Gregan Wingert / STEPHEN SYLVANIE / SPECIAL TO THE SUN
Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012 | 12:29 a.m.
Las Vegas (23-11-1-3) forward Pete MacArthur scored a goal and recorded two assists to help the Wranglers defeat the Ontario Reign 3-1 Saturday in front of a season-high crowd of 6,728 fans at the Orleans Arena.
After a scoreless first period, MacArthur opened the scoring for the Wranglers at the 4:48 mark of the second period as he fired in a slap shot from the slot for his 11th goal of the season. He was assisted by Eric Lampe and Michael Busto on the goal.
“It was a good five-man control breakout,” MacArthur said. “Lampe did a great job busting down the lane and he found me in the high slot. It was a well executed play by all of us on the ice to get us started.”
Less than two minutes later, the Reign tied the game at a goal apiece with a Kevin Estrada goal at the 6:34 mark. Estrada handled a pass just outside the crease from Pat Bowen and put the puck past Las Vegas goaltender Joe Fallon for the equalizer.
The score remained tied until midway through the third period when Lampe scored a power-play goal with 9:17 remaining in regulation for what proved to be the game-winning goal.
MacArthur passed the puck from the left slot to Lampe who controlled the puck near the crease and put it by Ontario goaltender Jean-Francois Berube for his ECHL leading 28th goal of the season.
“I faked the backhand pass to Miller and the defenseman bit on it, so I snuck to the inside,” MacArthur said. “I saw Lampe going back door so I put it there and it resulted in a goal.”
Wranglers forward Adam Huxley sealed the game with an empty net goal with 15 seconds remaining to extend the team’s lead to eight points in the Pacific Division over second place Ontario.
Stars of the game: 1. Pete MacArthur (1 goal, 2 assists); 2. Eric Lampe (1 goal, 1 assist); 3.Joe Fallon (21 saves).
Penalty killers: The Wranglers penalty kill was an important key to the victory as Las Vegas killed all four of Ontario’s power play opportunities on the evening.
Scoring surge: With three points on the evening, MacArthur moved into a tie for 18th place in the ECHL in scoring with 33 points. With two more points, Lampe remains in second place in the league in scoring with 46 points.
Next up: The Wranglers return to action Monday afternoon as they face the Colorado Eagles at 2:05 p.m. at the Orleans Arena for their final home game of the month of January.
Final word: “I liked us in the defensive zone,” Wranglers head coach Ryan Mougenel said. “I liked how we competed. It was a tough game for both teams. We’ve played each other three times in a row and that’s always kind of a tough thing. It was a big win for us. Our third period was awesome.”