BRYAN WILSON – 05.11.2023

Forget this one and move on.

The Wranglers took on the Coachella Valley Firebirds in Game 1 of the Pacific Division Finals, falling 6-3 at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday night.

Jakob Pelletier scored his second goal of the playoffs, Dryden Hunt had a two-point performance with a goal and an assist, while Adam Klapka found the back of the net and now has goals in back-to-back games.

CGY Goal Scorers – Jakob Pelletier – Dryden Hunt – Adam Klapka

It wasn’t exactly the start the Wranglers were hoping for, as the Firebirds struck quickly in the first period.

Luke Henman notched his second goal of the playoffs at the 1:48 mark of the frame to give Coachella Valley an early 1-0 lead.

The Firebirds would add to the lead a few minutes later, at 4:39, as Jeremy McKenna redirected a point shot passed Wolf. 2-0 Firebirds.

However, the Wranglers continued to press and would eventually cut into the lead, courtesy of the powerplay.  Set up nicely in the offensive zone, Matthew Phillips spotted Hunt with a quick cross-seam pass, he then sent the puck quickly backdoor to Pelletier who redirected the puck by Joey Daccord and into the net. 2-1.

Coachella Valley would answer back moments later with a goal from Max McCormick, his sixth goal of the playoffs, to regain the two-goal edge.

It wouldn’t last though, as just over a minute later, the Wranglers skated up the ice and Walker Duehr flipped a zone pass to Hunt, who picked up the puck and ripped it glove side to draw the Wranglers within one.

3-2 at the break.

Once again, the Firebirds lit the lamp in the early going to extend their lead. Just 38 seconds into the second period, Cole Lind wired home his fifth of the postseason with a blast from the hashmarks. 4-2.

Calgary would answer back, however, after an initial shot from Jeremie Poirier was stopped, the rebound popped out onto the stick of Klapka who deposited it into the back of the net for his third goal of the postseason to close within a goal. 4-3.

Coachella Valley took over for the remainder of the period.

First, Carsen Twarynski sent a shot through traffic that eluded Dustin Wolf to extend the lead to 5-3. Oscar Dansk would enter the game in relief, taking over for Wolf between the pipes.

The first shot Dansk faced came off the stick of Lind – on the powerplay – as he wired home his second goal of the game in almost identical fashion to his first . Cameron Hughes assisted on the goal and in total, picked up four helpers in the contest.

After all the offence in the first 40 minutes, the third period was scoreless, as the Firebirds began clogging up the neutral zone, making it difficult for the Wranglers to establish any meaningful zone time in the final 20 minutes.

6-3 would be the final score.

The Wranglers will need a short memory, as Game 2 is set for Friday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Puck drop is 7pm. CLICK FOR TICKETS.