WRANGLERS REPORT: Players supportive of Phillips, Zohorna call-ups

WRANGLERS REPORT: Players supportive of Phillips, Zohorna call-ups

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There is no jealousy with the Calgary Wranglers.

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Sure, there are plenty of players who would love to get the call from the Calgary Flames and skate with the NHL team. There are a few who might be hoping to get that call sooner rather than later.

But when Matthew Phillips and Radim Zohorna were called up by the Flames last week, there was nothing but good cheer in the Wranglers’ locker room.

“I think when they called up I was really impressed with how everyone handled it,” said Wranglers center Ben Jones. “Everyone was really excited, even the guys who were kinda hoping they would be, there was zero jealousy, it was all excitement and all the guys were pulled towards each other, which is huge for a group as close as we are are.

“We all pull for each other. We all encourage each other to reach the next level, there are no breakups in the dressing room. I think it was really impressive who is from our character and the group that we have in this space.”

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Jones is one of those guys that could eventually earn a look at the Flames. He skated in two NHL games with the Vegas Golden Knights last year before signing a two-way contract with the Flames over the summer and has been productive all season with the Wranglers.

Before Thursday’s game against the Manitoba Moose, the 23-year-old had five goals and 16 assists in 22 games. That’s almost a point per game.

Those are nice numbers, but for a man in Jones’ position, they’re a little beside the point when it comes to what he’s trying to achieve this season.

“Obviously I’m happy with the actual production, but I’ve never been someone to really look at it or commit to it,” Jones said. “If I’m having a bad game and I’m not doing the things I need to do to get to the next level, but I get a few assists, it’s not going to change my mood.

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“It’s really focused on the process of continuing to do things that can take me to the next level and play the best game I can.”

Like so many players at the stage Jones is currently in in his career, he’s focused on building consistency into his all-around game.

The offensive advantage certainly doesn’t hurt the Wranglers, though, especially when guys like Phillips and Zohorna get their chances with the Flames – although Jones said the team isn’t asking anyone to drastically change what they’re doing right now.

“I mean obviously it’s a huge loss, especially on the power play, with those two guys missing,” the Waterloo, Ontario. native said. “Our power play really clicked when we had this unit on it along with these two, but from a role standpoint, we’re all here for a reason and we’re all playing our game.

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“Just because (Phillips) isn’t here doesn’t mean I have to be the one to score or someone else has to score. It really comes down to playing well as a team.”
Jones certainly isn’t wrong when he says the Wranglers have options on the offensive end of the ice, even if a few guys are up in the NHL. Jacob Pelletier is in the top 15 in the AHL standings with 25 points, while Connor Zary is not far behind with 23 points.

And Jones is also there with 21 points. He’s been mostly running with Brett Sutter and Walker Duehr lately, although he expected to line up with Cole Schwindt and Emilio Pettersen in Thursday’s matchup against the Moose at the Saddledome.

There’s a certain talent there. These wranglers are deep, and Jones believes the depth can help them, even with Phillips and Zohorna skating with the Flames.

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“We still have guys who can score goals, it’s not like nobody else has that ability,” Jones said. “With those two gone, yes, it’s a bit of a missing piece at times, but it’s nothing we can’t handle as long as we stay focused on what we need to do.”

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Tuesday – Ontario Reign at Wranglers, 7 p.m

Wednesday – Ontario Reign at Wranglers, 7 p.m


The Wranglers weren’t at their best Tuesday night against the Manitoba Moose, but Cole Schwindt managed to score the team’s only goal. He has now accumulated points, including two goals, in each of the Wranglers’ last three games. During the season, Schwindt — acquired as part of the deal that sent Matthew Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers — has eight goals and eight assists in 21 games.


The Wranglers are really scoring at an incredible rate this season. They currently have 92 goals in 23 games, the second-highest total in the entire AHL. The only team with more — the Texas Stars with 94 goals — happened to have played two more games than the Wranglers this season. If you wanted to call the Calgary crew the most powerful Offensively in the AHL so far this season, it wouldn’t be hard to argue.

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