BRYAN WILSON- 03.04.2023
That was a ‘Full 60’ … and then some.
The Wranglers staged an epic comeback on Saturday night in Colorado, scoring two late goals to tie the game and force extra time, eventually defeating the Eagles 6-5 in a shootout.
Ben Jones had a three-point night, notching his 13th goal of the season, on the powerplay, and adding two helpers, while Jeremie Poirier (1g, 1a) now has goals in back-to-back games. Dryden Hunt – who suited up for his first game with the Wranglers since being traded from Toronto – scored a stylish marker to register his first goal for Calgary and added an assist. Emilio Pettersen and Matthew Phillips scored in succession to tie the contest late in regulation to force extra time, where Poirier would score the shootout winner.
Dustin Wolf made 31-saves between the pipes to pick up his 32nd win of the season.
CGY Goal Scorers: Ben Jones – Jeremie Poirier – Dryden Hunt – Emilio Pettersen – Matthew Phillips
The start wasn’t ideal for the Wranglers. Despite outshooting the Eagles 13-6 in the opening frame, they trailed by two goals in the early stages of the first period.
Colorado took the lead on the powerplay when Oskar Olausson fired home his 11th of the season, walking in and letting-loose a quick wrist shot that whistled through traffic and into the net. (3:59). At the midway mark of the first, Alex Galchenyuk found the puck in the slot and ripped home a high-velocity shot passed Wolf to make it 2-0.
The Wranglers refused to quit all game long and would cut into the lead after a resilient effort by Jones on the powerplay, as he pounced on a puck – after battling for position in front of the net – and knocked it in.
Calgary trailed 2-1 at the break.
In the second period, Wolf deployed a massive pad save against Charles Hudon, who had good speed and a step to the net, but was robbed by the left leg of Wolf.
Later in the frame, Poirier scored his seventh goal of the season after he skated in from the point, pulled the puck to his backhand while drifting into an open area, and whipped a shot through traffic that found its way in.
Adam Klapka and Alex Gallant combined for the assists – the second time the two have done so in their last two contests.
Tie game after forty minutes. 2-2.
The Wranglers would take the lead early in the third period.
After recovering the loose puck in the corner, Jones sent a quick pass out front to Hunt who was left all alone. He deked to the backhand and went around the pad of Justus Annonen, tucking it in over the goal line.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Hudon scored two powerplay goals in succession to regain the Eagles’ lead. First, he picked up his own rebound off an initial shot, opted to go backhand and roofed it over Wolf. Later, he was a recipient of some efficient tic-tac-toe passing on the man-advantage, capping off the play with a well placed one-timer to make it 4-3.
Galchenyuk (2g, 2a) would extend the Colorado lead with his second goal of the game with less than four minutes remaining on the clock.
Desperate for a goal, the Wranglers pulled their goaltender, opting for the extra attacker with mere minutes left in regulation and the gamble paid off… twice!
First, Pettersen picked up a pass from Poirier, slid down the wall and zipped a puck high off the shoulder of Annonen and into the top of the net. 5-4. Then, with the clock ticking down, Phillips sent a puck into a maze of bodies in front. He pursued the rebound through the crowd, found the puck and managed to deposit it into the net from an almost impossible angle (behind the goal line) to tie the game at 5-5.
Overtime solved nothing so it was off to the shootout.
Poirier played hero for the Wranglers, scoring his third shootout goal in three attempts (3/3) this season. Wolf did what he needed to do, turning aside all three Eagles’ shooters to seal the deal for Calgary.
6-5 the final score.
These two teams will meet again on March 7 & 8 at the Scotiabank Saddledome… you won’t want to miss it!
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