Friday, Dec. 19, 2008 | 10:54 p.m.
Ontario continued to reign over Las Vegas Friday night with their second consecutive victory at the Orleans Arena – pun completely intended.
After pulling out a one-goal victory on Monday night, the Reign once again eked out another one, dropping the Wranglers 4-3.
The Wranglers (10-13-2) are now 1-4 against the Reign (15-9-2) this season and fell to 6-5 at home.
"I don't think we were terrible," said Wranglers assistant coach Mike McBain. "I think we made some big mistakes that changed the outcome of the game. We've played Ontario enough where we know that it will be tight games and every little thing you do is going to count."
The most costly mistake of the night came early in the third period as the Las Vegas forwards did not dump the puck deep enough into Ontario's zone. The Reign capitalized and caught the Wranglers defense in the midst of a line change, which left Ontario's Ryan MacGregor with a clear path to the net.
McGregor buried the eventual game-winning goal with 15:19 remaining.
Despite out-shooting the Reign 32-27, the Wranglers were unable to find the back of the net.
"I know the boys are frustrated," said forward Mick Lawrence. "I'm so frustrated watching them lose to Ontario every time by one goal in the stands. But (the Reign) are a well coached team. They play great defense and especially if they get up by a goal, they play a great trap."
Blind zebras: The Wranglers were just two seconds from killing off a Jason Dest penalty in the second period when Ontario center Tim Krause tied the game at 2-2.
But everyone on the ice had seemingly stopped playing because Wranglers defenseman Jeff May was on the ice, writhing in pain, with a bloody lip thanks to an Ontario high stick. The players and most of the Orleans Arena crowd thought the play would be whistled dead for a high-sticking penalty.
Looks like everyone saw the penalty except for the refs. With May out of the play and the other skaters seeking a penalty, Krause buried his questionable goal.
After the game May was sporting a bloody lump on his bottom lip the size of a golf ball.
Welcome back Mick: Rookie left-winger Mick Lawrence finally left the injured reserve list Friday night after missing 19 games due to a right knee injury and he made his presence felt immediately.
Lawrence finished the night with one goal and one assist.
"I was a little shaky the first couple of shifts, but it didn't take long," Lawrence said. "Both my line mates were behind my back and working together with me."
His goal at the beginning of the second period to put the Wranglers up 2-1 narrowly missed the cross-bar and actually was reviewed by the refs because it bounced out so quickly.
"I knew it was in," Lawrence said. "I saw it go in the back bar but it didn't look good on the replay."
Three Stars: 1. Ontario's Ryan Macgregor (game-winning goal); 2. Kelly Czuy (1G, 1A); 3. Mick Lawrence (1G, 1A)
Going streaking: With his first period goal, forward Matt Beaudoin now has five goals and seven points in his last five games.
It's a zoo in here: Friday's intermissions featured a hilarious troupe of inflatable animal dancers known as the ZOOperstars.
The ZOOperstars were made famous by an appearance on NBC's "America's Got Talent" and they did not disappoint Friday night.
Yao Flamingo, Elephant Presley, Mario LeMule, Pee Wee Geese, Alex Frogriguez and Mackerel Jordan danced entertained the crowed with their renditions of "Soulja Boy," 'Beat It," and "Tootsie Roll."
Mom, can I get them at my next birthday party?
Next up: The Utah Grizzlies (11-11-1-2) invade the Orleans Arena Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.
Final word: "I thought we played a great game once again against (Ontario) and somehow they end up getting the bounces and coming out on top," Lawrence said.
Steve Silver can be reached at 948-7822 or [email protected].