan Aspirot – Mark Pysyk
Yan Kuznetsov
Dustin Wolf (starter)
Oscar Dansk
Coachella Valley
Max McCormick – Andrew Poturalski – Kole Lind 
Ryan Winterton – Shane Wright – Cameron Hughes
Jani Nyman – Devin Shore – John Hayden 
Jacob Melanson – Logan Morrison – Marian Studenic
Ryker Evans – Connor Carrick
Gustav Olofsson – Cale Fleury 
Jimmy Schuldt – Ville Ottavainen
Chris Driedger
Ales Stezka

Post-season leaders

Adam Klapka –  4GP, 1G, 5A
Matt Coronato – 4GP, 1G, 4A
Cole Schwindt – 4GP, 3G, 1A
Coachella Valley 
Ryker Evans – 2GP, 1G, 1A 
Kole Lind – 2GP, 1G, 1A
Max McCormick – 2GP, 1G, 1A
Andrew Poturalski – 2GP, 1G, 1A
(All four skaters tied for first in points)

Game two standouts 

Adam Klapka is hot off a call-up confidence boost and has been a key part of this Wranglers playoff run. He goes into this game tied for third in the post-season scoring just under three Texas Stars skaters. He is averaging over a point per game and has at least an assist in all four playoff games Calgary has played so far. He’s rotating between lines with Calgary going with 11 forwards in the lineup and the extra ice time is proving worthwhile. 
Another producer who is likely on the Firebirds’ radar now is Cole Schwindt. Schwindt had two goals in game two and is tied for second in the league in post-season goals. His line of Jakob Pelletier and Matt Coronato is gelling at the right time, and after game two Head Coach Trent Cull, mentioned his content with that line but also mentioned they have areas they can still further refine. Schwindt took game two into his hands and while the team couldn’t bring home the win, his effort didn’t go unnoticed. 
Someone else on the Wranglers who continues to shine is Dustin Wolf. He has been the go-to guy in net all post-season and just picked up an overtime loss last game. The goal was a little controversial due to the officiating on the last play but he’s not going to let that one get to him. In playoffs, Wolf sits at a 3-1 record with a 1.94 GAA and a .948 save percentage. 
For the Firebirds, captain Max McCormick was undeniably the most noticeable player in game two. He was crowding the net, antagonizing his opponents and creating opportunities. He was very obviously giving his 100% and was rewarded for it with the primary assist on the opening goal and the equalizer in the third that forced overtime. 

Game three expectations

The officials have done their best to control the on-ice emotions between these teams. They did a good job deescalating in the first two games but with this series close and shortened to a best-of-five, the hatred these two teams have for each other on the ice is bound to boil over. If either team takes a healthy lead, things could get completely out of control. So far the games have stayed mostly within a goal or two so taking a major penalty or an additional instigation penalty is not worth the risk of a power play going the other way. 
Speaking of the power play, this is an area for improvement for Calgary. They are getting opportunities with their special teams and aren’t converting on them. Coachella Valley’s penalty kill has been perfect through two games and not only is that a result of their defenders but also their goaltending in Chris Driedger. The Wranglers only have a 7.1% power play success rate in the Calder Cup Playoffs this year and have only scored once on the man advantage in their previous series against Tucson. 
We will see if the PIMs rise or fall in game three when the Wranglers play the Firebirds for the first road game of the series on Wednesday night. Puck drop is a little later due to the time change with an 8:00 p.m. MT start time. Streaming options are available over the radio on the Fan960 and video streaming on AHL.tv for a fee. Multiple FlamesNation contributors will have game updates on X (formerly Twitter).

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