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Newcomer makes impact as Wranglers win fourth straight

Mat Robinson’s hockey season appeared to be over when the University of Denver swept his University of Alaska-Anchorage team out of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs March 14.

But Robinson started his professional hockey career Friday night with the Wranglers and wasted little time making an impact.

The speedy defenseman scored the winning goal for Las Vegas in its 5-2 win over Ontario, Calif., in front of a crowd of 4,222 at the Orleans Arena.

Robinson, who also had an assist, buried a rebound of a shot from the point by Mike Madill to give the Wranglers a 3-1 lead with 6:23 left in the second period.

Hugo Carpentier scored 15 seconds later to make it 4-1, and Las Vegas (31-26-8) hung on for its fourth straight win.

“Dilly made a good shot on net, and I just happened to be in the back door and put it in,” Robinson said. “It was pretty much a wide-open net. It really was exciting to get a goal in my very first game.”

Wranglers coach Glen Gulutzan said he was impressed with Robinson, comparing him to former Las Vegas ECHL All-Star defenseman Jason Krischuk.

“He played very well tonight,” Gulutzan said. “He’s got some energy, he’s got some jam, he’s got some hockey smarts, and he’s a good skater.”

The parent Calgary Flames recommended Robinson, a Calgary native, to the Wranglers, and that’s fine with him.

“There’s not a better team I can be going for right now,” he said. “I definitely love those Flames.”

Carpentier, who also had an assist, was reassigned to Las Vegas on Wednesday from the American Hockey League’s Quad City Flames.

Justin Taylor scored 3:19 into the game to give Las Vegas a 1-0 lead.

Brad Mehalko scored for the Reign to tie it at 1-1 midway through the first period, ending Wranglers goalie Glenn Fisher’s franchise-record scoreless streak at almost three hours (176 minutes, 57 seconds).

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

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