Saturday, April 21, 2012 | 9:30 p.m.
The Las Vegas Wranglers scored three unanswered goals over the course of the second and third periods to defeat the Idaho Steelheads 4-1 Saturday and improve to 3-1 in the Western Conference semifinals best-of-seven series.
Wranglers left wing Adam Miller opened the scoring with a goal at the 5:49 mark of the first period. He was aided with assists from Eric Lampe and Judd Blackwater.
Idaho tied the game at a goal apiece just over five minutes later on Joe Pereira’s fourth goal of the playoffs.
Las Vegas took the lead for good on a Geoff Paukovich goal at the 7:08 mark of the second period. Chris Francis and Mike Madill were credited with assists on the game-winning goal.
The Wranglers extended their lead to 3-1 early in the third period as center Ash Goldie beat Steelheads goaltender Jerry Kuhn for his second goal of the postseason.
Francis capped the scoring for the Wranglers on a goal with just under seven minutes left in regulation to make it 4-1. Robbie Smith and Scott Campbell picked up assists on the game-clinching goal.
The Wranglers outshot the Steelheads 49-26, including a 35-18 margin in the final two periods of play. Lampe and Goldie led the team with seven shots apiece, followed by Peter MacArthur who had six.
Wranglers goaltender Joe Fallon, who returned to the team from a stint in the American Hockey League before the series began, started the game in place of Mitch O’Keefe and stopped 25 of the 26 shots he faced to collect the win. O’Keefe went 5-1 in the six playoffs games he started.
Stars of the game: 1. Chris Francis (1 goal, 1 assist); 2.Joe Fallon (25 saves); 3. Geoff Paukovich (game-winning goal).
Next up: The Wranglers return to the ice at CenturyLink Arena at 6:10 p.m. Sunday with a chance to close out the Steelheads and advance to the East Coast Hockey League Western Conference Finals. If the Wranglers are unable to end the series on the road, they will return home to the Orleans Arena for Game 6 on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m.