STEPHEN SYLVANIE / SPECIAL TO THE SUN
Friday, Feb. 3, 2012 | 12:03 a.m.
After battling to a 2-2 tie through the first 40 minutes of action, Alaska scored two goals in the final period to defeat the Wranglers 4-2 Thursday night at the Orleans Arena.
Alaska (32-9-2-4) left winger Ethan Cox gave the Aces the initial lead of the game as he forced a turnover near mid ice and broke free in the Las Vegas zone for an unassisted short-handed goal at the 9:15 mark of the first period.
“I thought we came out flat, which was disappointing,” Wranglers head coach Ryan Mougenel said. “We weren’t emotional early on. We need to come out with more energy tomorrow night and compete hard.”
Wranglers (28-14-1-3) forward Josh Lunden tied the game just 29 seconds later when he scored a power-play goal on a rebound in front of the Aces’ net.
The Aces retook the lead late in the first period on a Zach Harrison goal from just outside the crease to take a 2-1 advantage. Harrison received a quality backhand pass from Garry Nunn and beat Wranglers goaltender Joe Fallon for his 20th point of the season.
Las Vegas locked the game up at two goals apiece early in the second period as center Pete MacArthur deflected in a Jeff May slap shot from the right point. May and Adam Miller were credited with the assists on the game-tying goal.
Alaska took the lead for good on a Jordan Kremyr goal at the 9:34 mark of the third period. Kremyr got his stick on a Kane Lafranchise slap shot and deflected the puck by Fallon for his 12th goal of the season.
The Aces put the game out of reach with a Dan Kissel empty net goal with 1:18 remaining in the first of a three-game set in three days between the top two scoring teams in the ECHL.
Stars of the game: 1. Pete MacArthur (1 goal, 1 assist); 2. Garry Nunn (2 assists); 3. Jordan Kremyr (1 goal).
Fallon receives recognition: Fallon was named Reebok Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Week for Jan 23-29 after going 3-0 against Colorado last week with one shutout and a 1.30 goals-against average.
Streaks snapped: The Aces snapped a four-game losing streak with the victory Thursday. Alaska lost all three matches to Stockton last weekend and lost in a shootout to Ontario on Tuesday. Las Vegas, meanwhile, saw its three-game winning streak come to an end with the team’s first home loss since Dec. 20 against Colorado.
Next up: The Wranglers return to action Friday night at 7:05 p.m. as they host Alaska for a second consecutive evening. Alaska has won all three games on the season between the two squads with the Aces winning two games on their home-ice back in mid-October.
Final word: “We can learn a lot from this game,” Mougenel said. “As the coach, I take ownership of how we play. We’ll watch the tape and do our best to correct the mistakes and continue to get better.”