Stephen R. Sylvanie
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 | 1:25 a.m.
The Wranglers scored three goals in a six-minute stretch in the second period to help defeat the Western Conference-leading Alaska Aces 4-2 Tuesday night at the Orleans Arena.
“I think when this team plays hard, plays smart, plays fast and moves the puck that this team can be dangerous,” Wranglers assistant coach Rob Pallin said.
With the victory, Las Vegas pulls within a point of Ontario for first place in the Pacific Division with two games remaining in the regular season.
After Alaska took the opening lead of the game on a Brian Swanson rebound goal late in the first period, Las Vegas forward Eric Lampe scored his ECHL-leading 36th goal of the season at the 4:29 mark of the second period.
“It was a good team game,” Lampe said. “I thought we played really well as a team. That’s what we wanted to do — come in and work hard and try to get momentum going into the playoffs. Beating the first-place team means a lot.”
On the assisted goal from Adam Miller and Mike Madill, Lampe tied the Wranglers club record for most goals in a season, which was set by Peter Ferraro in the '07-'08 season.
“Finally getting the 36th goal to tie the record felt nice,” Lampe said. “It feels good to get that off my back. I have to thank my teammates for getting to where I am at. “
Miller gave the Wranglers the lead for good on a backhanded shot through the legs of Aces goaltender Gerald Coleman midway through the second period. Miller, who is second in the ECHL with 80 points, collected three points Tuesday night on a goal and two assists.
Wranglers center Ash Goldie, who was taken off the injured reserve Tuesday after missing 55 games with a shoulder surgery, scored from in front of the Aces’ cage moments later to cap three unanswered goals in a six-minute span of action.
After Alaska pulled within a goal of Las Vegas late in the second period, Wranglers center Judd Blackwater extended the lead to 4-2 on a blast from the right corner. Lampe and Miller were credited with the assists on the goal.
Stars of the game: 1. Adam Miller (one goal, two assists), 2. Eric Lampe (one goal, one assist) and 3. Judd Blackwater (one goal, one assist).
Pallin proves his worth: With Las Vegas head coach Ryan Mougenel unable to attend Tuesday’s game because he was with his wife, Kim, who is about to have the couple’s first child, assistant coach Rob Pallin made his head coaching debut at the ECHL level and picked up the victory over the top team in the ECHL with 94 points.
Lampe looks for record: With two home games remaining on Friday and Saturday, Lampe will have two chances to score another goal and move into sole possession of first place for most goals in a season in Wranglers team history.
Next up: The Wranglers return to action Friday as they host the Colorado Eagles at 7:05 p.m. in the first of a two-game set. The Eagles, who are in second place in the Mountain Division with 78 points, helped the Wranglers out Tuesday as they defeated Ontario 3-0 on their home ice.
Final word: “Coaching my first game against a first-place team and coming out of here with a win is good,” Pallin said. “I’ll say this: These players are coached extremely well. Ryan Mougenel is an unbelievable coach. We work well together. I’m still learning from a good guy who knows the game very well.”