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December 21, 2014

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Wranglers pick up OT win on Lampe’s blind shot

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STEPHEN SYLVANIE / SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Eric Lampe (left center) is mobbed by teammates after netting a game-winning goal 46 seconds into overtime giving Las Vegas the 6-5 win on Thursday night.

Wranglers vs. Bulls

Wrangler forward Scott Campbell, right, spars with San Francisco defenseman Dylan King after the whistle during a stoppage in play at the Orleans Arena on Thursday night. Launch slideshow »

As Eric Lampe was skating around the net, he didn't hear what coach Ryan Mougenel was screaming from the bench.

"I yelled right before, 'Don’t throw anything blind to the net,'" Mougenel said after the game.

It's probably a good thing Lampe didn't hear him because that's exactly what Lampe did 46 seconds into the extra period.

Lampe threw up a shot, which found the back of the net to give the Las Vegas Wranglers a 6-5 overtime victory over the San Francisco Bulls on Thursday.

"You don't hear him yelling from the bench when you're out there," said Lampe, who also had an assist. "I guess when you throw pucks at the net, good things happen."

Quipped Mougenel: "It's a good thing they don't listen to me, obviously."

Lampe's goal was fitting exclamation point on a wild finish in front of an announced crowd of 3,428 at the Orleans Arena.

There were six goals scored in the final 21 minutes, including four within a four-minute span to go along with three lead changes.

Down 4-3, the Wranglers leveled the game after Bretton Stamler scored a goal off a pass from Mike Madill with 2:15 remaining. Las Vegas went ahead 13 seconds later when Judd Blackwater found the back of the net, giving the Wranglers a 5-4 lead and the fans in attendance free tacos.

"I got a good break," Blackwater said. "It was a developing play. ... I just opened up, and (Adam Hughesman) gave it to me right in my wheelhouse."

Just as a few fans were filing out, the Bulls made things interesting as Andrew Crescenzi scored with 23 seconds remaining to send the game into an extra period.

It was the third lead the Wranglers squandered.

"I don't like us letting teams back into games," Mougenel said. "That's a mentality we need to change."

One mentality that probably doesn't need to change, however, is the Wranglers' resilience.

Lampe was having a quiet game, and was called for two penalties in third period. Those became a distant memory thanks in part to his heroics in the opening moments of overtime.

Chris Francis passed the puck to Lampe, who skated around the net. Lampe tossed up a shot that found its way into the net after hitting a few things along the way.

"It was a wraparound," Lampe said. "I didn't get all the way to the post, so I threw it up. It hit off the D's stick, off the goalie's head and into the net."

The win was the Wranglers’ third in five games, and it's a performance they can build off of, especially when it comes to the power play.

Entering Thursday's contest, the Wranglers were an abysmal 5 for 62 with the man advantage. Against the Bulls, the Wranglers were playing a team with the 20th-ranked penalty kill unit.

It was the perfect cure to those power play woes.

The Wranglers converted goals on three of their four power play opportunities, upping their power play goal percentage 4 points (12 from 8 percent).

"We got a couple lucky bounces, and they ended up in the back of the net," Blackwater said. "We were moving the puck well. We had guys at the net, and when you have guys at the net, they'll end up going in."

Offensively, the Wranglers were able to get off plenty of shots

Las Vegas pelted San Francisco goalie Thomas Heemskerk with 40 shots — 33 coming in the first 40 minutes of play. Heemskerk, who was named recently ECHL Goalie of the Week, made 34 saves.

"I had no idea how good their goalie was," Blackwater said. "We had to play our own game and stick to our stuff. We were working on putting pucks to the net and we executed tonight."

Dean Ouelett led San Francisco (8-10-1-2) with two goals.

Three Stars: Judd Blackwater (2 goals, 2 assists) Adam Hughesman (2 goals, 1 assist), Eric Lampe (game-winning goal, 1 assist)

Up Next: The Wranglers continue their three-game homestand with a two-game set against the Orlando Solar Bears. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. Friday.

Final Word: "It's probably a coach's nightmare to break that game down." — Las Vegas Wranglers coach Ryan Mougenel.

Paul Delos Santos can be reached at 990-2416 or [email protected]. Follow Paul on Twitter at twitter.com/pauliedelos.

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