With the game tied 1-1 and time winding down in the second period, Wranglers defenseman Michael Busto could barely believe his good fortune.
Left alone at the right point, Busto took a pass from Adam Miller and fired a slap shot into the back of the net to give Las Vegas a 2-1 lead with 1:17 left.
The Wranglers never looked back Friday en route to a convincing 4-1 victory over the Ontario (Calif.) Reign before 5,966 in their home opener at Orleans Arena.
"Everyone was watching Miller play with the puck," Busto said. "He gave me the pass, and I had tons of time to shoot it. There were guys in front of the net, and the goalie couldn't see anything, so it was kind of an easy shot."
Four players scored for Las Vegas (1-1-1), which notched its first victory after opening the season with two losses at defending ECHL champion Alaska.
"We were really focused on winning at home," Busto said. "When our team puts our mind to it, we're not going to lose too many games."
The Wranglers outshot the Reign (1-2-0) 15-4 in the first period and 33-22 overall and killed all seven Ontario power plays.
"Our penalty kill was awesome. We really kind of stifled any of their offensive confidence," Las Vegas coach Ryan Mougenel said. "Our guys did an amazing job of getting in lanes and blocking shots."
Defenseman Channing Boe enjoyed a memorable debut with the Wranglers, scoring his first professional goal on a blast from inside the blue line to give Las Vegas a 3-1 lead early in the third period.
"He's got a presence to him. He's big, tough, strong and makes simple plays," Mougenel said. "I really liked him tonight. Who knew he had some offensive upside?
"When the defense can provide that second wave of offense, it's big."
Judd Blackwater scored the Wranglers' third goal in less than eight minutes to make the score 4-1 at 6:33 of the third period. Miller set up the play, sliding a pass between two defenders in the slot.
Eric Lampe scored with 59 seconds left in the first period to give Las Vegas a 1-0 lead. Pete MacArthur set up the score, squeezing a backhanded pass between two defenders from the boards to the front of the net, where the speedy Lampe beat Ontario goalie Jean-Francois Berube for his team-leading second goal.
The Reign tied the score 1-1 at 7:34 of the second, when Chris Cloud scored from the slot.
Las Vegas goalie Joe Fallon (1-0-1) made 21 saves, and Berube (0-2-0) had 29.
Mougenel said he was looking for his players to show some grit and forward Ryan Weston led the way, blasting Reign center Matt Tassone with an open-ice hit in the first period and fighting Cloud five seconds into the third.
"That kid was running around a little bit and Westy addressed it," Mougenel said.
Wranglers center Geoff Paukovich, the team's biggest player at 6 feet 4 inches and 215 pounds, also buried Ontario defenseman Jean-Phillipe Cote with a hit near the boards in the third period.
■ NOTES -- Defenseman Mike Madill, the team captain, made his season debut after resolving an immigration issue. Fourteen Wranglers home games will be televised locally on KVCW (Cox Cable Channel 6) this season, starting with today's game against Ontario.
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0354.