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Ferraro’s goals key win over Condors

Two seasons ago, the Wranglers tied a modern-day hockey mark with 18 straight wins. But so far this year they’ve been unable to win two in a row.

Las Vegas, which beat Bakersfield 4-2 Friday night at the Orleans Arena, hopes to change that tonight at home against Phoenix (6-2-2), which beat the Wranglers 2-1 on Monday despite getting outshot 45-26.

“It’s a big-time game for us because we need to start putting wins back to back,” Las Vegas coach Glen Gulutzan said.

In addition to giving the Wranglers (3-4-1) their first winning streak of the season, a victory tonight would lift Las Vegas to the .500 mark for the first time this season.

“If we don’t win (tonight), it’s not a very good weekend,” said 6-foot-4-inch, 215-pound Wranglers center Justin Taylor, who scored a goal and assisted on another Friday.

Chris Ferraro had two goals and J.D. Watt two assists for Las Vegas, which improved to 3-1-0 at home.

Taylor helped get things going when he fired a cross-ice pass from the corner to the front of the net, where Chris Neiszner punched the puck inside the left post 7:18 into the contest to give Las Vegas a 1-0 lead.

Taylor capped the scoring with an unassisted goal 6:10 into the third period, displaying nifty puck-handling in front of the net before beating Condors goalie Dave McKee with a backhander.

“I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Justin yet,” said Gulutzan, who noted Taylor is battling nagging injuries. “Once he gets his full game intensity, he’ll be a force.”

Bakersfield tied it 1-1 in the second period’s opening minute when Mark Derlago buried a rebound in front of the net.

The Wranglers took a 2-1 edge 2:58 into the second when Ferraro lifted the puck from the bottom of the left circle into the top of an open net. J.D. Watt set up the play from the right circle, drawing McKee toward him before firing a pass across the slot.

The Condors tied it 2-2 with a power-play goal at 5:22 of the second when Tyler Scott took a shot from the left point that sailed through traffic past Las Vegas goalie Brent Krahn (20 saves), who appeared to be screened on the play.

But Las Vegas regained the lead for good, at 3-2, with 4:18 left in the second period when Ferraro deflected a left-point shot by Mike Madill past McKee (23 saves).

Ferraro, who leads Las Vegas with four goals and seven points, said he’s fully recovered from last season’s severe concussion.

“I feel like it’s coming around now,” he said.

The Wranglers, who entered with the second-worst power play in the ECHL, went 0-for-6 with the man advantage, falling to 5-for-50 on the season.

“Our power play is getting chances,” Gulutzan said. “They’re just not going in.”

Las Vegas is among the league leaders on the penalty kill, though, allowing only eight goals in 55 short-handed situations. Bakersfield finished 1-for-5 on the power play.

NOTES — Wranglers defenseman Jason Dest was activated from the three-day injured reserve list, and defenseman Sean Owens was placed on the three-day IR.

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

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