Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wranglers come out flat, lose 5-2 to Bakersfield

By Anthony Fenech

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 | 12:12 a.m.

Wranglers head coach Ryan Mougenel didn’t have a good feeling as his team warmed-up before Tuesday night’s game at Bakersfield.

“We weren’t looking sharp,” he said. “I didn’t like the feel of us before the game and didn’t like where our minds were at.”

The feeling carried over from pregame to game time, as the Wranglers lost to the Condors, 5-2, at Rabobank Arena.

“I didn’t think we played very good,” Mougenel said. “In every aspect of the game, from goaltending on.”

A three-goal, second-period spurt by Bakersfield provided goaltender Timo Pielmeier with all the offense he needed, stopping 18 of 20 Las Vegas shots on the night.

After forward Andrew Ianiero gave the Condors a 1-0 lead midway through the second, back-to-back goals by Eric Regan and Gino Guyer put Las Vegas in a three-goal hole.

“We looked like we had just played a lot of games, like we were in the last leg of five games in five days,” Mougenel said.

But goals in the last minute of the second period and the first minute of the third period kept the Wranglers alive. The tallies came courtesy of Adam Miller on the power play, his 24th goal of the season, and Josh Prudden.

Down a goal late and once again on the power play, Las Vegas’ special teams faltered, allowing a shorthanded goal to Guyer, his second of the game, for an insurance goal with 9:55 left on the clock.

Ryan Menei pushed home an empty-net goal with 54 seconds left to ice the game.

“I was disappointed in our discipline and disappointed in our execution from everybody,” Mougenel said. “These are the games that are going to haunt us in the end.”

Las Vegas goaltender Joel Gistedt stopped 18 of 22 Condors shots.

After an emotional weekend in which the team took two out of three shootout games against the Ontario Reign, Mougenel said he could see the impact on his team’s play.

“The leaders and older players, extensions of me, need to make other players accountable,” Mougenel said. “As a coach, you feel it before the game and there’s only so much you can do.”

The Wranglers play Wednesday night in Bakersfield before coming home this weekend to face the Condors at home.

Roster report: Left-winger Ned Lukacevic tallied an assist before getting called up to the Providence Bruins, the AHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins.

Lukacevic has 61 points in 58 games this season, including a team-leading 25 goals.

“It hurts losing him, but it’s a great chance for him to go up there and do his thing,” Mougenel said. “If we get him back, we get him back. But that’s the nature of the beast.”

Lukacevic played 52 games with Providence during the 2008-09 season.

“This is also a great opportunity for guys to step in and fill the void,” Mougenel said.

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