Stephen Sylvanie / Special to the Sun
Published Saturday, April 3, 2010 | 11:43 p.m.
Updated Sunday, April 4, 2010 | 12:54 a.m.
The Las Vegas Wranglers and Ontario Reign played each other for roughly 20 percent of the 2009-10 season.
For the first 18 percent of those games, Las Vegas earned a point, failing to lose in regulation to Ontario in 13 games.
But it’s the final 1.4 percent that will possibly keep the Wranglers from getting home-ice advantage in the opening round of the ECHL playoffs.
Saturday night, in their 14th meeting of the season, the Reign defeated the Wranglers, 7-1, in a game that eliminated Las Vegas’ option to play the first two games or the final three games of the first round at home.
“To give up seven goals is disappointing,” head coach Ryan Mougenel said.
“We knew we needed a win,” he said. “You have to go into the opponent’s building and win one anyway. We’re up for the challenge.”
Three first-period goals by Ontario put the Wranglers in an early hole, which they couldn’t climb out of.
Defenseman Colten Teubert scored his first professional goal nearly seven minutes in to open the scoring for Ontario.
Teubert was the 13th overall pick of the Los Angeles Kings in the 2008 NHL Entry draft.
His goal was assisted by Chris Curran and followed up by back-to-back goals from right-winger Geoff Walker and forward Greg Hogeboom.
Hogeboom’s goal was his 32nd of the season. It came on a deflected point shot from Teubert that eluded Wranglers goalie Joel Gistedt.
Ontario defenseman Mike Egener added a goal in the second period on a blast from the point, and the Reign added three goals in the third period, including the professional firsts of centers Jordan Nolan and C.J. Stretch.
Chad Starling capped Ontario’s night by scoring his first goal of the season with 1:01 left on the clock.
Center Justin Bernhardt scored the only Las Vegas goal of the night, a slap shot that found the five-hole of Reign goalie Mike Zacharias.
“I’m extremely proud of the way the team has responded all year,” Mougenel said. “Obviously, this isn’t the way you want to end the season, but we’re coming off two very emotional wins and we’ll chalk it up to that.”
Captain Chris Neiszner, defenseman Craig Switzer and center Josh Prudden were all healthy scratches for Las Vegas.
Three stars: 1. Ontario’s Mike Zacharias (27 saves); 2. Ontario’s Geoff Walker (goal, two assists); 3. Colten Teubert (goal, assist).
Super save: Down four goals with just under 12 minutes to play, a sprawling John Schwarz denied Hogeboom an open net. After faking a point-blank slap shot, the Ontario forward deked Gistedt, only to be denied by Schwarz.
Injury report: Center Adam Miller and right-winger Alex Bourret were injured in the second period and did not return for the third period. “They’re fine,” Mougenel said of the injured players.
Playoff schedule: The Wranglers are slated to begin postseason play on Tuesday, at home against the Utah Grizzlies. Game 2 will be on Wednesday.
Attendance report: The Wranglers drew 5,394 fans at the Orleans Arena in the series finale, their fourth highest total of the season. This season’s average attendance of 4,350 ranks 12th in the league.
Final word: “The 72 exhibition games are done,” Mougenel said. “Now, the real season starts.”