Snow didn’t fall inside Orleans Arena on Sunday afternoon during the Wranglers’ 3-2 loss to Idaho, but flurries are expected there during Tuesday’s "Indoor Winter Classic" ECHL game between Las Vegas and Ontario.
"I really wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some flurry activity during the game," Wranglers president Billy Johnson said. "Checking the extended forecast, I think there’s a good chance that’s going to happen."
Along with the presence of several snow machines, the forecast for the New Year’s Day contest, scheduled for 2:05 p.m., also calls for the chance of blustery conditions inside the arena.
"The game will feature many arena doors being left open in hope of creating unpredictable breeze patterns," Johnson said. "We are hoping for quite a draft."
Johnson, who also spearheaded such popular promotions as "Dick Cheney Hunting Vest Night" and "Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich Prison Uniform Night," has garnered attention for the "Indoor Winter Classic" concept, which is a play on the NHL’s signature outdoor Winter Classic.
The game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings, originally scheduled for New Year’s Day at Michigan Stadium, was canceled because of the NHL lockout.
"We hope that with time, the Indoor Winter Classic grows and we will be forced to move it outdoors," Johnson said.
The Wranglers will wear throwback jerseys featuring Indoor Winter Classic logos that will be auctioned off after the game.
A trophy featuring a chain and padlock will be presented to the winning team.
While most of the Wranglers have warm memories of playing indoors, they have warmer ones of playing outdoors.
"I grew up on the prairies in Canada, so playing outside is definitely something I’ve done my whole life," said left wing Andrew Sarauer, who hails from Outlook, Saskatchewan. "Playing an outdoor indoor classic in Vegas is going to be something special, too."
Said Wranglers coach Ryan Mougenel, who grew up in Toronto: "Back home, my sister and my parents are pretty passionate about keeping the rinks for the kids outside. When I was growing up, there was always an opportunity to play at anytime. It was an awesome thing, just playing with no kinds of rules. That’s when the game was probably the most fun."
While temperatures inside the arena Tuesday likely won’t match the ones outside – which are expected to be in the 40s – Johnson said he plans to bring a hat and gloves to the game and suggests fans do the same.
Fans will be allowed to skate with the Wranglers following the game, and rental skates will be provided at no charge.
Playing its third game in three days, Las Vegas (13-13-4) fell behind 2-1 in the third period Sunday before tying it on Sarauer’s unassisted goal with 4:19 remaining.
David de Kastrozza scored the decisive goal for Idaho (20-7-4) with 1:38 to play, burying a doorstep feed from Sam Carrick past Mark Owuya (3-2-0), who stopped 26 shots.
"I’m just disappointed we gave up a goal that late," Mougenel said. "That’s tough to swallow."
■ NOTES – Former Las Vegas forward Bryce Reddick, who attended Green Valley High School, signed with Idaho shortly before the game and saw action.
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0354.IDAHO – 3
LAS VEGAS 2
KEY: David de Kastrozza scored with 1:38 remaining, less than three minutes after Andrew Sarauer tied it for the Wranglers with an unassisted goal.
NEXT: Ontario Reign at Wranglers, 2:05 p.m. Tuesday