Wranglers Playoff Recap: Wranglers even up series with 3-2 redemption game
Photo credit:David Moll/Calgary Wranglers
17 days ago
The Wranglers didn’t start their series against the Firebirds they would have hoped, dropping game one 6-3 on Thursday night. They had very little time to dwell on their loss and had to bounce back quickly with game two taking place the following night on Friday. They got the jump they hoped for and ended up beating Coachella Valley 3-2 at home and tying the series 1-1.
Dryden Hunt – Ben Jones – Matthew Phillips
Jakob Pelletier – Cole Schwindt – Walker Duehr
Brett Sutter – Clark Bishop – Kevin Rooney
Emilio Pettersen – Connor Zary – Adam Klapka
Ilya Solovyov – Nick DeSimone
Jeremie Poirier – Colton Poolman
Kristians Rubins – Josh Brook
Game at a glance
Calgary came out of the gates with a great pace and their fair share of shots to start the game. They were getting high-danger scoring chances and putting up big hits to really set the tone. Their efforts would be rewarded late in the first period when Connor Zary danced around in the offensive zone and scored his first goal of the playoffs on the power play. Jeremie Poirier and Walker Duehr assisted.
43 seconds later, the Firebirds answered back with their first goal of the game from Kole Lind. An awkward turnover behind the Wolf ended up in the back of the net and tied the game up 1-1. After a full 20 minutes, the Wranglers outshot the Firebirds 13-7.
In the second period, the Wranglers kept their foot on the gas pedal and got another goal early on. Jakob Pelletier got a good piece of a rebound along the boards and threw the puck on net and scored goal number two for Calgary. Jeremie Poirier and Matthew Phillips assisted on Pelletier’s third goal of the post-season.
After this goal, the Wranglers killed off a trio of penalties and Adam Klapka got some of the physical game started later in the period that resulted in a four-on-four. This also boiled over a little more at the end of the period. No further scoring took place in the second and the Wranglers went into the third ahead 2-1 despite Coachella Valley doubling them up in shots in the second 14-7 in the middle frame.
In the third, the Firebirds were visibly pushing for a comeback. They didn’t let up and were itching for a goal to tie things up once again. Calgary earned themselves a bit of a cushion with a goal from Brett Sutter 3:45 into the third. He deflected a shot in from Kristians Rubins and Kevin Rooney picked up the secondary assist on Sutter’s first game of the playoffs.
The Firebirds kept pace and got a goal back on the board 7:59 into the third from Gustav Olofsson. He jumped on a loose puck and ripped a shot past Wolf. This helped Coachella Valley maintain their jump but the Wranglers kept their composure and pushed through the remainder of the period.
Coachella Valley pulled Joey Daccord with 2:03 to go in regulation for the extra attacker and took a timeout with 1:35 to go after an icing call. They got a few shots on goal to end the game but Wolf held things town in net to keep this game at a 3-2 score for his squad. He stopped 31/33 Firebirds shots and the Wranglers put up 27 shots of their own.
The thoughts on this game were understandably more positive during post-game interviews and Head Coach Mitch Love commented on Calgary’s play saying,
“It was a little more of a playoff brand of hockey for us tonight. That’s what it’s going to take to beat this team. They’re heavy, they’re hard. There’s a lot of second effort out there and if we don’t match, it’s not going to be a very long series.”
Jeremie Poirier picked up the first star of the night for his two assists, Brett Sutter picked up the second star of the night for his game-winning goal and Connor Zary picked up the third star for his goal that started everything in the first period.
The pressure of the remaining road games is not as tense as it could’ve been if they lost this game. They get to reset and focus on winning a best of three now. Mitch Love commented on his mindset going into next week. He said,
“If you want to be a good team and you want to have a deep run in the playoffs, you gotta win on the road and that’s what we’re faced with now. Whether it takes us two or three games down there to find two more wins, we’ll just worry about Monday and go from there.”
This series continues into next week when the Wranglers will head to Palm Springs to play the rest of the series in the Firebirds’ barn. Game three is set for Monday, May 15 at 8 p.m. MT.
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