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July 29, 2014

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Hockey:

Wranglers smash Steelheads

One night after Idaho handed Las Vegas one of its worst losses in franchise history, the Wranglers returned the favor by completely dismantling the Steelheads 7-1 Saturday night at the Orleans Arena.

The Wranglers wasted no time avenging Friday's embarrassing 6-1 defeat as Jeff May netted Las Vegas' first goal of the night less than six minutes into the game on a stellar short-handed effort.

"We were definitely disappointed in (Friday's) game," May said. "Coming back tonight, as you can see, we wanted redemption and we wanted to prove we are a better team… We knew we had a chance to come back and redeem ourselves tonight and that's what we did."

May then added his second goal of the night just 50 seconds into the second period to put the Wranglers on top 2-0.

At that point Las Vegas' offense was running in high gear as the Wranglers went into the second intermission with a 4-1 lead, thanks to goals by Justin Taylor and Mike Hamilton.

"Once it was 4-1, it was just a matter of us keeping the foot on the gas.," said Wranglers' coach and general manger Glen Gulutzan. "You could tell as every goal went in a little bit of air came out of (Idaho)."

Following the second intermission, the Wranglers did turn the game into a blowout as Chris Ferraro and Chris Korchinski posted two goals less than 20 seconds apart to start the third period.

Taylor would add his second of the night midway through the final period to seal the game at 7-1.

Idaho forward Ben Nelson scored the Steelheads' only goal of the night early in the second period. Aside from that one miscue, Wranglers' goalie John DeCaro stopped 24 shots to improve to 3-1-0 on the season.

"We just want (DeCaro) to get comfortable and if he can keep producing wins then that's great," Gulutzan said.

Hot Hand: Center Chris Ferraro's third period goal Saturday night was his ninth point in six games. Ferraro leads the team with seven goals and eight assists in 12 games.

Heavy Hitter: With just 17 seconds remaining in the second period, J.D. Watt squared off with Idaho forward Steve Gainey at center ice. The duo put on the theatrics as they threw off their helmets and danced around for a while.

Finally the punches came, but it was Watt who hit the ice first after missing a haymaker. When the refs sorted out the scrum, Watt came up without his jersey. Save it for Treasures after the game J.D.

Idaho forward Justin Bourne tried to pick a fight with Watt in the third period, but that only led to a melee on the ice with three separate sparring matches breaking out.

"(Idaho) showed a lot of character," Gulutzan said. "There were six or seven fights when they were losing. They didn't like it and they went out swinging."

Stars of the game: 1. Jeff May (2 goals, 1 assist), 2. Mike Hamilton (1 G, 2A) 3. Justin Taylor (2 G).

Attendance: 4,635 fans enjoyed the Wranglers' slaying of the Steelheads.

Next up: The Wranglers travel to Phoenix to face the Roadrunners at the U.S. Airways Center on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Final word: "(Idaho) was playing four games in five nights and ran out of gas, but hey, I give them credit, they got the split they wanted out of here," Gulutzan said.

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

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