Las Vegas Sun

September 2, 2014

Currently: 101° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

HOCKEY:

Fresno blanks worn out Wranglers

After shutting out Fresno 4-0 on Monday night, the Wranglers (8-8) had the favor returned, losing 1-0 to the Falcons (13-6) Tuesday night.

It was the first shutout loss suffered by Las Vegas this season.

The Wranglers are in a brutal part of the schedule, playing five games in one week. Tuesday's loss was the third game of the stretch, after the team won the first two. They now travel to Phoenix for games on Wednesday and Friday.

"It's not like we didn't show up, we were here," said Wranglers coach Glen Gulutzan. "I have to wonder if conditioning is an issue because we haven't played that much hockey. You can see it in some of our players. Our defense was tired, the offense couldn't move their feet and it's an issue."

One player that didn't look tired for the Wranglers was goalkeeper Kevin Lalande, who tied his career-high with 41 saves. It was just the third game Lalande has played this season after suffering a high ankle sprain prior to the start of the season.

"When you come back from an injury you're a little hesitant and not sure how it's going to go," Lalande said. "I'm just happy to get back out there and be with the team. It feels good. I'm just trying to give this team a chance to win every night."

Despite Lalande's performance the game wasn't as close as the score indicated as the Wranglers were outshot 42-17. In addition to fatigue, it was difficult for Las Vegas to find its rhythm throughout a night full of penalties.

The Wranglers spent 18 minutes in the box and surrendered the game-winning shot during a power play when Falcon center Adam Hobson made a cross-ice assist to Jarrett Konkle for an easy goal.

"They seemed like they were a little ahead of us," said Wranglers Tim Spencer. "The score tells that. It's tough when things start to get going and then you get a penalty. We talk about having discipline once we realize how to keep ourselves out of the box, nothing is going to be there to slow us down."

The loss keeps Las Vegas at third place in the Pacific Division as they missed out on an opportunity to gain ground on first-place Fresno. They'll get another chance this month as they head to Fresno for a two-game series on Dec. 9 and 11.

"We obviously didn't play our best game tonight," Lalande said. "But good teams bounce back and the good thing about it is we get a chance to get at it tomorrow."

Teddy Bear No-Toss: It was a bad time for the first shutout of the season. Tuesday was the sixth annual Teddy Bear Toss, a benefit for the Sunrise Acres Elementary School where fans were supposed to bring teddy bears to throw on the ice after the first Wranglers goal.

Fans came through in the event. Unfortunately the Wranglers did not.

It made for a comic moment at the game, though, as a last-second whistle from the referees stopped the game with .9 seconds remaining on the clock. The fans began throwing the bears on the ice as the horn sounded, forcing all the players to wait on the ice while over 100 stuffed animals were scooped up.

"It's hard to take, especially on teddy bear night," said Wrangler wing Tim Spencer. "Everybody wants to get that goal and get the bears out there but we just couldn't get it going tonight."

Missing a Ferraro: Number 17 has been missing from the lineup both Monday and Tuesday night as former NHL player Peter Ferraro did not suit up for the home stand against the Falcons. Ferraro had 36 goals and 37 assists for the Wranglers last season, but is off to a slow start in this year with only one goal and seven assists through 14 games.

Fans shouldn't worry about Peter, though, because he will make the trip to Phoenix.

"We felt in these games we wanted to see some young guys play," Gulutzan said. "Peter did start slow the first 10 games but he's played better and he'll go [Wednesday]."

Attendance: 3,827

Nah nah nah, hey hey... Goodbye Augusta Lynx. The Lynx franchise is officially no more today as the ECHL announced the team has relinquished its membership with the league.

The Tampa Bay Lightning affiliate will give up its players to free agency. The Lynx were in the midst of a 6-10 season, which placed them last in the ECHL Southern Division.

Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected].

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy