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October 21, 2014

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HOCKEY:

Wranglers feel right at home in desert snowstorm

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Tiffany Brown

Tourists and locals alike stop by the famous ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign as snow continues to fall in Las Vegas on Wednesday night

Snow On The Strip

Visitors and workers on the Las Vegas Strip experience snow throughout the day.

Expanded hockey coverage

Tyler Mosienko

Tyler Mosienko

Hugo Carpentier

Hugo Carpentier

Snow in Las Vegas is considered headline news.

But for many Las Vegas Wranglers players, especially the Canadians, a snowstorm in December is rather mundane.

"Today seems normal for me," said Wranglers center and Winnipeg, Manitoba, native Tyler Mosienko. "It always felt weird here, when you could walk around in shorts in December. Walking to the rink in snow, right around Christmas, just feels right. It's more festive."

Mosienko is one of 18 Canadians on the Wranglers' 25-man roster, but he has played in Las Vegas for the past three seasons.

As one of only nine returning players from last season's squad, the Las Vegas veteran can sympathize with those in the valley perplexed by this week's snowfall.

"You can definitely tell they don't know what to do with snow," Mosienko said while stuck in a traffic jam Wednesday. "I mean, I would be too if I had never seen snow before … I doubt this city even has salt for the roads, or that they would know it melts snow and ice."

For one newcomer to the Wranglers, this week's snowstorm was almost like a welcoming party.

Defenseman Hugo Carpentier, a native of Hull, Quebec, started the season with the NHL's Calgary Flames and was most recently playing for the AHL's Quad City Flames when he joined the Wranglers for Monday night's 1-0 loss to the Ontario Reign.

"When I found out I was going to Las Vegas, I thought maybe I'd be sitting out in the sun by a pool," Carpentier said. "I think the snow is fun, because it's Christmas time and it really reminds me of home … When I was young we would skate outside on Christmas."

Snow or not, the Wranglers (10-12-0-2) are trying to climb back above .500 and can do so with two victories at home this weekend. Las Vegas will battle Ontario (14-9-1-1) on Friday and the Utah Grizzlies (10-11-1-1) on Saturday. Both games are at 7:30 p.m. in the Orleans Arena.

"It will be nice to play more games here," Carpentier said. "Although it is Las Vegas, there are great hockey fans here and they always push us to play our best."

Steve Silver can be reached at 948-7822 or [email protected].

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