Friday, December 11, 2009

Wranglers drop opener in three-game series against Victoria

By Anthony Fenech

Friday, Dec. 11, 2009 | 2:05 a.m.

The second period wasn’t friendly to the Las Vegas Wranglers on Thursday night.

After scoring on its first shift of the game and holding the lead twice, Las Vegas gave up two Victoria goals — one on a defensive miscue ̵ in the second period, spelling a 4-2 defeat in the opener of a three-game road series in Victoria, British Columbia.

“We weren’t as detailed as them tonight,” head coach Ryan Mougenel said. “We played well but we have to play better.”

Francis Lemieux scored 22 seconds into the game to give the Wranglers an early 1-0 lead, but the Salmon Kings responded with a power-play goal by Chad Painchaud just more than a minute later.

After Ryan Weston’s fourth goal of the season gave the Wranglers a 2-1 lead at the 6:54 mark of the second period, Victoria scored two unanswered goals, the second coming with help from a Wranglers turnover in their own zone.

“We were faced with those scenarios a handful of times earlier in the game and played it to perfection,” he said. “We’ve defended that 10,000 times in practice and the one time we don’t, the puck is in the back of the net.”

Victoria’s Wes Goldie scored the game-winning goal on the play.

“I’m done teaching,” Mougenel said. “It’s all about results now.”

Las Vegas center Adam Miller recorded an assist, extending his points streak to four games, and goalie Joel Gistedt stopped 30 of 34 shots in his second consecutive game.

“Joel played his heart out in goal tonight,” forward Ryan Weston said. “We didn’t help him out in the goals department tonight.”

“We had some blown coverage on defense and we need to shore that up.”

The Wranglers were 0-6 on the power play and allowed two Victoria power-play goals. Twice they were whistled for penalties while on the power play.

“We had good opportunities to score,” Weston said. “Hopefully we can get that offense next time.”

The loss snaps a three-game winning streak for the third-place Wranglers.

“It was a good first period but we let down in the second,” Weston said. “That cost us the game.”

Goaltender Michael Ouzas has returned to the team from the bereavement list, but Mougenel said he’s questionable to play tomorrow.

“I like the way Joel is playing,” he said of Gistedt. “He played great. Our guys didn’t respond to his performance tonight.”

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