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October 2, 2014

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Wranglers take down Grizzlies in 4-1 victory

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Stephen R. Sylvanie / Special to the Sun

Las Vegas defenseman Jamie Fritsch looks to cut Chris Donovan off from the puck after Donovan fired it into the Wranglers defensive zone on Saturday night.

Wranglers vs. Grizzlies Jan. 5

Wrangler defenseman Nolan Julseth-White, left, braces for a hit from Utah forward Chris Donovan during the third period of play on Saturday night. Launch slideshow »

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For a team that has been plagued by slow starts this season, Saturday was a welcome change for the Las Vegas Wranglers.

It only took Sean Wiles 42 seconds to score the first goal, and the offense followed suit as the Wranglers picked up a 4-1 victory over the Utah Grizzlies inside the Orleans Arena.

"Starts have been something we've been preaching all year," said Wiles, who scored two goals. "We haven't had that many good ones. Tonight, we had one."

But Wiles cautions fans not to take too much stock in their fast start against the Grizzlies, preferring that fans wait until they start to do it on a regular basis.

"You have to make sure we start well every game," Wiles said. "It's something to build off of. But that's it."

The Wranglers improved to 15-14-1-3 (34 points) and are slowly creeping back up the standings after a sluggish, inconsistent start to the season.

While the offensive surge will garner plenty of attention, the defense one of the Wranglers' strengths played well, as did goalie Joe Fallon.

Fallon made 29 saves, including an amazing save with 2:09 left in the game. The puck began floating over Fallon's head, but before the puck could cross the line, Fallon slapped it away.

It was just one of those nights for Fallon, who was also aided by a few shots that bounced off the post.

"I was hoping it would hit the post," Fallon said. "There was a couple good (shots that hit the) post in there, and it's good to be lucky."

It was a much different story from Wednesday's outing where the Wranglers had plenty of chances to score and couldn't convert.

On Saturday, the Wranglers needed just 22 shots to score four goals, and Las Vegas coach Ryan Mougenel credits the effort his team made in crashing the net.

"That's all those goals were as a presence in front of the net," Mougenel said. "We did a good job at getting pucks in the paint."

Despite the Grizzlies being the second-most penalized team in the ECHL, it was a relatively clean affair as each team only had four power play chances.

The Wranglers, who are one of the league's worst on the man-advantage, converted one of their chances when Wiles scored his second goal of the game at the 9:20 mark.

"I liked our power play tonight," Mougenel said. "We had a lot of good looks."

Three Stars: 1. Sean Wiles, Las Vegas (2 goals), 2. Joe Fallon, Las Vegas (29 saves). 3. Eric Lampe, Las Vegas (1 goal, 1 assist)

Up Next: The Wranglers will face off with the Grizzlies again Sunday for a 2 p.m. tilt. The game is the second of a four-game set. Las Vegas travels to Salt Lake City on Friday for another two-games against Utah.

Final Word: "As a goalie, you're probably going to be more offensive. ... You're ready for a good push by them." — Las Vegas goalie Joe Fallon on being spotted a two-goal lead.

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

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