Stephen R. Sylvanie / Special to the Las Vegas Sun
Friday, Aug. 7, 2009 | 6 a.m.
Las Vegas general manager and head coach Ryan Mougenel did not have to search far for the Wranglers' new goalie.
Mougenel, a former Fresno Falcons assistant coach, agreed to terms with former Falcons netminder Michael Ouzas Thursday.
Ouzas, a 23-year-old Hamilton, Ontario native, posted a 10-6-1 record with a 2.68 goals against average and .905 save percentage last season in Fresno before the Falcons folded due to financial trouble. He finished out the season with the Reading Royals with a 10-16 record, 3.51 goals against average and a .903 save percentage.
"Michael has tremendous athleticism," Mougenel said. "He’s a proven goalie at this level and he has a very strong competitive nature that I really like. It’s important to get a goalie that is going to lead through his work ethic and how well he prepares. He has a great approach to the game and I admire the way he has played."
Ouzas was previously under contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs organization.
Prior to joining the ECHL, the 5-foot-10, 189-pound netminder led the University of New Brunswick to two consecutive National Finals, capturing gold in 2007 and silver in 2008. Ouzas also spent four season in the Ontario Hockey League, earning OHL Goaltender of the Year honors in 2005.
Mougenel said he would not name Ouzas as the automatic No. 1 goalie yet, but the rookie head coach is very confident about Ouzas' abilities.
"Every game he goes in he will give us a chance to win," Mougenel said. "It’s really important to get a solid foundation between the pipes and build your team back to front."
Mougenel also confirmed Thursday the Wranglers are in talks to bring back centers Adam Miller and Justin Taylor as well as defensemen Jason Dest and Brandon Straub.
Steve Silver can be reached at 948-7822 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Steve is a regular guest on the Heatwave Sports show on Fox Sports Radio 920 AM, which airs every Saturday and Sunday from 10 p.m. to midnight.