Monday, February 1, 2010

Wranglers end road trip on a familiar note with loss

By Anthony Fenech

Monday, Feb. 1, 2010 | 10:02 p.m.

Monday night was a symbolic ending to the longest road trip of the season for the Las Vegas Wranglers.

The Wranglers dropped their second straight game — and eighth out of their last 10 road matches — losing 4-1 to the Utah Grizzlies.

"I can't explain our inability to win on the road," head coach Ryan Mougenel said.

"It's about having pride and competing. The bottom line is you have to win on the road and if you don't, you're not going to have a long professional career."

The loss in West Valley City, Utah, drops the Wranglers to 5-19 away from the Orleans Arena.

Four Grizzlies recorded multiple points in the victory — the team's sixth in seven tries at home against Las Vegas.

A.J. Perry's 17th goal of the season opened the scoring with 8:10 left in the first period, and Vlady Nikiforov's late-period tally gave Utah a lead it never would relinquish.

"We had a lot of opportunities to score and we didn't," Mougenel said. "I liked how we competed but we're not finding ways to win and that's got to be identified this week."

Andrew Orpik scored the Wranglers' goal just 26 seconds later, with assists by Adam Miller and Ned Lukacevic.

Grizzlies goaltender Beau Erickson blanked the Wranglers from there, stopping 25 of Las Vegas' 26 shots on the night.

"We're just not finding ways to put pucks in the net," Mougenel said.

For the seventh consecutive game, the Wranglers were outshot and failed to score a power-play goal for the fifth consecutive game.

"Our power play is non-existent," Mougenel said.

Lance Galbraith scored his second goal of the series in the second period to put Utah ahead by two, followed by Tony Romano scoring on a power play at the 11:56 mark.

Galbraith added an assist, which marked his seventh point of the series against Las Vegas. He totaled two goals and five assists.

The loss keeps the Wranglers in the basement of the ECHL Pacific Division, where their 40 points rank last in the National Conference, one point behind the Ontario Reign.

The team next plays Thursday, hosting the Idaho Steelheads in the 7:05 p.m. opener of a three-game weekend series at the Orleans Arena.

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