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‘Mentally weak’ Wranglers dealt embarrassing loss

A miracle goal from center ice in the final seconds Friday was all that prevented the Wranglers from suffering their most lopsided shutout loss ever.

As it turned out, Las Vegas still equaled its worst regular-season loss in an embarrassing 6-1 defeat to Idaho on Friday at the Orleans Arena.

“They played terrible, and that was exactly how they practiced (Thursday),” a subdued Wranglers coach Glen Gulutzan said of his team. “Mentally, this team’s weak. There are too many guys in this (locker) room who have no clue what it takes to be a top team.”

Las Vegas, which lost 5-0 at home to Utah in the 2005-06 season, appeared on its way to a 6-0 loss to Idaho before Chris Ferraro scored with 17 seconds left to spoil the shutout bid by Steelheads goalie Rejean Beauchemin, who faced only 15 shots.

Idaho (6-5-2) led 2-0 after one period, 5-0 after two and outshot Las Vegas 34 to 15.

“We got outworked,” Gulutzan said.

The Wranglers (4-6-1) didn’t suffer their sixth loss until January in each of their last three seasons.

The teams will meet again at 7:30 tonight at the Orleans.

“They’ve got to compete,” Gulutzan said. “We’re going to be better prepared to play (tonight).”

Steve Gainey had two goals and two assists for the Steelheads (6-5-2), giving them a 1-0 lead 2:12 into the game on a shot from the slot.

Riley Weselowski scored in front of the net to give Idaho a 2-0 edge with 4:03 left in the first period.

Less than a minute into the second period, Ben Nelson misfired on a shot from the top of the left circle on the power play. But he simply regrouped and blasted his second attempt past Wranglers goalie Brent Krahn to give Idaho a 3-0 lead.

Krahn allowed five goals on 29 shots before being replaced by John DeCaro after the second period.

“(Krahn) played fine. He made some great saves,” Gulutzan said. “What are you going to do when they’re teeing up slap shots from the top of the circle? No, actually, teeing them up, misfiring and teeing it up again.”

Idaho pushed its lead to 4-0 at the 2:11 mark of the second when Gainey swooped in from the side and lifted a backhander past Krahn.

Matt Stephenson made it 5-0 with 3:50 left in the second on a slap shot from the right point.

DeCaro stopped four of five shots in the third, with Bryan MacGregor beating him in front of the net to make it a 6-0 game with 4:37 remaining.

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

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