Wranglers crack Aces, earn shootout victory

Trailing throughout their game against Alaska on Friday night, the resilient Wranglers didn’t lead until the second round of the shootout, when Andrew Sarauer beat Gerald Coleman.

Joe Fallon made the score stand up, stopping the Aces’ final four shooters to seal Las Vegas’ 5-4 shootout victory over Alaska before 5,341 at Orleans Arena.

The Wranglers erased deficits of 1-0, 3-1 and 4-3 en route to their second straight comeback win.

“It’d be nice to get a lead, but I liked us tonight. I liked our resilience,” Las Vegas coach Ryan Mougenel said. “We outplayed them, and we showed our character, for sure.”

Eric Lampe scored on a deflection to tie the game 4-4 with 44 seconds remaining in regulation.

Sarauer helped set up the tying goal, winning a draw after a Wranglers timeout. Nolan Julseth-White fired the puck on net, and it caromed off Lampe’s arm past Coleman.

“I was sitting there at the right spot, it hit my arm, and it went in,” said Lampe, who had a goal waved off with 5:33 to play because of goaltender interference.

Adam Hughesman also had a goal waved off in overtime because the play had been whistled dead before he poked the puck past Coleman, who finished with 32 saves.

“We had two disallowed goals, which was tough, but we battled back and didn’t get down,” Lampe said.

Bobby Hughes scored in the first round of the shootout to give Alaska a 1-0 edge, but Chris Francis – who had a goal and an assist – answered with a goal to tie it.

Fallon (32 saves) stopped Nick Mazzolini, who had two goals for the Aces, before Sarauer beat Coleman with a hesitation move he’s used before in shootouts.

“I went back to old faithful,” Sarauer said. “You want to come in with some speed and try to hit the brakes and freeze the goalie a little bit, then give a little bit fake to the backhand and bring it back to the forehand low blocker.”

A former fourth-round draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks who spent last season in Denmark, the 6-foot-4-inch, 215-pound Sarauer is the Wranglers’ third-leading scorer with 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) and was awarded the game puck Friday.

“He’s been our best player for the last 15 games. He’s been very consistent,” Mougenel said. “He doesn’t have the numbers he probably wants, but you win games in the little areas, and that’s exactly what he does.”

Shawn Skelly scored on a power play to give Alaska a 4-3 edge with 2:03 left in the second period.

Las Vegas (20-19-5, 45 points), which outshot Alaska 19-9 in the third period and overtime, scored goals less than six minutes apart in the second period to tie it 3-3.

Sean Wiles scored in front at 7:34 to make it 3-2, and Judd Blackwater converted a feed in front from Francis to knot it at 3 with 6:38 left.

Mazzolini put the Aces (32-11-4, 68) ahead 6:49 into the game on a hard drive to the net and made it 3-1 at 1:08 of the second period.

Hughes gave Alaska a 2-1 edge with 4:44 left in the first on a blast from the point.

Francis tied it 1-1 with 5:58 left in the first, stealing the puck at the blue line before scoring an unassisted goal.

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

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