BRYAN WILSON – 11.11.2023
A statement win.
The Wranglers (8-1-1) move into first place in the Pacific Division after picking up their second straight win; a 4-1 victory on the road against the Coachella Valley Firebirds on Saturday night.
Ilya Nikolaev notched his first tally of the season, Emilio Pettersen scored the game winning goal and added an assist, while Adam Klapka and Dryden Hunt (EN) both lit the lamp for the Wranglers.
Hunt now has four points (1g,3a) in two games with Calgary, and Rory Kerins extended his scoring streak to four games with an assist.
Oscar Dansk (3-0-1) was dialed in, turning aside 40 of 41 shots he faced for his third win of the season.
Play was even through the first period, but the Firebirds pushed late and forced Dansk to make 13 saves in the opening frame.
Coachella Valley took the lead at 17:50, when Ville Ottavainen scored his first career AHL goal firing a shot off the rush that eluded Dansk, giving Coachella Valley the 1-0 lead.
Things got chippy midway through the frame when Mitch McLain dropped the mitts for a rumble with Ian McKinnon.
1-0 at the break.
Dansk was solid in the second period, making a series of big saves to give the Wranglers a chance to battle back.
Calgary would strike twice late in the period to take the lead.
At 16:35, Nikolaev took a pass from Pettersen and, as he stepped to the net, he wired a wrist-shot by Firebirds netminder, Chris Driedger.
Then, with just 13 seconds left in the frame, Pettersen pounced on a loose puck in front of the Firebirds’ net, spinning around and swatting it into the back of the net.
2-1 Wranglers after 40 minutes.
Klapka added some insurance in the third period, scoring his fifth goal of the season with a shot through the five-hole of Driedger to extend the lead. 3-1.
Hunt would put the game out of reach, scoring into the empty net at 18:27.