Las Vegas Sun

June 3, 2015

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las vegas wranglers:

Wranglers can’t dig out of early three-goal deficit in season-ending loss

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STEPHEN SYLVANIE / SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Wrangler players celebrate a first period goal scored by Carlo Finucci on Tuesday night at the Orleans Arena. Las Vegas defeated Stockton 5-2 in game four of their ECHL Western Conference Quarterfinal series to tie it up 2-2 after two straight victories at home.

Wranglers Playoffs

Geoff Paukovich, right,  reacts after Carlo Finucci scored a third period goal against Stockton Thunder goalie Olivier Roy on Monday night during game 3 of an ECHL Western Conference Quarterfinal playoff game at the Orleans Arena on Monday night. Launch slideshow »

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The Las Vegas Wranglers fell behind by three goals Sunday in the first period in Game 7 of their ECHL first-round playoff series at the Stockton Thunder.

While the Wranglers rallied to trim their deficit to one goal, they never fully recovered in a 6-4 defeat to end the season. Stockton advances on to face Alaska in the semifinals.

Technically, it’s fair to say the Wranglers never recovered from losing Game 6 on Saturday. They led 3-0 entering the third period but couldn’t maintain the lead.

Last season, Las Vegas advanced to the Kelly Cup Finals. This year, they couldn’t duplicate the magic, dropping the first two games of the series in overtime, despite holding third-period leads. Then, of course, there was Sunday — Stockton erupted for five third-period goals to extend its season.

Sunday, Andrew Sarauer had a pair of goals for Las Vegas — one at the end of the first and the other seconds into the second — to trim the Wranglers’ deficit to 3-2. But Stockton scored the next three goals to put the game out of reach. Stockton pressured the Las Vegas net all game with 44 shots on goal — about 14 more than the previous games in the series.

Channing Boe and Matt Campanale each tallied late goals for the Wranglers, and Sarauer assisted on both goals for an impressive individual finish to the season.

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