BRYAN WILSON – 03.31.2023
What a way to finish the homestand.
The Wranglers wrapped up their final home game of the regular season in style, with a 5-1 win over the Henderson Silver Knights at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday afternoon and have now picked up points in 11 straight games. (10-0-1).
Ben Jones had a four-point performance, with a goal and three assists, while Adam Klapka lit the lamp three times in three different ways to record his first career AHL hat-trick. Yan Kuznetsov added an insurance marker to seal it for Calgary, for his third point (1g,2a) in his last two games.
Matthew Phillips added two assists in the contest, extending his point streak to six games, a stretch where he has picked up 11 points (6g, 5a).
Dustin Wolf (39-9-2) turned aside 25 of 26 shots he faced to pick up his AHL-best 39th win of the season and his first of the year against the ‘Knights.
CGY Goal Scorers – Ben Jones – Adam Klapka (3) – Yan Kuznetsov
It was ‘Kids Day’ at the Scotiabank Saddledome and the Wranglers were boosted by the raucous crowd, as well as the unveiling of their new mascot, Blasty the Bronco, just before the game.
The energy carried over into the first period, with Calgary taking an early lead on a shorthanded chance.
With a couple of Wranglers in the box (and one ‘Knight) Bishop found himself alone in the slot, but his initial shot was turned aside by ‘Knights netminder Isaiah Saville. However, he followed up his rebound and picked the puck up in the corner, then backhanded it tape-to-tape to Jones in front, who one-timed it in. With the assist, Bishop now has points in three-straight games.
1-0 after 20 minutes.
It was a chippy affair in the second period, with plenty of extra-curricular conversations being had between the whistles. Calgary was tenacious on loose pucks in the frame and won most of the board battles, which allowed them to eventually pad their lead, courtesy of Klapka, who scored a pair of goals in the second period.
First – while on the powerplay – Klapka found a loose puck at the side of net and backhanded it by Saville to extend the lead.
Then, at the 12:53 mark, Jones spotted Klapka with a perfect pass and sent him in on a partial breakaway. He went forehand to backhand and used his long reach to outwait the goaltender and slide the puck past his pad and into the net.
It was 3-0 after 40 minutes.
The Silver Knights would get on the board in the third period, via a shorthanded strike. Daniil Chayka had a breakaway chance on goal and though his initial shot was stopped, the puck bounced out behind Wolf and found it’s way into the net.
Calgary would respond at the 13:52 mark, when Kuznetsov walked into a perfectly placed pass from Phillips from behind the net and blasted home his fifth goal of the season.
Henderson pulled their goaltender in the late stages of the period but couldn’t capitalize. Instead, Klapka was able to complete his hat-trick depositing the puck into the yawning cage to seal the deal for the Wranglers.
5-1 the final score.
Friday’s game was the last home game of the regular season for the Wranglers. They get set to head out on the road to face the Coachella Valley Firebirds on April 5, 2023.