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Home dominance continues as Wranglers rout Steelheads

The Wranglers wore Santa-themed jerseys Saturday but weren’t in a giving mood against the Idaho Steelheads.

Stingy Las Vegas, which entered with an ECHL-best 2.33 goals-against average, skated to a 3-0 lead and held Idaho scoreless until the third period in a 4-1 victory at the Orleans Arena.

The home win was the seventh straight for the Wranglers (14-6-2), who had lost their previous two games on the road.

Geoff Paukovich and Greg Collins each had a goal and an assist for Pacific Division-leading Las Vegas, and goalie Michael Ouzas (10-3-1) made 34 saves.

Blair Riley and Paukovich scored goals less than two minutes apart midway through the first period to put the Wranglers up 2-0, and they were never threatened after that. Riley beat Idaho goalie Jase Weslosky (1-2-0) in front of the net at 8:39, and Paukovich fired one home from the slot at 10:27.

Jamie Bates buried a shot from in front of the net on the power play to give the Wranglers a 3-0 lead with 1:48 left in the second period.

The Steelheads (12-8-6) spoiled Ouzas’ shutout bid when John-Scott Dickson scored 1:12 into the third period.

But Collins sealed the win with 5:21 left when he streaked down the left side of the ice and scored from the left circle.

Las Vegas outshot the Steelheads 42-35 and went 1-for-6 on the power play. Idaho went 0-for-3.

The teams will meet again today in the Wranglers’ fourth game in five days.

■ NOTES — Las Vegas native and Centennial High School graduate Eddie DelGrosso signed with the Wranglers and started Saturday. The rookie defenseman, 25, tallied two points in eight games for the American Hockey League’s Springfield Falcons last season, when he finished his fourth year at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. … Las Vegas was missing several key players, including leading scorer Tyler Mosienko (17 points) and second-leading scorer Ned Lukacevic (15 points). Mosienko was recalled to the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage, and Lukacevic was placed on the three-day injured reserve. The Wranglers also played without defenseman Aaron Power (21-day IR), center Colin Long (seven-day IR) and forward Vince Bellissimo (bereavement leave). … Former Wranglers right wing Adam Cracknell made his NHL debut for the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday in a 5-2 loss to the Red Wings in Detroit. Cracknell, 25, is the ninth former Wrangler to play in the NHL but the first forward.

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

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