STEPHEN SYLVANIE / SPECIAL TO THE SUN
Friday, Feb. 28, 2014 | 11:10 p.m.
In the first of five straight games against the Idaho Steelheads, the Las Vegas Wranglers third-period struggles continued as they were defeated 5-3 before an announced crowd of over 4,500 fans on Friday night.
Idaho opened the scoring at the 7:25 mark of the first period with a Tommy Grant goal. Wrangler Adam Hughesman answered with a rocketing slap shot from the face-off circle that beat Idaho goaltender Pat Nagle to tie the game 1-1.
Special teams was a factor in the second period as Idaho forward David de Kastrozza forced a puck through Wranglers goaltender Travis Fullerton to score a short-handed goal. Las Vegas answered with a power play goal from center Chris Francis to tie the game, 2-2.
Idaho opened the scoring in the third period, with Gaelan Patterson netting his sixth goal of the season to give the Steelheads a 3-2 lead. Robbie Smith continued his inspired play as he backhanded his fourth goal in five games for the Wranglers to tie the game once again at 8:18 of the third. Gaelan Patterson scored his second of the night, and William Rapuzzi iced the game with a goal for Idaho to make it 5-3.
Seeking their 13th win of the season, the Wranglers will host the Steelheads again Saturday night at the Orleans Arena with a puck drop at 7:05.