Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bourret ejected as Wranglers lose, 4-1, to Idaho Steelheads

By Anthony Fenech

Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010 | 11:29 p.m.

The Las Vegas Wranglers' road woes continued Saturday night in Boise, Idaho, with a 4-1 loss to the Steelheads.

"We battled to the end, but we weren't as good as we were supposed to be tonight," Wranglers head coach Ryan Mougenel said.

The loss comes on the heels of Friday night's victory, which was the team's first on the road in five games.

Las Vegas has not won back-to-back road games since the first trip of the season when they beat the Ontario Reign on Oct. 30 and Nov. 1.

Tyler Spurgeon's goal on an Idaho two-man advantage just 19 seconds into the third period gave the Steelheads a two-goal lead that proved too much to overcome for the Wranglers.

"That goal was a backbreaker," Mougenel said. "Our guys did a great job of killing the penalty, but the puck found a way into the net and that hurt."

Spurgeon was playing in only his second game with the Steelheads after playing in 20 games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL.

Shay Stephenson tallied his fifth goal of the season 32 seconds later, cutting the lead in half, but two late Steelheads goals iced the victory.

"We played hard but we didn't play good enough early or late to get the win," Wranglers captain Chris Neiszner said. "That caught up to us."

For the eighth consecutive game, the Wranglers have allowed 30 or more shots. Idaho outshot Las Vegas 38-17.

"A lot of those shots are from the outside and that's perfect," Mougenel said. "We're trying to not give them too many grade-A shots, and we let them have those shots tonight."

"They're an offensive team, and they will shoot the lights out if you let them," he said.

Left-winger Mark Derlago scored two goals on the night for Idaho, bringing his total to 14 on the season. He also assisted on Spurgeon's power-play goal in the third period.

Weston Tardy recorded two assists for Idaho.

Friday night's hero for the Wranglers, forward Alex Bourret, was ejected from the game with 35 seconds remaining in the first period after a skirmish with Idaho's Riley Weselowski.

Mougenel said Bourett removed his elbow pad while tangled up during the fight, which is a violation of league rules.

"I wasn't happy about that trade-off," Mougenel said. "We gave up a guy that scored five points the night before for a guy that played one shift."

Las Vegas didn't score in five tries on the power play and is still mired in a 2-for-39 slump with the man-advantage, scoring that way only twice in the past seven games.

"We just have to be a better team," Mougenel said.

The Wranglers (17-19-3-1) fell to 4-15 on the road with the loss. Their 38 points remain tied for second in the ECHL Pacific Division.

"It's a matter of playing 60 minutes consistently on the road," Neiszner said. "We need to work on that first."

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