BRYAN WILSON – 05.15.2023
Following the Game 1 setback, it was important for the Wranglers to get back to playing their game in Game 2.
That’s what everyone was saying at least. But what does that mean?
Clark Bishop provided a perfect example of that in Game 2 and spoke about the style of game the Wranglers look to play every night.
“We all know in that dressing room what kind of game we need to play. It’s that hard type of hockey. We’re built for the playoffs, and we know what we need to do to succeed,” said Bishop.
Calgary finished second in the Pacific Division with 256 goals scored during the regular season, but they also finished tops in the AHL on the penalty kill (85.1%) and led the league with the lowest goals against (174).
The Wranglers game – in other words – features a little bit of everything.
As the adage goes, actions speak louder than words, and the Wranglers backed up their rhetoric with a solid Game 2 performance on Friday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
In a series that was projected to be a track meet, with two high octane offences going head-to-head, there wasn’t as much made of the physicality heading into this series. (Especially after the war of attrition that was the Canucks series). One player who led the charge in a big way was Bishop. He finished the game with upwards of a dozen hits, many of which were of the bone-crushing variety. It was noticeable… it was necessary.
“I think that’s when I’m at my best,” explained Bishop. “Being physical, hard to play against, hard on the puck. Speed comes in as a factor in my game as well, and I think that all combines into my game.”
As the lone Wranglers’ player with a Calder Cup ring, Bishop has been providing an example on the ice of what it takes to reach the top, but he’s also a voice in the room, sharing what he’s learned and imparting his insights to his teammates, especially when talking about the challenges inherent with a long playoff run.
“You play a lot of extra hockey games,” Bishop revealed. “Your body takes a beating, but at the end of it, the challenge is definitely worth it.”
As for his message to his teammates about the postseason grind.
“Just stay loose, take it day by day. Make every day feel like it’s just a normal day coming to the rink. It’s obviously a different kind of hockey game when the puck drops, but at the same time, it’s just another day coming to the rink and playing hockey.”
Looking ahead to Game 3, the approach isn’t expected to change much from the previous game. It’s a simple game plan, it’s the execution that can be difficult, but Bishop and the Wranglers are ready to go.
“It’s going to be a hard-fought battle. They have a good team; a good crowd and the rink is going to be buzzing. We know what we need to do to come out on top.”