Dustin Wolf recorded his league-leading fifth shutout of the season with 34 saves in a 2-0 win for the Calgary Wranglers (40-15-3-0) over the Ontario Reign (30-22-4-1) on Friday night at Toyota Arena.
Calgary’s tallies came from Clark Bishop and Cole Schwindt in the first and third periods. Cal Petersen made the start in goal for Ontario and turned aside 20 of the Wranglers’ shots in a losing effort.
More from head coach Marco Sturm and defenseman Tyler Inamoto below.
Ontario dictated much of the play in the opening period, holding a 10-7 edge in shots on goal, but the Reign found themselves down by a goal after 20 minutes.
Calgary got on the board with a seeing eye wrister by Bishop, which found its way into the net through traffic to give the Wranglers a 1-0 lead with just 1:11 remaining in the first.
The game remained 1-0 into the third period after a scoreless middle frame that saw Ontario once again outshoot Calgary, 11-6. The Reign had two power play opportunities in the second but were unable to solve Wolf on either advantage.
Calgary extended its lead to 2-0 at 4:57 of the third when Schwindt converted 12 seconds into a power play on a redirect from the low slot.
Ontario continued pressing for a goal in the final frame but were unable to finish any of their opportunities, including multiple looks with Petersen at the bench in exchange for an extra attacker in the last three minutes of the game.
Calgary finished 1-for-2 on the man-advantage while holding the Reign to an 0-for-5 mark on the power play. Ontario ended with a 34-22 shots-on-goal advantage in the loss, which was the team’s sixth straight defeat.
On how his team played in the loss
It was definitely one of our better games. If you can’t score, you can’t win, but overall we had a good start and we had a good 60-minute game. It was one of our better ones against a good team, but small mistakes end up costing you the game and that’s what happened today. We responded especially well from last game. We’ve got to take it day-by-day, but it was a good step today. We lost, but tomorrow we want to get better and bounce back.
On the team having a shoot-first mentality and generating opportunities
The guys are trying. We had a few good looks and opportunities. I think we shot more. Now we’ve got to find a way to actually hit the net as well, so any pucks that get blocked or miss still go in the net. I think we just take too much time, and that’s the defense, the forwards, its everyone. That’s something we have to work on and keep working on.
On how call-ups have impacted the power play’s strategy
For some reason, I think the guys are getting very comfortable with what we have going, and then all of a sudden there’s a little tweak and they sometimes get rattled. Everyone has a different style, they’re different players. We’re all one and we all have to help each other out. It doesn’t matter who’s in and who’s out, and that’s just the way it is. That’s something I think we need to get better at with both units.
On playing in his second AHL game tonight on the top pairing
It was definitely a lot better than the first game I played, with all the anxiety and the nerves there in the first game. I felt a lot better today. There’s still things I can clean up and be a little bit better for Tobie [Bjornfot]. Overall, I think it was a lot better than the first game and it’s definitely an easy transition with these guys. They’re always trying to help you out and make sure that you’re the best you can be, so its been pretty easy.
On his time with the organization
I’ve developed a lot of great relationships with all these guys, so it makes the transition a lot easier when you go down and then you come back up. You’re not meeting too many new guys and you’re not starting from zero when building relationships with them. I think it really helps being here and then going down [to the ECHL], and having those relationships with those guys as well, so that makes the transition really easy.
On playing in Greenville with Head Coach Andrew Lord
It’s been great. Lordo has been great. All the guys have been really welcoming and very helpful. It always helps playing close to home as well, now that my parents moved down there. All the guys down there have been great and they’re hard-working guys. We’ve been having a pretty good year so far. We’re making a playoff push. I have the utmost respect for Andrew Lord and everything their doing down there. It’s just been a great experience.
The Reign and Wranglers meet again on Sunday afternoon for a 3 p.m. scheduled start at Toyota Arena.