BRYAN WILSON – 02.03.2023
Now that was a fantastic finish.
The Wranglers and Condors battled for the second time in as many nights, treating the fans to a fast-paced, physical game on Friday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary came out victorious, thanks to a goal late in the game to take it by a 2-1 score.
Brett Sutter scored his 12th goal of the season and second tally in as many games, with an assist going to Ben Jones, who registered his 100th career AHL point on the play. Walker Duehr scored the game-winner with seconds remaining in the game to seal it and Matthew Phillips picked up a pair of assists in the contest.
Oscar Dansk started the game for the Wranglers but was forced to leave midway through after a collision in the crease, so Dustin Wolf drew back in to finish the game, turning aside 12 shots to pick up his 26th win of the season.
CGY Goal Scorers: Brett Sutter – Walker Duehr
The first period didn’t exactly start the way the Wranglers intended.
A giveaway in front of the net led to the first goal of the game by the Condors when Dino Kambeitz, who was patrolling in the high slot, had the puck essentially placed on his stick and he walked in and ripped the puck passed Dansk to give Bakersfield the lead.
The Wranglers’ AHL leading penalty-kill (86.3%) was tested often in the first period, killing off a series of penalties including a 5-on-3 opportunity. Dansk stopped 11 of 12 shots he faced to keep the game close after 20 minutes.
Tensions between the two teams began to rise significantly in the second period. It all started when Raphael Lavoie lost an edge as he was skating full speed towards the Wranglers net and collided hard into Dansk, forcing him to leave the game.
Momentum began to shift in Calgary’s favour after that.
The Wranglers got an extended 5-on-3 powerplay moments later and they took advantage. With the powerplay setup in the offensive zone, Jones worked the puck down to Phillips who quickly sent a pass to the stick of Sutter who redirected the puck past Calvin Pickard to tie the game.
1-1 after 40 minutes.
The third period picked up were the second frame left off in terms of physicality.
Minutes in, Klapka finished a big hit in the defensive zone and consequently was challenged to a scrap by Alex Peters, which he accepted. Both combatants traded blows before wrestling each other to the ice, sparking the crowd into a frenzy.
With time ticking down in the game and overtime looming, the Wranglers rumbled up the ice and into the Condors’ end. Duehr did a nice job staying onside, protecting the puck as he crossed the blueline and found a streaking Phillips, who skated behind the net and, instead of an obvious wraparound try, he sent a perfect pass back to Duehr who zipped the puck into the back of the net with less than five seconds remaining in regulation to win it.
2-1 the final score.
The Wranglers head into the AHL All-Star break sitting in first place in the AHL, with a record of 31-11-2.