Power-play struggles haunt Las Vegas in loss to Derlago, Idaho

For the third time in three nights, Las Vegas trailed Idaho after two periods at the Orleans Arena. But after rallying to force shootouts Thursday and Friday, the Wranglers’ comeback fell short Saturday in a 4-2 loss in front of an announced crowd of 4,653.

Steelheads left wing Mark Derlago notched a hat trick — the third by a Steelheads player in four games against the Wranglers — and Tyler Spurgeon scored a late short-handed goal to seal Idaho’s victory.

The defeat ended the Wranglers’ 12-game point streak (10-0-2) at the Orleans as they suffered their first home loss in regulation since Nov. 13.

Derlago and Spurgeon scored eight points apiece in the three-game series, and Mark McCutcheon added four assists Saturday for the conference-leading Steelheads (32-11-3).

Derlago gave Idaho the lead for good at 7:59 of the second period when he pulled the puck from a scrum in front of the net on a power play and fired it past Wranglers goalie Michael Ouzas for a 3-2 lead.

Las Vegas, which entered with the league’s worst power-play percentage (13.2), had several chances to tie it but failed to convert five power plays, including a four-minute man advantage during which it got two shots on net.

The Wranglers, 0-for-7 overall on the power play, also had a man advantage with 4:03 left, but Spurgeon spoiled it with a short-handed goal with 2:03 left.

Las Vegas, which went 1-1-1 against Idaho in the three-game series and 3-3-1 in the season series, dropped to 14-7-2 at home and 19-23-5 overall.

The Wranglers were outshot for the ninth straight game, 35-24, including 21-8 over the final two periods.

Derlago gave Idaho a 1-0 edge 3:19 into the game when he took a cross-crease pass from McCutcheon and punched it past Ouzas (16-18-4), who had 31 saves.

Las Vegas tied it at 6:43 when Alex Bourret caught Steelheads goalie Rejean Beauchemin (18-6-1) out of the net and scored unassisted.

Wranglers scoring leader Ned Lukacevic (46 points) gave Las Vegas a 2-1 lead midway through the period when he streaked down the left side and skated behind the net before depositing a wraparound goal inside the post.

The Steelheads tied it 2-2 at 1:34 of the second when Derlago’s wrist shot from the left circle got between Ouzas’ legs.

Beauchemin turned away 22 shots.

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

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