Stellar goaltending, two power-play goals help Wranglers take 1-0 series lead

Mike McKenna had 58-plus flawless minutes in goal, and the Las Vegas Wranglers held off the Idaho Steelheads 2-1 in Game 1 of their ECHL National Conference semifinal series Sunday night in Boise, Idaho.

The victory was the 18th straight for the Wranglers, adding to their league record.

McKenna stopped 29 of 30 shots, allowing only Lars Helminen’s power-play goal with 1:12 left in the game.

“The defense did an unreal job of blocking shots for me and giving me a clear line of sight on most of the shots,” McKenna said. “They like to screen a lot of shots, and our defense didn’t really let them do that. I was only as good as the guys were in front of me.”

And he got all the offensive support he needed on Wranglers goals in the first and second periods.

Steve Crampton got things going early for Las Vegas, scoring a power-play goal just more than six minutes into the game to make it 1-0. Idaho’s Marty Flichel took a hooking penalty, and Crampton made it pay off in the waning seconds of the ensuing power play.

In the second period, Steelheads wing Lance Galbraith took a roughing penalty at the 11:09 mark, and the Wranglers again took advantage.

Defenseman Scott Schoneck, off an assist from Crampton, scored just more than a minute later to make it 2-0 on what proved to be the game-winning goal.

Shawn Limpright and Derek Edwardson each added assists for Las Vegas.

Idaho goaltender Steve Silverthorn had 21 saves.

Game 2 in the best-of-7 series is at 6:10 tonight, again in Boise.

The Wranglers then host Games 3, 4 and 5 — if necessary — on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the Orleans Arena.

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