Gulls Blanked By Wranglers

Gulls Lassoed By Wranglers In Calgary

Mar 24, 2023

By AJ Manderichio/

The San Diego Gulls fell to the Calgary Wranglers 6-0 tonight at Scotiabank Saddledome. The setback extends the team’s current losing streak to four games.

Three-point performances from Connor Zary (2-1=3) and Dryden Hunt (0-3=3) highlighted a strong showing for the Wranglers, who also received multi-point performances from Jeremie Poirer, Matthew Phillips and Emilio Pettersen. Dustin Wolf stopped 30 shots, collecting his third shutout against the Gulls this season.

Gage Alexander made 31 saves on 37 shots in the loss.

"Well, I'll tell you what, that's good hockey club," Gulls head coach Roy Sommer said. "They're right up there with Coachella and if we don't have 18 skaters that bring their A game, that's what's going to happen. When you do get past them or they do have a breakdown, then you got to run into (Wranglers goaltender Dustin) Wolf, which, I saw him all last year and you can see why he was the goalie of the year last year. He makes you make saves look easy. I mean, we had a lot of good looks and he was on top of it. What can you say? The guy's competitive and probably should be in the NHL right now."

A penalty-filled start gave San Diego a 5-on-3 opportunity, stunting Calgary’s early momentum providing an early opportunity for the Gulls. They could not cash in on the attempt and the Wranglers took advantage, grabbing the lead with goals from Phillips (PP) and Poirer 45 seconds apart late in the first period.

"You have to stay out the box," Sommer said. "We talked about that today. We didn't want to see their power play – it’s too effective. The other thing is they've got a really good hockey team. You have to stay close - you really can't open it up against them. If you get in a shootout against them, we're not going to win that battle. You know, we just don't have the firepower they do over there. Like I said at the start of this conversation, if everyone's not bringing their A game - which we didn't have again tonight - it was similar that Coachella game. Although, we had a little more compete in us but if you don't bring your A game against them, it's going to be a long night."

Alexander kept the deficit at two early in the second period, making a stunning glove save to deny Calgary a power-play goal.

With the Wranglers controlling the puck in the zone, Phillips fed a pass to defenseman Nick DeSimone. His one-timed shot rattled through traffic in front, sending the puck out to a cutting Phillips. With nothing but an open net in front of him, he chipped the puck toward the yawning cage. Alexander made the impossible stop, using all his 6-6 frame to extend his glove and bat away the chance.

The incredible save only stunted Calgary momentarily, as they tacked on two more in the second period to extend their lead to four. Ilya Solovyov and Zary found the back of the net in the frame.

Calgary added two more in the final frame on goals from Poirer and Zary, marking the third time this season San Diego allowed six-or-more goals to Calgary.

The loss officially eliminates the San Diego Gulls from playoff contention. It ends a run of three consecutive seasons where the team participated in the Calder Cup Playoffs.

The two teams will finish the weekend series at Scotiabank Saddledome on Sunday, Mar. 26. Puck drop is 6 p.m. PT.

"For us, I think just have a short memory," Gulls forward David Cotton said. "Take what we need out of that game, flush it out, look forward to Sunday. Just stay hard, get pucks on net, just try and get havoc around it. You just got to keep with it; you can't get down on yourself."

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