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September 23, 2014

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Weary Wranglers lose to Steelheads, look forward to day off

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Stephen R. Sylvanie/Special to the Sun

Idaho Steelheads goaltender Josh Robinson watches a puck he deflected toward the corner during the first period of play on Sunday afternoon at the Orleans Arena.

Wranglers vs. Steelheads

Andrew Sarauer (25) celebrates with teammates after scoring a third period goal against the Idaho Steelheads on Sunday afternoon at the Orleans Arena. Launch slideshow »

There won't be any partying on New Year's Eve for the Las Vegas Wranglers, and it has nothing to do with the fact the Wranglers lost their last game of 2012 against the Idaho Steelheads.

Instead, many of the Wranglers will use the day to get healthy after a stretch of three games in three days before playing four more games in five days.

"It's a day off, so it will be nice," Andrew Sarauer said after his team's 3-2 loss to the Steelheads. "We have guys who are banged up, but we have to regroup and put (the loss behind us). That's the good thing about this league: You play so many games."

The Wranglers (13-13-1-3) wrapped up a five-game road swing late Saturday before returning to Las Vegas early Sunday for a 2 p.m. game. The game capped a whirlwind two weeks for Las Vegas, which started with the Midnight Game on Dec. 16 before embarking on its road trip.

"I don't think I slept (during the road trip)," Las Vegas coach Ryan Mougenel said. "There is no way they could have. I'm exhausted, and I don't know how they feel.

"It was a tough travel day."

Despite being sick and banged up, the Wranglers put up a fight against the Steelheads (20-7-1-3). It wasn't the prettiest game — "brutal" was the word Mougenel used to describe it.

Las Vegas outshot Idaho 36-29, and in the first period, the Wranglers scored the first goal when Eric Lampe found the back of the net three minutes into the game.

The Steelheads tied the game in the second period when Justin Dowling scored on a power play, and they took the lead early in the final period when Sam Carrick scored.

Sarauer tied the game when he made a strong defensive play, resulting in a breakaway goal.

The tie didn't last long as David de Kastrozza scored after a beautiful pass from Carrick for the game-winning goal.

"We were playing catch-up hockey again," Sarauer said. "Seems to be the norm around here. We tied late, but it really matter since we should have been ahead the whole time. If we play 60 minutes and our game, we should get two points every night."

The Wranglers, however, have seemingly turned the corner after a rough start to the season. They've won five of their past seven, including going 4-1 on the road. The Wranglers will get another opportunity to build on the strong showings, as they will play their next four games in the Orleans Arena.

"We've been doing well," Lampe said. "We should have had (Idaho), but it's a tough break. We'll move up and plenty more games to go."

Three Stars: 1. Eric Lampe, Las Vegas (1 goal),  2. Andrew Sarauer, Las Vegas (1 goal), 3. Sam Carrick, Idaho (1 goal, 1 assist)

Up Next: The Wranglers are off until Tuesday, when they play the Ontario Reign at 2 p.m.

Final Word: "Growing up in Canada, that's one of the things you miss about being out in Las Vegas. ... It was an awesome thing with no rules. To go play when the game had no structure. That's probably when the game was the most fun." —  Las Vegas coach Ryan Mougenel on playing hockey outdoors as a child. The Wranglers on Tuesday host the Indoor Winter Classic, in which the Wranglers will attempt to replicate the NHL's Winter Classic — a hockey game played outdoors — inside. The team forecast that there will be light snow inside the Orleans Arena.

Paul Delos Santos can be reached at 990-2416 or [email protected]. Follow Paul on Twitter at twitter.com/pauliedelos .

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