TORIE PETERSON – 05.15.2023
The Wranglers look to grab a 2-1 series lead in the Pacific Division Final tonight, clashing with the Coachella Valley Firebirds at 8:00 p.m. MT.
AHL TV will carry the stream while Sportsnet 960 The FAN will host the radio broadcast.
Calgary heads into Game 3 with plenty of momentum from their win at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday. After a rocky start to the series that saw them drop Game 1 by a score of 6-3, they stormed back in Game 2 to even things up with a 3-2 victory. Connor Zary, Jakob Pelletier, and Brett Sutter scored while Dustin Wolf made 31 saves on the 33 shots he faced.
“That was a little more of a playoff brand of hockey for us,” head coach Mitch Love said afterwards.
“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 over there.”
Heading into Game 3, Pelletier, Walker Duehr, Dryden Hunt, Matthew Phillips, and Jeremie Poirier lead the club with two points each in the series.
Regular Season Head-To-Head – 4-4-0
It should come as no surprise that this series is tied, given how tightly-contested the regular season season series was. The two teams, who were the only clubs in the AHL to post 100+ points in 2022-23, split their eight-game set with the Wranglers edging the Firebirds 29-27 in goals scored.
Oct. 16, 2022 – 6-5 CV
Oct. 17, 2022 – 3-1 CV
Oct. 28, 2022 – 6-4 CGY
Oct. 29, 2022 – 5-3 CV
Nov. 22, 2022 – 5-3 CGY
Nov. 24, 2022 – 4-3 CV
Mar. 1, 2023 – 3-1 CGY
Apr. 5, 2023 – 3-1 CGY
Player To Watch – Connor Zary
The Flames’ 2020 first-round pick has played well throughout the playoffs but until Game 2 of the Pacific Division Final, he hadn’t managed to light the lamp.
He had that weight lifted on Friday, not only scoring but finding the back of the net in highlight-reel fashion.
“Connor’s a guy that wants to make plays. He’s an offensive player, that’s been his calling card his whole career,” Love said. “There’s a process to doing that, this time of year it’s tough to score, and you’ve got to do things away from the puck in order to get the puck back to make plays offensively.”
Zary has three points through six postseason skates. In the regular season, he scored 21 goals and 58 points in 72 games.
Kristians Rubins on being a part of the Wranglers playoff run:
“I absolutely love it. Haven’t had the chance to be in the playoffs since my Kelly Cup run, but it’s been good to extend the season and be around the guys here. I feel fortunate to be here and for getting traded here.”
Connor Zary on scoring his first goal in the playoffs on Friday:
“It felt great obviously, I’ve been stymied a little bit in the first few games of the playoffs here and just to get that one in the back of the net and get that confidence back is good for me.”
Mitch Love on the road match-up with Coachella Valley:
“If you want to be a good team and you want to have a deep run in the playoffs, you’ve got to 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.”