Las Vegas Sun

September 30, 2014

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HOCKEY:

Wranglers stymie Steelheads again

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Stephen R. Sylvanie / Special to the Las Vegas Sun

Las Vegas Wranglers forward Kelly Czuy, center, stickhandles between Idaho defenders Garret Bembridge, left, and Bryan MacGregor during a game at the Orleans Arena on Saturday night.

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Wranglers netminder Glenn Fisher makes a shoulder save against the Idaho Steelheads on Saturday night at the Orleans Arena. In back-to-back starts for Las Vegas, Fisher stopped 61 of 62 Steelhead shots, including a 3-0 shutout on Saturday night.

The Las Vegas Wranglers followed up Friday's trouncing of the Idaho Steelheads with an even more impressive encore Saturday.

Forward Kelly Czuy scored less than two minutes into the game and Glenn Fisher picked up his first shutout of the season as the Wranglers stymied the Steelheads 3-0 in front of 6,269 fans at the Orleans Arena.

"It's that time of year where we have to win," Fisher said. "No one is doing us any favors. Our whole team played well this weekend. The shutout was just a bonus."

With a 1-0 lead right from the opening draw thanks to Czuy's goal, Fisher settled into the net and made some stunning saves as he turned away 36 shots to improve to 4-1 at the Orleans Arena.

Peter Ferraro extended the Wranglers' lead to 2-0 as Bret Tyler somehow slipped a doorstep pass to the front of the crease for Ferraro to bury for his 16th goal of the season at 5:09 in the second period.

The Steelheads continued to battle late in the game, out-shooting the Wranglers 17-6 in the third period.

Yet even with two power plays and a relentless offensive attack late in the game, Idaho could not find the back of the net.

"(Fisher) was outstanding tonight," Wranglers coach Glen Gulutzan said. "He made big saves and looked calm in the net. I thought he was real good."

Justin Taylor buried an empty-netter with 45 seconds remaining in the game to ice the 3-0 victory.

The Wranglers (29-26-8) not only improved their playoff positioning, but they also prevented Idaho (36-20-4) from clinching a spot in the postseason, which the Steelheads could have accomplished with a victory Saturday.

"They are a good team and they come hard," Fisher said. "The guys helped me out tonight for sure. This one feels good."

Stars of the game: 1. Glenn Fisher (36 saves); 2. Kelly Czuy (1 goal, 1 assist); 3. Justin Taylor (1 goal, 1 assist)

Roster report: Defenseman Steve Oleksy made his professional debut Saturday after finishing three seasons at Lake Superior State University. The 23-year-old Chesterfield, Mich. native racked up 110 penalty minutes in 113 games in his collegiate career. Oleksy and forward Rob Ricci signed amateur tryout agreements with the Wranglers this weekend.

Going streaking: Peter Ferraro's second period goal gave him his tenth point in ten games. Ferraro has amped up his offensive production lately with 14 goals and five assists since the New Year.

That's so Vegas: Not only do the Wranglers play in a casino, but their emergency backup goaltender this weekend is professional Neil Diamond impersonator Jay White. Maybe he can sing a little "Sweet Caroline" at the team's official post-game party at Treasures. I hear their steak is fantastic.

Next up: The Phoenix Roadrunners (26-29-4) come to Las Vegas for a little St. Patrick's Day party at the Orleans Arena on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Final word: "No one in this league is going to do us any favors," Gulutzan said. "There is no point in watching scores, we have to help ourselves. We don't have to wait for losses, we can win our games and put ourselves in the playoffs."

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

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