Abbotsford Canucks vs Calgary Wranglers Game 1 Preview

Calgary, AB – The Abbotsford Canucks are headed to round 2 of the Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Facing the Calgary Wranglers in a best of five series, the Canucks are heading across the Rockies for game one on April 26th and game two on April 28th at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Abbotsford is coming off a two-game sweep against the Bakersfield Condors who knocked them out of the playoffs last year in the first round. The Calgary Wranglers, who clinched both the Pacific division title and the regular season title bypassed the first round of the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs, heading straight to round two.

Nils Höglander leads Abbotsford in scoring after round one with four points (2-2-4). AHL veteran Kyle Rau leads the team in assists with three. Rau is playing in his fourth playoff campaign and first with Abbotsford.

After just two games in their post-season, Abbotsford’s players are spread all throughout the league’s leaderboards.

Abbotsford’s Nils Höglander scored the game winning goal in both of Abbotsford’s round one matchups, leading the league. Max Sasson is also sitting at the top of the league for a different category, rookie shooting percentage, with 50%. Despite this being a small stat, Sasson’s goal was a pivotal insurance goal in the opening matchup of round 1 against Bakersfield.

Jack Rathbone leads all defencemen in shots with 11 and is tied for the lead in goals with 2.

While the Calgary Wranglers are in their inaugural season, the Flames’ former affiliate the Stockton Heat had a solid playoff run last season.

The Stockton Heat roster featured key Wranglers players including the 2023 AHL’s first All-Star team’s Matthew Phillips and 2023 AHL MVP Dustin Wolf.

Finishing first in the Pacific Division, the Stockton Heat bypassed the first round of the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs, knocking out the Bakersfield Condors in the second round. The Heat made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals, ultimately losing to the Chicago Wolves in a 3-0 shutout in game 6. Netminder Dustin Wolf started all 13 of Stockton’s playoff games recording a 0.929 save percentage and three shutouts.

Matthew Phillips, Jakob Pelletier, and Walker Duehr were the top three scorers still active in the Flames organization, with 8,7, and 6 points respectively.

Regular Season Special Teams:

Power Play %

ABB: 18.1%, CGY: 21%

Power Play Goals For

ABB: 52, CGY: 69

Penalty Kill %

ABB: 79.9%, CGY: 85.1%

Post Season Special Teams:

Power Play %

ABB: 18.2%

Power Play Goals For

ABB: 2

Penalty Kill %

ABB: 80%

Fast Facts:

The Pacific Division’s best of five is a 2-3 format, with the higher seeded team getting their choice of playing the first two games or the final three games at home.

The last time the two teams met, Abbotsford handed Calgary their first and only shutout of the season. Jack Rathbone and Danila Klimovich scored both goals for Abbotsford with Arturs Silovs denying all 17 of Calgary’s shots.

Abbotsford and Calgary faced each other 12 times during the regular season with Calgary leading the series 8-4.

By the end of the second round, the Calgary Wranglers will have faced Abbotsford at least six times in row, rounding off their regular season with a three-game series at the Abbotsford Centre.

Leading Calgary scorer Matthew Phillips had a career high in scoring this season, recording 76 total points (36-40-76), eight points up from his previous career high last season (31-37-68).

Abbotsford veteran Justin Dowling is making his seventh post-season appearance and second with Abbotsford. Dowling made it to the playoffs with the Texas Stars five times, including a Calder Cup win in 2014.

Abbotsford signed OHL goaltender Marco Costantini to an Amateur Tryout Agreement on Tuesday.

Games 3, 4 (if required), and 5 (if required) will be hosted at the Abbotsford Centre on May 3rd, May 5th, and May 7th, with all games starting at 7PM.