SANDRA PRUSINA – 04.10.2023

With the home portion of the Wranglers current campaign in the books, I wanted to reflect on some memorable moments as we saw unfold from the broadcast booth.

Jeremie Poirier already had the distinction of scoring the first Wranglers goal, but the rookie blueliner also lit the lamp in overtime on Nov. 27 versus Abbotsford — Calgary’s first overtime victory. The back-and-forth afternoon tilt brought a slew of Canucks fans to the Scotiabank Saddledome, and to be fair, I think the game could’ve gone either way.

Both goalies were stellar: Dustin Wolf faced nearly 40 shots, and Arturs Silovs was peppered 41 times. I remember looking around the building as the Wranglers were celebrating the OT victory and seeing the frustration of the Canucks faithful. A rivalry was born!

(Photo by Eric Boldt/Calgary Wranglers)

The Dec. 21 tilt against Ontario had been circled since the start of the season: Brett Sutter’s 1,000th AHL game. For many of us, it was the first time witnessing a player presented with a silver stick, and the organization did a brilliant job honouring the man seeing his career come full circle. And the game itself was a fairytale. The captain scored shorthanded, the eventual winner, against his former team, put up a multi-point performance, and was named the first star.

The building was electric that night. Maybe it was the suite full of Sutters, generations of the storied hockey family on hand for the century milestone, or perhaps it was realizing on a human level how truly difficult it is to reach the 1,000 mark. I’m still not sure. But Peter Loubardias, who was with me in the booth that night, explained it was an evening he was glad he didn’t miss.

CALGARY, AB – DECEMBER 21, 2022: The Calgary Wranglers against the Ontario Reign at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday night (Angela Burger/Calgary Wranglers).

We’d already seen a few editions of the Battle of Alberta – AHL-style – at the Saddledome. Still, the contest between Calgary and Bakersfield on Feb. 3 was significant for this team and the man who scored the game-winner with five seconds to go. Walker Duehr saw the Herd erupt when he found the back of the net late in a meeting that seemed destined for overtime. It was a clutch goal for the winger, now emerging into an NHL regular with the big club.

Let’s have more of these moments in the playoffs, yes?

Odds and ends:

  • Matthew Phillips is on the cusp of AHL history. Over the weekend, he netted his 15th game-winner of the year, tying a mark set by Jeff Hamilton in 2003-04
  • The Wranglers wrap their regular season with three straight at the Abbotsford Canucks this week
  • Calgary’s inching closer to capturing first in the Pacific Division and finishing top in the league. The Wranglers’ magic number is three to clinch the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy for regular-season champs.