BRYAN WILSON – 01.01.2024

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Penalties were problematic for the Wranglers, who dropped the series’ opener 6-1 to the Coachella Valley Firebirds at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday afternoon.

Yan Kuznetsov scored his second goal of the season for Calgary, while Adam Klapka notched his 10th assist (20pts.).

Dustin Wolf made his 19th start of the season (13-5-1-3) turning aside 34 shots.

The Firebirds opened the scoring at 5:09 of the first period.

With the puck sitting loose in the high-slot, John Hayden picked it up and fired it five-hole on Wolf. 1-0.

The Wranglers answered back just 32-seconds later off an offensive zone faceoff win by Adam Klapka, who sent the puck straight back to Kuznetsov at the blueline; he quickly whipped the puck on net and past Firebirds’ netminder, Ales Stezka.

1-1 at the break.

Coachella Valley took the lead in the second period.

On the powerplay at 3:57, off an initial point-shot from Ryker Evans, Kole Lind pounced on a rebound at the side of the net and swatted it past Wolf. 2-1.

With another advantage at 6:33, Jacob Melanson took a pass alone in front and deposited the puck into the net. 3-1.

The Firebirds added another marker in the middle frame when Hayden scored his second goal of the contest to extend the lead.

4-1 Firebirds through 40 minutes.

It was a similar story in the third period, as the Firebirds tacked on two extra tallies.

At 1:27, Andrew Poturalski found a fortuitous loose puck at the edge of the blue paint, and as he was driving the net, shoved it in. 5-1.

Coachella Valley added another goal at the 12:57 mark courtesy of Ryan Winterton to close out the scoring.

6-1.