New acquisition Gallagher scores decisive goal in Wranglers’ victory

Shorthanded due to injuries and call-ups to the American Hockey League, the Wranglers acquired rookie Blake Gallagher from the Elmira (N.Y.) Jackals on Friday for considerations.

Considering the 5-foot-7-inch forward from Cornell University netted the decisive goal for Las Vegas in its 3-1 victory over the Victoria Salmon Kings on Saturday night at the Orleans Arena, the trade could turn out to be a shrewd move by the Wranglers.

Gallagher’s goal broke a 1-1 tie with 2:23 left in a second period dominated by Las Vegas, which outscored Victoria 2-0 in the frame and outshot it, 18-11.

Less than two minutes after the Wranglers (2-1) came up empty on a two-minute, two-man advantage, Gallagher scored an even-strength goal to give them the lead for good.

He streaked down the ice before firing a shot on net that deflected off the skate of Salmon Kings defenseman Taylor Ellington and between the legs of Victoria goalie David Shantz to give Las Vegas a 2-1 edge.

“He’s a very offensive player,” Wranglers coach Ryan Mougenel said of Gallagher. “Elmira’s loss is our gain.”

Wranglers goalie Michael Ouzas (2-0) helped make the score stand up, stopping 27 of 28 shots, and left wing Blair Riley sealed the win by scoring an unassisted empty-net goal on a blast from near center ice with 1:18 remaining in regulation.

Riley’s first professional goal came after Shantz left the net to give Victoria (2-2) an extra attacker but before the goalie was off the ice. Shantz (35 saves) tried in vain to get back in net to stop Riley’s rocket.

The Salmon Kings took a 1-0 lead 6:59 into the first period when Matt Siddall buried a rebound in front of the net.

Las Vegas defenseman Craig Switzer scored a power-play goal at the 27-second mark, pouncing on a loose puck in the crease to tie the game, 1-1.

The Wranglers went 1-for-11 on the power play and are 3-for-21 in three games this season. Victoria went 0-for-5 with the man advantage, and Las Vegas hasn’t allowed a power-play goal in 16 chances this season.

The Wranglers, who outshot Victoria 38-28, bounced back after Friday’s 3-1 loss in their home opener.

Las Vegas played Saturday without injured players Kevin Schaeffer, Geoff Paukovich, Jerry Pollastrone and Vince Bellissimo, along with Tyler Mosienko, Colin Long and Ryan Weston, who are with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage.

“We had a short bench,” Mougenel said. “That’s a testament to the type of people we have. We’re a relentless team and I’m really proud of the guys, how hard they worked.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at or 702-383-0354.

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