Wranglers get physical in first victory of season

For the second straight night, the Wranglers trailed Alaska early. But unlike Thursday, when Las Vegas played uninspired in a 5-2 loss, the Wranglers fought back and answered every challenge issued by the Aces, whether it was a goal or a call to brawl.

Las Vegas scored three unanswered goals Friday to erase a 2-1 first-period deficit and hung on for a hard-fought 4-3 victory in a physical, penalty-filled game at the Orleans Arena.

The teams combined for 43 infractions — 21 of them for fighting or roughing — and 157 penalty minutes.

"I think the boys really came together tonight," said Las Vegas left wing Kyle Hagel, who dropped his gloves to fight on three separate occasions. "We were just all sticking up for each other and making sure we weren’t going to be pushed around, and that was part of (why we won). We knew we had to be more physical."

The win was the first of the season for the Wranglers (1-2-0), who ended Alaska’s season-opening four-game win streak.

First-year Las Vegas coach Ryan Mougenel questioned his team’s competitive spirit after Thursday’s loss and the Wranglers responded.

"It’s spirit, that’s all it was. They cared for each other," Mougenel said. "(Hagel) steps up and fights for a guy, (Andrew) Orpik takes what I think is an extremely cheap hit (a blatant knee by Matt Stefanishion) and the guys answered the bell, and that’s why we won. The guys came together."

The Wranglers went 2-for-7 on the power play and allowed just one goal to Alaska in 10 power-play chances, including three two-man advantages.

Goalie Michael Ouzas stopped 26 of 29 shots for Las Vegas, Adam Miller had a goal and two assists, and Orpik had a goal and an assist.

"Ouzas was spectacular in there and … Orpik, (Matt) Watkins and Miller were unstoppable tonight," Mougenel said.

The Aces took leads of 1-0 and 2-1, but the Wranglers quickly tied the score each time.

After Scott Burt gave Alaska a 1-0 lead on an unassisted, short-handed goal 8:44 into the game, Miller responded with a power-play goal from the right circle 80 seconds later to tie it.

Colin Hemingway scored at the end of a 5-on-3 power play to give the Aces a 2-1 edge with 3:58 left in the first, but Orpik answered 38 seconds later on a deflection in front of the net to tie it again.

Jason Krischuk gave Las Vegas a 3-2 lead 2:33 into the second period, and Josh Prudden made it 4-2 at the 8:33 mark on a power-play goal from the right circle.

John Lammers scored from his knees to trim Alaska’s deficit to 4-3 with 5:30 left in the game, but the Wranglers managed to hold off the Aces down the stretch, killing a power play along the way.

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

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