BRYAN WILSON – 04.15.2023
A job well done.
The Wranglers wrapped up their regular season on the road with a hard fought 3-2 win over the Abbotsford Canucks on Saturday night and capture the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy for most wins in the regular season (51), plus a Pacific Division title and first-round bye in the playoffs.
Nick DeSimone scored a goal and added an assist in the contest, Dryden Hunt notched his ninth goal of the season, plus a helper, while Adam Klapka picked up the game-winning tally for Calgary.
Dustin Wolf made 28 saves in net for the Wranglers to register his 42nd win on the season. (42-10-2)
CGY Goal Scorers – Nick DeSimone – Dryden Hunt – Adam Klapka
It was fast and physical to start the first period, as the Wranglers came out of the gates with good energy, and it was evident early on that some animosity had carried over from the previous games.
Not surprising then, to see the rough stuff kick off early.
Kevin Rooney finished a hard check and wound up dropping the mitts with Tristen Nielsen, with Rooney scoring the takedown in an otherwise even tilt.
Wolf was steady through the opening 20 minutes, turning aside 11 shots in the period, including a highlight reel glove grab to rob Justin Dowling.
Scoreless after 20 minutes.
The Canucks would take the lead at the 5:15 mark the second period.
With good speed entering the Wranglers’ zone, Danila Klimovich took a pass from Aatu Raty and ripped a shot glove-side on Wolf to give the Canucks the lead. 1-0.
It was a grind in the second period, but the Wranglers stayed persistent and eventually found the tying marker.
At 12:19 Hunt skated out from behind the net and sent a pass to DeSimone, who fired a quick one-time shot passed Canucks netminder, Arturs Silovs.
It was a massive goal for the Wranglers, helping them build confidence for the remainder of the period and heading into the break.
1-1 after 40 minutes.
The third period didn’t go the Wranglers’ way to start.
Abbotsford would regain the lead 1:36 into the final frame when Max Sasson scored his first career AHL goal, parking himself in front of the net and redirecting a point shot into the back of the net. 2-1 Canucks.
The Wranglers kept pressing, however, and would capitalize on a powerplay at the 5:18 mark. After Phillips gained the zone, DeSimone found Jakob Pelletier who spotted Hunt with a cross-seam pass. Hunt walked in and wired the tying goal into the top of the net. 2-2.
A few minutes later, Ilya Solvoyov made a nice play at the blueline and sent a shot on goal. The puck tipped off Klapka, who was parked in front, and found its way into the net. The goal would hold up as the game-winner.
The Wranglers finish their inaugural season with 51 wins, 106 points and a .736 points percentage. Their record of (51-17-3-1) ranks as the ninth-best in AHL history.