BRYAN WILSON – 04.05.2023

Still on top.

The Wranglers (48-15-3-1) earned their 100th point of the season, while maintaining possession of top spot in the AHL, following a 3-1 win against the Firebirds on Wednesday night in Coachella Valley.

Ben Jones had a multi-point effort for Calgary with a goal and an assist, while Matthew Phillips extended his scoring streak to seven games, adding three helpers. Phillips has registered six straight multi-point games for the Wranglers. Dryden Hunt added his second goal since joining the Wranglers – which held up as the game-winner – and Clark Bishop scored his 11th goal of the season into the empty-net to seal it for Calgary.  He has four points (2G, 2A) in his last four games.

Dustin Wolf (40-9-2) was steady between the pipes, making 26 saves for his 40th win of the season and ninth ‘W’ in a row.

Wranglers win 3-1.

CGY Goal Scorers: Ben Jones – Dryden Hunt – Clark Bishop

The first period had a playoff feel to it right from the drop of the puck, although both teams were a bit tentative to start. The Wranglers penalty kill was effective in the first period, killing off both Firebirds powerplays, while Wolf was busy, turning aside nine shots in the frame. Joey Daccord stopped all eight shots he faced for Coachella Valley.

It was scoreless after 20 minutes.

The Wranglers found themselves in a 5-on-3 shorthanded situation in the second period, but managed to kill it off. The Firebirds’ best chance on the Coachella powerplay was denied by Wolf, who got just enough of a backdoor chance by Cameron Hughes, as he slid across the crease to get his body on the puck. Wolf felt it fall underneath him and lay back to get the whistle.

The Wranglers would open the scoring a few moments later, courtesy of Jones, who took a pass from Phillips and zipped a shot into the back of the net for his 16th goal of the season.

1-0 Wranglers after 40 minutes.

In the opening minute of the third period, Brett Sutter finished an open ice check and was subsequently challenged to a fight by Hughes. The two combatants dropped their mitts for a spirited tilt.

Later, Cole Lind was alone in front of the net and found the puck on his stick with plenty of time to pick his spot and fire a shot past Wolf to tie the game. 1-1.

The Wranglers would get a 5-on-3 chance of their own a few minutes later, but couldn’t convert. However, they kept pressing.

After establishing a lengthy cycle game in the offensive zone, Phillips spotted Hunt out front. He one-timed a shot that trickled through Daccord to give the Wranglers the lead.

Bishop would add an empty netter to seal it for Calgary, who once again hold top spot in the AHL. They are the first team to reach 100 points this season.

Next up for the Wranglers, they head to San Diego for a weekend series against the Gulls beginning on Friday. (Apr.7)