Playing in his 1,000th career game, former Reign captain Brett Sutter scored the winning goal in the third period to give the Calgary Wranglers (17-7-1-0) a win over the Ontario Reign (15-9-0-1) for the second straight night on Wednesday by a 5-2 score at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Lias Andersson had both goals for Ontario in a losing effort during a game that the Reign led 2-1 entering the third period. TJ Tynan also picked up his team-leading 24th assist in the defeat.
More from head coach Marco Sturm below.
Early in the first, Martin Chromiak came close to finding the net on an open chance from the left circle, but his wrister hit the right post. Seconds after his opportunity Ontario was called for too many men on the ice. During the ensuing power play, a scramble in front of the Reign net saw Sutter push the puck over the goal line, but after deliberation officials concluded that the whistle had been blown and the game remained scoreless.
The Reign took the lead later in the frame with a power play goal after a penalty to Calgary’s Walker Duehr for holding. A shot by Samuel Fagemo created a rebound in the slot for Andersson who cashed in for his seventh goal of the season at 14:33 to make it 1-0. Helge Grans added the second assist on the strike, his third helper of the season.
Ontario ended the opening stanza with 20 shots on goal, their highest total in any period so far during 2022-23.
Andersson extended the Reign advantage to 2-0 with his second of the game at 4:01 of the middle period off a turnover to Tynan in the Calgary end.
But Ontario committed three straight minor penalties in the period and all the time on the penalty kill caught up to them, leading to the Wranglers’ first goal of the contest at 9:51 from Jakob Pelletier just one second after the third minor to Andersson had expired. The Reign took a 2-1 edge into the second intermission.
It was all Wranglers in the third, as the home team scored three times in less than three minutes and added an empty-net tally to take control and turn the game around.
Adam Klapka had the first tally of the period to tie the game at 2:35 before Sutter put Calgary in front for the first time with a shorthanded strike just over a minute later at 3:42. Then Kevin Rooney added a second shorthanded goal from Sutter at 4:52 to push the Wranglers advantage to 4-2.
The final goal of the night went from Calgary’s Connor Zary into the empty net at 16:31 of the third to seal Ontario’s fate.
Andersson’s opening goal was the only man-advantage marker of the game, with the Reign finishing 1-for-3 on the power play while killing off all five of the Wranglers’ chances.
Ontario reached 40 shots on goal in the contest but only solved Dustin Wolf twice, who stopped 38 shots to earn a win for the second day in a row. Matt Villalta also turned out 27 shots in the crease for the Reign in a losing effort.
On the way his team played in a different game from Tuesday
I thought we played one of our better games tonight. Yes, we didn’t add to finish and the result we wanted, but I saw a lot of good things, especially the first 40 minutes. One of the best periods we ever played so that was a good sign. Now we just got to work on the rest but there was a lot of good things we did today.
On the good things that the team did in the first two periods
We stuck to our plan we talked about this morning. What’s important and what works and what not and that we have to play as a team as well. And you could see it, I think we right from the start we had really good energy, everyone was involved, everyone was on top of his game right away and that’s why we were up 2-0. It shows you what we can do with this team. We’re just maybe not there yet, but I saw a lot of good things today and hopefully we can build on that.
On the play of Andersson and his line with Tynan and Fagemo
That line, I think they had a day off yesterday and they responded today big time. They scored two big goals and also had a lot of chances. That’s what we need. We need our best players to be the best players and that’s what they did today.
On being able to see Sutter in his 1,000th game
He’s an even better person. I think he had a great night, he had a great game, he scored, I think everything went his way and I think we were happy enough to be around him for lots of years and I’ve known him since he was a little kid because I had his dad as a coach and nothing really changed. He’s still the same humble guy and likeable guy and I’m very happy for him and he should be very proud too, 1000 games, that’s a lot of games and that shows you the character and everything around the person he is.
Wednesday’s game was Ontario’s last contest before the AHL’s holiday break. The Reign return to action in a week when they travel to Coachella Valley to face the Firebirds for the first time at Acrisure Arena on Dec. 28 at 7 p.m.