Playing his first full game in more than a year following offseason hip surgery, former NHL goalie Mike Brodeur and the Wranglers were pushed to the limit by Idaho on Friday.
Brodeur’s body was up to the task, but his game needs further polishing after suffering a 3-2 shootout loss to the Steelheads in front of 4,203 at Orleans Arena.
Ian Lowe beat Brodeur in the sixth round of the shootout to lift Idaho (28-31-9, 65 points), which took a 2-0 lead in the shootout on goals by Marty Flichel and Derek LeBlanc in the first two rounds.
“There was a little bit of rust after sitting out that long,” said Brodeur, 28, who played seven games for the Ottawa Senators over the past two injury-plagued seasons. “It was tough. I felt like my timing was off on breakaways.
“It’s something I’ll have to work on the next few days to get my timing back.”
Mike Madill scored in the second round and Adam Miller beat Jerry Kuhn (33 saves) in the fourth round to set the stage for Eric Lampe, who had a chance to win it for Las Vegas (40-22-6, 86) in the fifth round.
But the ECHL’s leading goal scorer with 35 in 48 games was stoned by Kuhn, who then stopped Scott Campbell in the sixth round to seal the win.
“That’s what you want,” Wranglers coach Ryan Mougenel said of Lampe being in position to win the game. “But in a shootout anything can happen.
“We should’ve never gone to a shootout.”
Idaho tied it 2-2 at 5:46 of the third period, when Steven Tarasuk scored on a blast from the high slot off a quick pass from the boards from Flichel.
Las Vegas, which fell to 7-1-3 against Idaho this season, took a 2-1 lead midway through the second period when Adam Huxley zipped a pass in front to Ryan Weston, who punched it past Kuhn.
The Steelheads had tied it 1-1 at 3:43 of the second when Cody Purves scored on a deflection.
The Wranglers took a 1-0 lead with 2:55 left in the first when Judd Blackwater scored on a deflection on the power play. Chris Francis and Miller assisted, with Miller sending a pass to the point and Francis firing a one-timer on net.
Brodeur was sent to Las Vegas on a rehabilitation stint by Houston of the American Hockey League when Wranglers goalie Joe Fallon (30-10-4, 2.39 goals-against average) joined the Aeros.
“There were times he looked like he hadn’t played in eight or nine months,” Mougenel said of Brodeur. “It’s about getting back in the flow of the game.”
With Fallon still with Houston and Brodeur expected to return there today, Mougenel is concerned about his goaltending heading into the ECHL playoffs.
Goalie Mitch O’Keefe is 8-9-1 with a 2.77 GAA and Robby Moss has yet to see action.
“We have to figure out our goaltending situation in a hurry,” Mougenel said. “I’m waiting for the goalies to step up and show me who’s No. 1, and I haven’t seen it from anyone.”
■ NOTE — Center Geoff Paukovich is on the three-day injured reserve.
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at email@example.com or 702-383-0354IDAHO — 3
LAS VEGAS — 2
KEY: Ian Lowe beat Mike Brodeur in the sixth round of a shootout to lift the Steelheads.
NEXT: Steelheads at Wranglers, 7:05 p.m. today, KVCW (6)