On Friday night at the Orleans Arena, the Wranglers took on the top team in their Pacific Division and never trailed on their way to a convincing win over Ontario (Calif.).
But on Saturday, in a heated, physical battle with the best team in its National Conference, Las Vegas never led en route to a 3-1 loss to the Alaska Aces that ended the Wranglers' four-game win streak.
Alaska left wing Colin Hemingway wrote the ending to this one, scoring what stood as the winning goal on a shot from the slot 4:18 into the third period to give the Aces a 2-1 lead.
Scott Burt added a goal with 8:13 left to give Alaska (42-22-3) a 3-1 advantage, and it held on for its sixth win in eight meetings this season with Las Vegas (31-27-8).
The Wranglers came up empty on two power plays down the stretch and finished 0-for-5 on their league-worst man advantage.
Chris Ferraro tied it 1-1 for Las Vegas with 3:44 left in the second period, ripping a wrist shot from the right circle past Aces goalie J.P. Lamoureux (30-15-2), who stopped 24 of 25 shots.
Alaska took a 1-0 lead with 8:09 left in the first period on a power-play goal by Luke Erikson, who rifled a slap shot from the high slot past Wranglers goalie Glenn Fisher (11-6-2), who made 24 saves.
The Aces, who were 1-for-6 on the power play, had two apparent goals waved off by the officials in a span of less than two minutes in the second period, ruling Cam Keith hit the first one in with a high stick and Matt Stefanishion kicked the second one into the net.
Stefanishion, who incurred four penalties, was whistled for roughing midway through the second period after he shoved Ferraro to the ice, then hovered over him, drawing a chorus of boos from the crowd of 6,301.
The teams traded hard hits and punches from the opening faceoff, when Wranglers left wing Tim Spencer squared off with Aces left wing Robin Richards at center ice four seconds into the game in the lone fight of the night.
• NOTES -- Goaltender John DeCaro returned to the Wranglers from the American Hockey League's Portland (Maine) Pirates. ... Las Vegas center Adam Miller was loaned to the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals. ... The Wranglers activated left wings Shawn Limpright and Mick Lawrence. But it didn't take long for Limpright to get hurt again. About 30 seconds into warm-ups Friday, he got hit in the face with a puck and suffered a broken nose.
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0354.