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November 27, 2014

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Hockey:

Wranglers knock off Ontario 4-3 in overtime

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Stephen Sylvanie / Special to the Sun

Josh Lunden celebrates after scoring a game-winning goal in overtime against the Ontario Reign on Sunday afternoon at the Orleans Arena. The goal was his third of the game, completing his first hat-trick of the season.

Wranglers (31-16-1-4) forward Josh Lunden scored a wraparound goal with 1:33 left in overtime to end a three-game losing streak as Las Vegas secured a 4-3 victory over Ontario Saturday afternoon at the Orleans Arena.

“I was behind the net and saw the goalie leaning to the other side, so I just tried to turn in front and get it there as quick as I could,” Lunden said. “We were bound to get one to go our way and it bounced in.”

After Ontario took a 2-0 first-period lead on two power-play goals from left winger Kevin Estrada, Lunden tallied his first goal of the evening late in the first period as he was able slap home a rebound opportunity in front of the Reign’s net.

Lunden tied the game 39 seconds into the second period when he secured a centering pass from Mike Madill and fired a slap shot by Ontario goaltender Jean-Francois Berube.

Las Vegas took its initial lead of the game with 19.9 seconds left in the second period on an Adam Huxley goal.

Huxley took advantage of a 2-on-1 odd man rush as he secured a well-placed pass from Eric Lampe and beat Berube for the go-ahead goal.

After Las Vegas scored three consecutive goals to take the lead, Ontario answered back to tie the game on a Kyle Kraemer power-play goal at the 8:00 mark of the third period. It was the Reign’s third power-play goal of the game.

In overtime, Ontario center Bill Bagron picked up a two-minute penalty for interference on the goalkeeper to give Las Vegas a four-on-three advantage.

Moments after the Reign fought off the Wranglers power-play opportunity to return to full strength, Lunden took possession of the puck behind the Ontario cage and wrapped it around the net to beat Berube for the game-winning goal.

“We were in a little skid there, but they were all close games and we knew we needed to get a win,” Lunden said. “It was a whole team effort. Joe Fallon played great in net and we helped him out at the end.”

Stars of the game: 1. Josh Lunden (3 goals); 2. Mike Madill (2 assists); 3. Pete MacArthur (2 assists). 4. Adam Huxley (1 goal).

Top scorers: With Lampe’s assist on Huxley’s go-ahead goal late in the second period, Lampe moved into sole possession of first place in the ECHL in scoring with 60 points on 34 goals and 26 assists. Left winger Adam Miller, who was held without a point in Sunday’s contest, is in sole possession of second place with 59 points, including a team-leading 33 assists.

Sleep deprivation: Due to an ice resurfacing delay in Bakersfield Saturday night that postponed the start of the game by almost two hours, the Wranglers didn’t return to Las Vegas until about 6 a.m. Sunday. The players were back at the rink hours later preparing for a 2:05 p.m. start against Ontario.

Next up: The Wranglers return to action Tuesday night as they travel to Utah to play the Grizzlies at 6:05 p.m. Las Vegas returns home to the Orleans Arena for three straight home games against Utah starting at 7:05 p.m. Friday.

Final word: “I’m real proud of how my guys came out and played hard after last night,” Wranglers head coach Ryan Mougenel said. “To get back at six in the morning and play a 2 o’clock game, I’m real proud of my guys. They showed great resiliency and effort.”

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  1. Maybe the travel problems will cause management to take another look at the stupidity of scheduling Sunday games at 2 pm instead of the usual 7 pm.