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Wranglers post-season recap: Special teams returns but high scoring game doesn’t go their way

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Photo credit:Photo by Mike Zitek/Coachella Valley Firebirds
Paige Siewert
1 month ago
After a heartbreaking overtime loss on Sunday, the Calgary Wranglers hit the road to try and get ahead in the playoff series against the Coachella Valley Firebirds. Going into game three, these two were an even 1-1 in the series with just between two to three games to go in their best of five, this game had huge meaning behind it. It was a very high-scoring game that opened right up in the third and while Calgary went toe to toe with Coachella Valley’s goals, they couldn’t get a timely goal late in the third to even things up once again. The Wranglers fell 7-5 and have to win the next two games to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Game at a glance

Calgary and Coachella Valley rolled with the same lineups for this game including the same netminders in Dustin Wolf and Chris Driedger. This game had very early action when Shane Wright took the first shot on Wolf just 53 seconds in. The fans thought the puck was in but it was immediately waved off due to Wolf being pushed back into his net. 
After the stress of that early play died down, the Wranglers found themselves on the first power play of the game at 3:50. They finally had some success on the man advantage for the first time this series with a passing play Jonathan Aspirot finished off with a slap shot from the point. This goal came at 5:47 and was assisted by William Stromgren and Jeremie Poirier. 
The Firebirds kept up with the Wranglers early in this game with an answer-back goal at 11:20. Calgary was trying to clear the puck but John Hayden was in the mid-slot waiting for a giveaway. He took a shot and beat Wolf with a goal that Cameron Hughes assisted on. 
Coachella Valley continued to push with another goal less than a minute later. Jacob Melanson went for the wraparound and while Colton Poolman tried to break it up, Melanson flipped the puck from a sharp angle and scored. His goal was assisted by Luke Henman and Gustav Olofsson.
Calgary was called for their first penalty of the game at 14:28 when Riley Damiani was called for roughing. This penalty kill was successful and the period wrapped up shortly after. At the end of the first 20 minutes, the Firebirds led the Wranglers 2-1 and shots were evened up 10-10. 
The Wranglers had some cleaning up to do in the second period and made some progress early. Devin Shore was called for interference at 2:49 and just six seconds into the power play, Adam Klapka evened up the score by jamming the puck past Driedger and broke his stick on the play. Sam Morton and Jeremie Poirier assisted. 
The Wranglers were back on the power play at 5:39 but their man advantage was cut short by a tripping call against William Stromgren. There was 1:43 of play on the board for the four-on-four and Marian Studenic was right on the spot for an undefended rebound he got around Dustin Wolf at 6:01. Connor Carrick and Devin Shore assisted on the Firebirds’ third goal of the evening. 
About 30 seconds later, Ryker Evans was called for tripping and the Wranglers were on a four-on-three. These penalties came and went then Adam Klapka was called for interference at 16:35. Shortly after this penalty expired, the Wranglers found themselves on a late power play with just over a minute to go in the period. 
At the end of the second, the Wranglers were trailing 3-2 but ahead 14-11 in the shot category. The Wranglers had 57 seconds of a power play to work with to start the third and just after this power play expired, Jeremie Poirier spun his way into the zone and took a shot that sailed past Driedger. Poirier’s first goal of the playoffs and his third point of the night was assisted by Jonathan Aspirot and William Stromgren.
The Wranglers had another opportunity on the power play at 5:47 but the Firebirds took the play into their own hands. Marian Studenic broke out and faked like he was going to pass and shot instead to beat Wolf at 6:19. 
The Wranglers used their power play to their advantage and managed to answer back less than a minute later with Cole Schwindt’s fourth goal of the post-season right in the slot. Schwindt’s goal was assisted by Matt Coronato and Mitch McLain at 7:03.
Just 51 seconds after this goal, Adam Klapka was called for high-sticking and it did end up being a double minor. The Wranglers weren’t able to contain the Firebirds’ power play units for this extended period of time and Devin Shore scored the go-ahead goal just 22 seconds into the power play off a bar-down shot.
Calgary continued on the penalty kill but only managed to kill off a minute of power play time before the Firebirds struck again. Max McCormick scored at 9:18 off a tip-in and put Coachella Valley up two. 
The Wranglers didn’t let this sequence of events get them down and did their best to keep up with their opponents. Jakob Pelletier came up big with his first goal of the playoffs at 11:44 and put the Wranglers back within one. The lone assist on this marker was Colton Poolman. 
In the second half of the period, the Wranglers were having a lot of trouble controlling the puck and getting good looks in the offensive zone. It took them quite a bit to get controlled enough to pull Dustin Wolf and once they did, Jordan Oesterle prevented an empty netter with some great hustle. However, in the last 10 seconds, Max McCormick scored an empty netter and pretty well closed the door on the game.
The Wranglers fell for the second game in a row with a final score of 7-5. Shots finished 37-36 for the Firebirds and the Wranglers had a much better showing on the power play going three for seven. The Firebirds went two for five on their power play opportunities 

Scoring stat summary

Jeremie Poirier – 1G, 2A
Colton Poolman – 1A
Mitch McLain – 1A
Cole Schwindt – 1G
Matt Coronato – 1A
Adam Klapka – 1G
William Stromgren – 2A
Sam Morton – 1A
Jonathan Aspirot – 1G, 1A
Jakob Pelletier – 1G

Next up

There will for sure be one game left in this series on Friday night. Puck drop is set for the same time as Wednesday’s game with an 8:00 p.m. MT start. It will be a must-win for the Wranglers and if they do not, their season will end and the Firebirds will advance. If the series evens up again on Friday, their possible game five will take place in Coachella Valley at 4:00 p.m. MT.
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