Wranglers seek at least split at Stockton before playoff series returns home

Overcoming a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-7 playoff series is difficult at best.

If the Wranglers don't want to find themselves in such an unenviable position, they will need to earn at least a split of Games 3 and 4 of their ECHL Pacific Division Finals series with the Stockton Thunder.

Both games will be played at Stockton (Calif.) Arena, with Game 3 at 7 tonight and Game 4 at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

"We're going in with the intention of winning both games, but at the bare minimum, we need to get a split and come back home with (a possible three) games to play here," said Las Vegas defenseman Sean Owens, who helped the Wranglers tie the series at a game apiece with a goal in Monday's 4-2 win at the Orleans Arena.

Including the playoffs, the home team has won all eight games between Las Vegas and Stockton this season.

"Their crowd is pretty loud," Owens said. "It's definitely (like having) an extra guy out there for them. But at the same time, we love it. It ramps us up, too. It's a good barn to play in."

The Wranglers, who have led in all nine of their playoff games, took an early 2-0 lead in Game 1 at Stockton, but the Thunder struck back for three goals in less than three minutes to take a 3-2 lead en route to a 4-3 victory.

"We had a 10-minute breakdown there, and they got three goals, so it's just a matter of us playing a full 60 minutes," said Las Vegas center Dan Riedel, who has combined with linemates Kelly Czuy and Adam Miller for 31 playoff points. "We want to be ready for them, because they get off to good starts at home. It's loud, they get banging, and their guys get going.

"It's hard to play there, but it's fun, too. It gets us going, too."

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0354.


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