Wranglers eliminated from AHL playoffs
The run is over for the Calgary Wranglers.
Andrew Potulaski scored for the Coachella Valley Firebirds seven minutes into overtime on Friday to claim a 6-5 victory in the decisive Game 5 of their AHL Pacific Division final.
Potulaski’s goal came on a shot from the right faceoff on a cross-ice feed from Jesper Froden, beating Wranglers goalie Dustin Wolf blocker side in front of 98,972 fans at Acrisure Arena in Palm Springs, Calif.
Coachella Valley opened the scoring on a goal by Froden at 13:28 of the first period and held the 1-0 lead for 8:35?before Calgary’s Kristians Rubins tied it early in the second.
That was the longest either team held into the lead in the game. The two clubs then traded goals in quick succession until the Wranglers managed to grab their only lead of the game on goals 40 seconds apart early in the third period by Nick DeSimone and Gustav Olofsson. Jeremie Poitier, however, tied it 30 seconds later to knot the score at 5-5 and capping a six-goal third period, three from each team.
“It was a pleasure to go to work – and war – each and every day with them.”
Mitch Love commented on the group this season, following Game 5. pic.twitter.com/qSHIvSww4G
— y- Calgary Wranglers (@AHLWranglers) May 20, 2023
“We felt like we were right there,” Wranglers head coach Mitch Love said following the game. “It seemed like ‘last goal wins’ and that’s how it ended.”
With the win, the Firebirds — who finished second in the Pacific Division with 103 points, three behind the first-place Wranglers — advance to the Western Conference final against the winner of the Central Division final. Game 5 in that divisional series between the Milwaukee Admirals and the Texas Stars is scheduled for Sunday.
Wolf made 35 saves for Calgary while counterpart Joey Daccord turned aside 28 for Coachella Valley.
The loss ends what had been a sterling AHL campaign for the Wranglers, who claimed the best regular-season record in the primary NHL affiliate circuit.