Stephen R. Sylvanie
Saturday, March 24, 2012 | 12:29 a.m.
“They have a great goalie,” Wranglers head coach Ryan Mougenel said. “He’s stolen more games for them than I would care to remember. In my opinion, he’s the MVP of the league.”
The Wranglers scored the opening goal of the game on a Judd Blackwater power-play goal with less than three minutes left in the first period.
Las Vegas tallied a goal on its first power-play of the game after going 0-7 on the power play against Colorado on Tuesday at home.
Idaho tied the contest early in the second period when forward Cody Purves caught Wranglers goaltender Mike Brodeur out of position and was able to find the back of the net for his third goal of the year.
Las Vegas regained the lead at the 9:21 mark of the first period on a goal from Ryan Weston. Weston controlled a cross ice pass from Chris Francis near the crease and beat Steelheads netminder Jerry Kuhn with a backhanded shot.
The Steelheads evened the game at the 5:46 mark of the third period on a Steven Tarasuk blast from the slot. Marty Flichel aided Tarasuk with the assist.
After a scoreless overtime frame, Idaho took a 2-0 advantage in the shootout with goals from Flichel and Derek LeBlanc.
Las Vegas responded with goals from Mike Madill and Adam Miller to nod up the score in the shootout.
After both teams failed to score in the fifth round of the shootout, Idaho’s Ian Lowe gave the Steelheads a goal advantage in the extra round.
“In a shootout, anything can happen,” Mougenel said. “But we should have never got to a shootout. We had chances to finish in regulation and failed to execute.”
Las Vegas’ Scott Campbell was stuffed on his forehand try in the sixth round on a pad save from Kuhn to secure the win for the Steelheads.
Stars of the game: 1. Ian Lowe (game-winning shootout goal); 2. Chris Francis (two assists); 3. Jerry Kuhn (33 saves).
Narrowing the gap: With Ontario losing to Alaska, the Wranglers were able to pick up a point in the standings and move within two points of the first place Reign. The Wranglers have four regular season games remaining while the Reign have five before the start of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
Streak snapped: Friday’s loss snapped a streak of five consecutive wins for the Wranglers against the Steelheads. Las Vegas holds a 7-1-3 mark against Idaho in 11 games this season.
Next up: The Wranglers return to action Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. in the 12th and final regular season matchup against Idaho. The game will play host to Regrettable Tattoo Night. Fans will be brought onto the ice during the second intermission, and audience response will award the person with the most regrettable tattoo a $1,000 gift certificate for tattoo removal from Tattoo Vanish.
Final word: “I didn’t like the way we played tonight,” Mougenel said. “I didn’t like our best line. They are playing on the perimeter. They better realize playoff hockey is a lot different.”