A small space of breathing room in overtime was enough for Calgary sniper Jakob Pelletier to win the game and put a dagger deep into the hopeful hearts of the Abbotsford Canucks in game one of the Pacific Divisions semifinal.
Pelletier jumped on a loose puck on a broken play and buried the game winning goal at 11:52 to give the Wranglers the 3-2 win on Wednesday (April 26) night.
Pelletier given way too much space and he buries it. Calgary wins 3-2 and now lead the series 1-0 pic.twitter.com/9tM7WYRLxr— Ben Lypka (@BenLypka) April 27, 2023
The Canucks had every opportunity to win the game and were given a fortuitous call at 9:58 of the first period when Wranglers leading scorer Matthew Phillips was given a spearing match penalty. Phillips speared the groin of Canucks defenceman Jett Woo and the incident will now be reviewed by the league for possible further discipline.
Because Wranglers F Matthew Phillips was given a match penalty for spearing, he's automatically suspended per AHL rules until the league president reviews the play. (Given it's the playoffs, I would imagine the review takes place rapidly.)— Ryan Pike (@RyanNPike) April 27, 2023
Woo did recover and played the rest of the game, but the ensuring five-minute power play did not produce any offence for the Canucks. It was a trend that continued for Abbotsford as they went zero for three on the game and are now two for 14 in the playoffs (14 per cent).
Bad break for the Canucks as an own goal puts Calgary up 1-0. Abbotsford has been controlling the first but can't beat Wolf pic.twitter.com/oJJy9b7IgN— Ben Lypka (@BenLypka) April 27, 2023
The Wranglers got on the board at 13:19 when an unfortunate bounce led to an own goal by Abbotsford. Dryden Hunt was credited with the goal after a shot went off Christian Wolanin, then Chase Wouters and in.
A scoreless second period followed and goalie Dustin Wolf stood on his head. It felt was though Abbotsford was never going to beat him after firing 28 shots in the first two periods with nothing to show.
Gatcomb with a big goal, nice work by AKL to keep the puck in at the point. Tie game pic.twitter.com/TVkcWaH20k— Ben Lypka (@BenLypka) April 27, 2023
That drought finally ended at 1:35 of the third when Marc Gatcomb banged home his first career AHL playoff goal. Calgary’s Adam Klapka responded a little over seven minutes later by scooping up a blocked shot and beating Martin.
Klapka makes the Canucks pay, 2-1 Calgary midway through the third pic.twitter.com/UHxG3wqHUn— Ben Lypka (@BenLypka) April 27, 2023
But the Canucks refused to go away and Aatu Räty fired a laser past Wolf at 15:10 to send the game to overtime.
What a snipe by Raty, tied up again pic.twitter.com/Q4VlyVEHIn— Ben Lypka (@BenLypka) April 27, 2023
Pelletier then ended the game in the extra frame. Calgary outshot Abbotsford 40-39 and both goalies were excellent. Justin Dowling led all Canucks with seven shots on goal, while Linus Karlsson and Kyle Rau both had five.
The two teams meet again on Friday at 6 p.m. Abbotsford time. Game three is set for May 3 in Abbotsford.
Overtime heartbreak in Game 1 pic.twitter.com/jGUgvvB8Wu— X - Abbotsford Canucks (@abbycanucks) April 27, 2023