Riley Pollock – 03.05.24

It was a strong start for the Wranglers on Friday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Calgary picked up the 4-1 victory in game one with a physical performance.

Adam Klapka, Mitch McLain, Sam Morton and Yan Kuznetsov scored for the Wranglers while Dustin Wolf was stellar once again in the win picking up 35-saves on 36-shots.

It was a feel-it-out start to the game as there were just two shots apiece through the first eight-minutes.

Coachella Valley turned up the heat firing on the next five-shots but Dustin Wolf was up to the task.

Calgary got the first powerplay of the game with 8:38 remaining in the first but despite two quality scoring chances the game remained scoreless.

They had another powerplay opportunity with just under five-minutes to go in the frame but again couldn’t capitalize and the score was 0-0 after 20.

Adam Klapka got the scoring started early in the second-period as he made a solo-dash from centre ice and tucked the puck high on the glove side to make the score 1-0.

Klapka then took a tripping penalty on his next shift giving the Firebirds their first man-advantage of the night but the Wranglers were able to kill it off.

Coachella Valley evened up the game on a high-slot shot making it 1-1.

The Wranglers had a late-period powerplay but were unable to capitalize sending the game 1-1 to the third-period.

It didn’t take long into the final-frame for the Wranglers to regain the lead as Mitch McLain popped a spinning shot into the net to make it 2-1, 3:16 into the third.

The Wranglers picked up the physicality, after the goal to put them ahead, seemingly hitting everyone in sight and keeping the pressure on.

The Firebirds got another man-advantage with exactly eight-minutes remaining on a holding call and Wolf made two huge saves on the kill to keep it 2-1.

Sam Morton would find the empty net with 1:37 remaining and then, while killing a penalty, Yan Kuznetsov fired a full-ice shot for another empty-net goal to give the Wranglers the 4-1 win in game one.

These two teams will meet for game two Sunday at 4 p.m. at the ‘Dome. TICKETS