BRYAN WILSON – 05.12.2023

The Wranglers and Firebirds faced off for Game 2 at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday night, with Calgary evening up the series at 1-1, following a 3-2 win.

Connor Zary scored a highlight reel goal to get things started for Calgary and Jakob Pelletier scored his third goal of the post season. Captain Brett Sutter’s third period tally would hold up as the game winner, while Jeremie Poirier notched two assists and picked up the ‘First Star’ nod.

Dustin Wolf turned in a solid performance between the pipes for the Wranglers, making 31 saves for the win.

CGY Goal Scorers – Connor Zary – Jakob Pelletier – Brett Sutter

Compared to Game 1, this was a much better start for the Wranglers in the first period, as they came out physical, played with pace and created numerous chances in the offensive end. Clark Bishop set the tone physically in Game 2 – a fantastic performance – as he wracked up hit, after hit, after hit.

Late in the frame, the Wranglers were rewarded for their efforts. With seconds ticking down on a Calgary powerplay, Zary picked up the puck in his own zone and skated it up through centre ice, crossing the blueline with speed. He then proceeded to a dance around the Firebirds’ defenceman and drove straight to the net. He picked his spot over the glove of Joey Daccord to give Calgary the 1-0 lead – their first lead of the series.

It was short-lived, however.

Just 43 seconds later, Shane Wright took an initial shot that rang off the post, but Kole Lind hopped on the rebound and whipped it into the back of the net. Tie game.

1-1 at the break.

Calgary regained the lead in the second period.

The offensive chance all started with textbook defence from Matthew Phillips. Skating back into the defensive zone, he forced a turnover with a quick stick, intercepting a pass at the line. He then advanced swiftly up the ice and sent a pass to Poirier, who labeled a shot off the post on a one-timer, but the puck popped out onto the stick of Pelletier who fired it into the back of the net.  2-1.

The Wranglers had a double dose of grade-A chances while shorthanded in the period. First, Ben Jones had a long breakaway that was turned aside by the blocker of Daccord. Later, Sutter sent a backdoor pass off the rush to Pelletier who was driving the net, but he directed the puck just wide of the net.

2-1 after 40 minutes.

In the third period,

Kevin Rooney got the play started with some tremendous work along the boards. After gaining possession, he shoveled the puck up to Rubins at the line, who sent a shot towards the net. Sutter got a stick on it, redirecting it just enough to find the back of the net.

Gustav Olofsson cut into the lead with a goal at 7:59, but Wolf and the Wranglers would hold on for the win, tying the series at 1-1.

3-2 final.

Next, the series shifts to Palm Springs for Game 3 on Monday.