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Wranglers draw first blood against Canucks in AHL playoff series



First blood has been drawn by the Calgary Wranglers in their second-round AHL playoff series with the Abbotsford Canucks.

And it was done in dramatic fashion.

Jakob Pelletier scored 11:52 into overtime to lift the Wranglers to a 3-2 win over the visitors.

Dryden Hunt (credited on an own-goal by the Canucks) opened the scoring 13 minutes into the first period for the Wranglers, who had earned a bye to the second round after finishing first in the AHL’s Pacific Division with a 51-17-4 record.

It took until their 29th shot of the game early in the third period, but Marc Gatcomb finally solved Wranglers goalie Dustin Wolf to tie the game at one. Adam Klapka put the Wranglers ahead again at 8:49 of the frame, but Aatu Raty replied with a bar-down wrister blocker side for the Pacific fourth-seed Canucks — who had advanced to the second round after sweeping the fifth-seeded Bakersfield Condors in two games — to send the game to extra time.

Pelletier potted the winner on a low blocker-side shot that eluded Martin.

Wolf, who made his NHL debut with the parent Flames on April 12, stopped 37 shots in the win. His Canucks counterpart, Spencer Martin, also turned aside 37.

The game featured other significant events besides the goals: top Wranglers scorer Matthew Phillips received a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct five minutes into the first for spearing the Canucks’ Jett Woo, while chippy play reared up in the third period, including Wranglers forward Walker Doehr taking a run at the Canucks’ Nils Hoglander.

The best-of-five series continues on Friday in Calgary, where 5,654 fans showed up at the Saddledome for Game 1, before moving to Abbotsford for the remaining dates: May 3, and if necessary May 5 and May 7.)

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