They weren’t treated to tacos, but Wranglers fans were treated to a wire-to-wire win Tuesday night at the Orleans Arena.
Las Vegas beat Phoenix 4-1 for its seventh straight victory, and the only drama in the dominant performance was whether the Wranglers would score a fifth goal to earn free tacos from Del Taco for the announced crowd of 3,868, who chanted "we want tacos" as the clock wound down in the third period.
Chris Ferraro put Las Vegas on the cusp of taco territory when he scored from close range to make it 4-1 at 4:21 of the third period.
Peter Ferraro set up the score with a crisp cross-crease pass from the left circle and Chris Ferraro lifted the puck past RoadRunners goalie Cody Rudkowsky, who stopped 30 of 34 shots and fell to 2-6 on the season.
Wranglers goalie Daniel Manzato turned away 29 of 30 shots to improve to 7-0 in the ECHL this season, including 5-0 for Las Vegas, which has the best record in the league at 11-2-0. The Swiss goalie’s shutout bid was spoiled by a fluke goal in the second period.
Phoenix (5-8), playing its first road game, dumped the puck into the Las Vegas zone, but as it rimmed around the boards, it hit a referee and bounced in front of the net. Manzato was behind the net and couldn’t recover in time to stop RoadRunners center Jeff Kyrzakos, who was credited with an unassisted goal.
Manzato stopped everything else, though, including two shots from point-blank range during a Phoenix power play in the third period. Both teams went 0-for-3 with the man advantage.
"He made a couple key saves at important times," Wranglers coach Glen Gulutzan said of Manzato. "He stopped the ones he should."
Playing its first home game in 17 days, and its fourth game in seven nights, Las Vegas started strong, scoring two goals in the first period and outshooting Phoenix, 15-6.
"We came out with some jump," Gulutzan said. "We were sharp early and that’s a credit to the guys getting prepared."
Adam Cracknell scored his team-high 11th goal of the season at 7:05 of the first period when he ripped a one-timer from the left circle past Rudkowsky. The Ferraro brothers assisted on the play in impressive fashion, with Peter skating past the blue line before dropping a pass between his legs for Chris, who zipped the puck across the slot to Cracknell, who leads Las Vegas with 17 points.
Cracknell assisted on the Wranglers’ second goal 7:07 later, getting his stick on the puck in front of the net before defenseman Sean Owens lifted it past Rudkowsky for his first goal of the year.
"Adam Cracknell was very strong tonight," Gulutzan said. "He’s raising his game day after day and it will get him back to the American (Hockey) League, that’s for sure."
Aki Seitsonen scored on a one-timer in the slot, off a feed from Tyler Mosienko, to give Las Vegas a 3-0 lead with 9:18 left in the second period, but Phoenix answered 15 seconds later.
Jason Krischuk added two assists for the Wranglers, who will continue their six-game homestand at 5:05 p.m. Sunday against Phoenix.Las Vegas WranglersMore Information
LAS VEGAS — 4 PHOENIX — 1 KEY: Wranglers goalie Daniel Manzato stopped 29 of 30 shots. NEXT: RoadRunners at Wranglers, Orleans Arena, 5:05 p.m. Sunday