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Wranglers Impressions - Old Time Hockey - William Stromgren

May 6, 2024, 5:22 AM ET [49 Comments]
Trevor Neufeld
Calgary Flames Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Right now, you can get a pretty wild deal on live hockey. $29.99 will get you the rest of the AHL playoffs. Every game right until the Calder Cup is awarded. The Flames are out. May as well catch some hockey.

Sunday afternoon was a quality example of why that thirty bucks is worth the price. The Calgary Wranglers and Coachella Valley Firebirds had one of the more bewildering 60 minutes of hockey to take place in the Scotiabank Saddledome within the year of 2024.

Let’s interpose a question here:

When was the last time you saw a crowd in the Saddledome throw trash on the ice?

Fans who witnessed NHL hockey in the 1980s surely remember that this was an occasional practice, particularly in the Montreal forum. A call may go awry, and it was a safe bet that someone’s orange pop was destined to hit the ice. Mess everywhere.

Obviously, you shouldn’t be that person.

But seeing that happen on Sunday was like breathing from a familiar crypt. The wealth disparity between sections has gotten to be so vast. Fans in the lower bowl at Flames games are paying so much to be there. They’re either a season ticket holder who doesn't want to lose their spot, or they’re a person splurging on an expensive ticket and isn’t all that familiar with the nuances of being a magpie.

You can get that with the AHL experience. You also get cool things like instigator penalties, players with lower salaries that can vastly bump their income with a series of bold statements, and a strange mix of career AHLers and underdeveloped future stars. Worth looking into.

Alright, garbage on the ice. Let's take a look at the play.

This was Coachella Valley’s overtime winner. Courtesy of Devin Shore. No relation to former Flame Drew Shore, but he was an Oiler for a while.

Criticism came in the form of “too many men,” “offside,” and “goaltender interference.” Weigh in on that one in the comments. Fans were not happy.

The rest of the game? Wild. The first 30 minutes featured both squads playing hard perimeter hockey. Neither team gave up an inch. Then, well, tell me if you recognize this play.

The third period opened, and both teams completely unraveled. Leads exchanged until the two teams went into overtime at 3-3.

Instead of going blow-by-blow, we’ll look at some individual performances. After all, you already know how it ends.

William Stromgren

Start with the most pleasant surprise of this year’s stretch drive/playoff push. The 20-year-old Stromgren appears to have clicked. The Ornskoldsvik, Sweden product is a big player at 6’3”, 195lbs.

He’s playing big.

Forcing his way down the walls and into the middle, boxing out defenders in front of the net. He may not be a home run yet like Logan Stankoven appears to be, but he’s putting it all together and isn’t even 21.

He has a goal and an assist in four playoff games this postseason, including this beauty.

Editor’s note: Yes, nice goal. He looks great beyond just being horribly defended against on this play. This sequence is atrocious from a Tuscon Roadrunners perspective.

Stromgren isn’t far off from being considered for a call-up, especially with Ryan Huska and Craig Conroy willing to fast-track younger players into the top six.

William finished the regular season with ten points in his final 11 games. Again, he’s only 20 years old.

Sam Morton

“Crafty” comes to mind as an adjective. There is a bit of Jarret Stoll, a bit of Brendan Morrison, even a bit of Kris Versteeg to his game. Morton scored his third playoff goal in three games on Sunday afternoon. At just 24, Morton might get a look next season.

Jakob Pelletier & Matthew Coronato

These two are combined due to being a bit of a power couple on the ice. Crisp passes with intention, layup plays that break the AHL pace at times; Pelletier and Coronato looked like the most talented players on the ice.

Coronato registered two primary assists and probably deserved to be awarded one of the three stars of the game.

Pelletier started out a lot stronger than he finished. There was some frustration in his game.

Adam Klapka

Adam Klapka has been a force for some time. If he keeps it up, he won't be plying his trade on the Wranglers too far into next season. Opposing defences spend much of the game on their heels trying to deal with his massive frame moving at above average speed. Klapka has thrown some absolutely monstrous bodychecks this postseason. He's also been a component of some highlight-level offense.

Jeremie Poirier

Poirier just has too much talent to not hit the scoresheet. Check out Coronato’s goal above. He laid it up to Matthew perfectly.

That said, the 21-year-old looks frustrated. His skating doesn’t seem to keep up with his high hockey IQ. Likely due to the knee injury, or the skate laceration to his arm, or the physio catchup game he’s been playing for almost a calendar year.

Cole Schwindt

A bit of Jan Brady going on there with his line. Schwindt is stapled between Pelletier and Coronato and the two simply love to send the puck to the far lane. Schwindt tends to play Steady Eddie until he picks up some speed in the neutral zone.

It’s hard to put a guy who scored two goals on the night into a “Jan Brady” role, but he’s just so fundamental in his toolbox. Maybe he’s more of a Jason Bateman.

Dustin Wolf

You know, when a certain writer sees Dustin Wolf beaming at the Jumbotron while a kid on the screen holds up a sign that says “Dustin Wolf your my hero”, you would expect it would be a safe time to put $50 on a Wranglers win. That is not the case.

Joking aside, Sunday was Wolf’s weakest game of the playoffs. The Gilroy, California product has been dominant otherwise.


The quality chances against Wolf on Sunday were just so few and far apart. Goaltending is about finding a rhythm. There was no rhyme or rhythm to Coachella’s 4-3 overtime win.

Mitch McLain

The 30-year-old McLain certainly has had a presence this playoff run. A solid checking game, head coach Trent Cull has swapped him onto the odd line to add some spice to the deployment. There haven’t been any takers to his antics this series, but Sunday’s game featured a bit of yapping behind the safety of a ref or linesman from a Firebirds player.

Interestingly enough, McLain scored his first AHL playoff goal in 26 postseason appearances in game one against Coachella.

No takers for McLain, but 6’3”, 223-pound John Hayden seems to have a dislike of 6’0”, 200-pound Jonathan Aspirot. Hayden followed Aspirot around for a while with ill-intent between plays. Nothing came of it other than some mid-play bumps and bruises.

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