The Wranglers hosted the Ontario Reign Tuesday night for the first of two games at the Scotiabank Saddledome this week.
It was the first time these two teams have met this season, although you wouldn’t know it by watching, as both teams were fired up and feisty on a frozen Tuesday night.
Martin Pospisil scored twice in his first game back in the lineup after missing the last couple of weeks, Brett Sutter scored the game-winner against his old club, as Calgary downed Ontario 4-1 on Tuesday night.
Walker Duehr notched his ninth goal of the season for the Wranglers, while Jeremie Poirier, Connor Zary and Emilio Pettersen each added two assists. Dustin Wolf turned aside 37-shots to pick up his league-leading 15th win of the season.
Colton Poolman appeared in his 100th AHL career game, as the Wranglers were without the services Nick DeSimone and Dennis Gilbert on the blue line, after both were recently recalled by the Flames, so it was important to set the tone defensively, early on.
The first period had good pace, with both clubs exchanging chances throughout, but it remained scoreless after 20 minutes. Cal Petersen turned aside all nine shots he faced for Ontario, while Wolf stopped 13 of 13 for Calgary.
The weather outside was downright frosty, but things got very heated in the second period.
It started with a goal from Pospisil, after he drove the net and promptly redirected a shot from Josh Brook past Petersen for his third goal of the season, giving the Wranglers a 1-0 lead.
Then, Adam Klapka took over. He absolutely levelled his man with a devastating body check, which resulted in a challenge to drop the mitts from Samuel Helenius. The fight did not last long, however, as Klapka took care of business by ending the bout with a single, resounding connection.
Late in the frame, with the Wranglers on a powerplay, Zary sent a hard pass towards the front of the net where Sutter had taken up residence. The puck redirected in, with Sutter getting credit for his fifth goal of the season and the first tally against his former team.
It was 2-0 heading into the break.
The Wranglers padded their lead in the third period.
First, Duehr walked into a shot, blasting it past Pettersen for the second powerplay goal of the game extending the Wranglers lead to 3-0.
A few minutes later, Pospisil broke away from coverage, walked in alone on net and picked his spot with a wicked wrist-shot, scoring his second goal of the game to extend the lead to 4-0.
Alex Turcotte would break the shutout bid in the final five-minutes of the game, knocking home his second tally of the season, but Wolf would shut the door the rest of the way, picking up his 50th career-win in the process.
The Wranglers and Reign meet again on Wednesday night at the Saddledome, as both teams will celebrate Sutter’s 1,000th AHL game.