The last time the Wranglers played Stockton, they thrashed the Thunder 5-1 in Game 7 of the ECHL Pacific Division finals last year.
The stakes were vastly different Friday, but the result was essentially the same, a 5-2 Las Vegas victory at the Orleans Arena.
Five players scored for the Wranglers (23-24-6, 52 points), who pulled within four points of the second-place Thunder (24-21-8, 56) in the division. The teams also play here at 7:05 p.m. today and 2:05 p.m. Sunday.
"We’re trying to catch these guys," Wranglers forward Adam Miller said. "Hopefully by the end of the weekend, we’ll catch up to them."
Las Vegas snapped a 2-all tie by exploding for three goals in the second period. Jeff Hazelwood drove to the net and buried his own rebound to make it 3-2, Jerry Pollastrone beat Stockton goalie Aaron Sorochan from the right circle and Miller’s goal ended the uprising.
Mick Lawrence added two assists for the Wranglers and thrilled the crowd of 4,124 by leveling Thunder defenseman Daryl Marcoux with an open-ice check midway through the first period.
Sorochan (0-2-1) was pulled after the second period for Andrew Perugini (15-10-4), who is third in the ECHL in goals-against average (2.60). Stockton outshot the Wranglers 11-4 in the third and had two power plays, but came up empty and finished 0-for-6 with the man advantage.
After missing the last five games with a concussion, Las Vegas goalie Michael Ouzas (17-18-4) stopped 32 of 34 shots.
"The boys played outstanding in front of me," he said. "That’s a huge win. From here on in, every game’s a must win."
Oren Eizenman scored for Stockton 38 seconds into the game. Alex Bourret, who had two assists, answered for Las Vegas on a power play at the 5:19 mark. The Wranglers finished 2-for-4 with the man advantage.
Josh Prudden put Las Vegas ahead 2-1 before Matt Robinson buried a rebound for Stockton.
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at email@example.com or 702-383-0354.LAS VEGAS — 5
STOCKTON — 2
KEY: Five players scored for the Wranglers, who broke a 2-all tie with three second-period goals.
NEXT: Thunder at Wranglers, 7:05 p.m. today, Orleans Arena