The ECHL’s leading goal scorer in the regular season, Wranglers left wing Eric Lampe continued his torrid pace in the postseason Monday at Utah.
Lampe, who set Las Vegas’ season record with 37 goals in 52 games, scored twice to lead the Wrannglers to a 2-0 victory over the Grizzlies in Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals at the Maverik Center in West Valley City.
Third-seeded Las Vegas will try to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 series at 6:05 p.m. today at sixth-seeded Utah.
Game 3 will take place at 7:05 p.m. Thursday at Orleans Arena. If necessary, the Wranglers also will host Games 4 and 5.
“It’s a short series, so it’s basically a full sprint to get three (wins),” Las Vegas coach Ryan Mougenel said. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do. They’re a very good hockey team.”
Mitch O’Keefe stopped all 21 shots he faced in his professional playoff debut.
“He deserves a lot of credit,” Mougenel said. “I don’t think he had the regular season he wanted to, but this is a great opportunity to prove to everybody he’s a real good goalie, because he is.”
O’Keefe, who played for Utah in 2009-10 and in Europe last season, missed most of this season due to injuries and playing behind Joe Fallon — who remains with Houston of the American Hockey League.
But the fourth-year pro came up big Monday, preserving his first shutout of the season with a couple of big saves in the third period.
After a scoreless first in which Las Vegas outshot Utah 12-6, Lampe picked up the puck behind the net and scored on a wraparound at 1:14 of the second for a 1-0 lead.
Lampe made it 2-0 at 3:32 of the third, when he deflected a one-timer by Mike Madill in mid-air past Andrew Engelage.
The Wranglers held the Grizzlies scoreless on five power plays.
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0354.