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Firebirds outgun the Wranglers 7-5 in AHL playoff barn burner

The Wranglers lost 7-5 to Coachella Valley Wednesday night in AHL playoff action (Photo: X@CalgaryWranglers) The Wranglers lost 7-5 to Coachella Valley Wednesday night in AHL playoff action (Photo: X@CalgaryWranglers)

A third period double-minor penalty proved to be the Calgary Wranglers’ undoing Wednesday night as they lost to the Coachella Valley Firebirds 7-5 in Game 3 of their best-of-five AHL playoff series.

The defeat puts the Wranglers on the brink of elimination: a loss Friday night to the Firebirds ends their season.

Jeremie Poirier, Jonathan Aspirot, Adam Klapka, Jakob Pelletier and Cole Schwindt scored for the Wranglers, who lost their second game in a row to the Firebirds, who eliminated them from the AHL playoffs in 2023.

The Wranglers opened the scoring on a goal from Aspirot, but Coachella Valley responded twice, on goals from John Hayden and Jacob Melanson, to take a 2-1 lead after one period.

Klapka scored on a power play to make it 2-2 before Coachella's Marian Studenic scored to take a 3-2 lead into the third.

Early in the third, Poirier scored to tie the score at 3-3 before a Firebird shorthander from Studeric that gave Coachella Valley another one-goal lead at 4-3.

That didn’t last long, as Schwindt fired in a power play goal from high in the slot to tie the game at four apiece.

With 12 minutes left, Adam Klapka was given a double-minor for high sticking and the Firebirds responded twice, getting goals from Devin Shore and Max McCormick  to take a 6-4 lead.

Pelletier made it a one-goal game with a little over eight minutes to go, but that was as close as the Wranglers got.

With Dustin Wolf pulled in favour of an extra attacker, McCormick scored an empty-netter to make the final score 7-5 Firebirds.

Coachella Valley outshot the Wranglers 37-36, with Chris Driedger picking up the win for the Firebirds.

After the game, Wrangler coach Trent Cull said the team gave the Firebirds too many chances and paid the price for it.

“They’re a high-end skill team. If you give those guys chances, usually they end up benefitting from them,” he said.

“We created some offence, but this (Coachella Valley) is a team that’s high-end, that can run-and-gun,” he added. “But that’s not us. That’s not how we play.

“We know how we play as a team – we call it Wrangler hockey and that’s the way we’ve got to keep it.”

Game 4 is scheduled for Friday night in Palm Springs. Puck drop is 8 p.m. Top Stories

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