BRYAN WILSON – 01.19.2024

No love lost.

The Wranglers fell 4-3 to the Firebirds in a physical contest at Acrisure Arena in Coachella Valley on Friday night.

Jonathan Aspirot scored his third goal for Calgary, as did Yan Kuznetsov, and Rory Kerins added his 10th tally of the season.

Walker Duehr picked up an assist in his first game since joining the Wranglers.

Oscar Dansk (6-4-2-0) got the start between the pipes for the Wranglers, turning aside 31-shots in the loss.

The Wranglers opened the scoring at the 7:36 mark of the first period.

Cole Schwindt carried the puck into the zone and dropped it back to a trailing Aspirot, who ripped a wrist-shot over the shoulder of Firebirds’ netminder, Ales Stezka. 1-0.

Dansk looked sharp in the opening frame stopping all 16 shots he faced.

1-0 at the break.

It got physical in the second period, as Alex Gallant dropped the mitts with Ian McKinnon for a spirited scrap at 7:10.

The Firebirds would tie the game moments later at the 9:19 mark, when Connor Carrick hammered a one-timer past Dansk. 1-1.

At 10:27, Lucas Ciona squared off for a quick tilt with Jimmy Schuldt which resulted in Firebirds’ powerplay.

On the ensuing advantage, Andrew Poturalski walked into a wrist-shot at the top of the circle to give the Firebirds the lead. (10:38).

2-1 after 40 minutes.

Coachella Valley extended their lead at 3:43 of the third period.

While shorthanded, Marian Studenic forced a turnover in the Firebirds’ end and rushed up the ice on a partial 2-on-0, faking the shot and passing across to Ville Petman, who tapped the puck into the open net. 3-1.

Later, Cameron Hughes pounced on a loose puck in front and slipped it past Dansk. 4-1.

Calgary would cut into the lead at 10:27 off a smooth backhand pass from William Stromgren to Kuznetsov, who snapped the puck through the five-hole of Stezka. 4-2.

Kerins would score to make it a one-goal game at 18:13, but that’s as close as Calgary would get, skating to 4-3 final.