Wranglers Playoff Recap: Game four shutout win earns Calgary a game five
Photo credit:Mike Zitek/Coachella Valley Firebirds
6 months ago
The Calgary Wranglers had an imperative objective in game four against the Coachella Valley Firebirds on Wednesday night. They needed a win. Facing a visiting crowd and coming off a triple overtime loss, they had roadblocks to work through to reach their short term goal of making a five game series out of this playoff match-up. They were successful in their efforts and tied up the series 2-2 with a 1-0 win in Palm Springs.
Only one player change occurred for the Wranglers for game four. Yan Kuznetsov returned to the lineup in place of Josh Brook and Mitch Love made some adjustments to the lines with Schwindt up to the top line and Jones down to the fourth line.
Jakob Pelletier – Cole Schwindt – Matthew Phillips
Dryden Hunt – Connor Zary – Walker Duehr
Brett Sutter – Clark Bishop – Kevin Rooney
Emilio Pettersen – Ben Jones – Adam Klapka
Ilya Solovyov – Nick DeSimone
Jeremie Poirier – Colton Poolman
Kristians Rubins – Yan Kuznetsov
Game at a glance
The Wranglers were understandably fired up to start this game. They started with an incredible pace and effort that really showed the game plan they were looking to follow. Beat Joey Daccord. To do that you have to shoot and if you shoot enough times, things are bound to go your way at some point.
The Wranglers put up 16 shots through the first 20 minutes and not one of them made it past Daccord. Instead, things almost got going in the other direction in favour of Coachella Valley. Max McCormick got right in Wolf’s crease and Wolf visibly pushed him away two times before the puck slipped past the Wranglers netminder.
McCormick only got to celebrate for a few seconds before the officials waved the goal off for goaltender interference. They took some additional time to review and discuss the play but the results ended the same. No goal for Coachella Valley.
The first period ended with a scoreless fate and the Wranglers outshooting the Firebirds 16-9. In the second period, the Wranglers continued their quest for a goal and were successful on the power play 7:20 into the middle frame. The promotion of Schwindt up to the top line paid off for the team with him being the lone goal scorer in this game.
Daccord already went down to make a save and Schwindt took a shot high glove side that found the back of the net. Dryden Hunt and Jakob Pelletier assisted on his marker.
On the next play, Clark Bishop also found the back of the net but Kevin Rooney made contact with Daccord and it was quite blatantly another goaltender interference call. The remainder of the second went on without any additional goals, waved off or not. Coachella Valley had the edge in shots 9-8 in the second but Calgary had the edge in the score 1-0.
Shots were exactly the same through the third but all nine of those Firebirds’ shots had a lot more on the line. Dustin Wolf went into lights out mode and nothing was going to get past him. The Wranglers had 20 minutes to make it through this game and they pulled together and protected their narrow lead.
Joey Daccord was pulled with 1:07 to go in regulation, though his on-ice body language suggests he would have liked to skate off earlier. It was a long remaining minute but even an extra attacker was not enough to beat Wolf in this one.
The Wranglers held on and won game four 1-0 with the possibility of elimination looming over them. Dustin Wolf picked up the first star with the postseason shutout, Cole Schwindt was credited with the second star for his game winner and Dryden Hunt earned the third star for his assist on the game-winner. They have earned a game five and the next game will decide with certainty who the Pacific Division winner will be.
This best of five will go the whole way. The AHL is unique in the playoff formats and unfortunately game five doesn’t come back to Calgary. As the higher seeded team, the Wranglers had the choice between playing the first two at home or the last three at home. They opted for the format that would put them on the road for the last three games. Game five takes place this Friday in Palm Springs at 8:00 p.m. MT.
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