Las Vegas Sun

August 13, 2022

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Bakersfield blasts Wranglers at home

Wranglers vs Condors

Stephen Sylvanie / Special to the Sun

Bakersfield Condors come together in the second period to celebrate a power play goal scored by John de Gray (center) against the Wranglers on Thursday night.

Condors top Wranglers 4-1

Kyle Hagel, left, faces off against Eric Lizon during the first period of play between Las Vegas and Bakersfield on Thursday night. Launch slideshow »

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There must be something in the water or at least the $1 beers at the Orleans Arena on "Thirsty Thursday" nights this season.

For the third consecutive Thursday home game, the Las Vegas Wranglers lost by a margin of at least three goals as this week the Bakersfield Condors snagged a 4-1 victory in front of 3,274 fans.

"We have to come to play earlier in the week," said Wranglers defenseman Mike Madill. "We can't keep letting the Thursday ones get away like that."

Thursday's contest did not escape the Wranglers until the second period as the Condors snapped a 1-1 tie with three unanswered goals within four minutes.

Bakersfield monopolized possession of the puck all game, too, as the Condors out-shot the Wranglers 40-21.

"Giving up 40 shots is not acceptable and hopefully the guys in the room can figure that out," Las Vegas head coach and General Manager Ryan Mougenel said after the Wranglers fell to 2-4 at home. "We just played very uninspired and that is a direct reflection of me. I think I know how I have to be with them. We are a team that can't just put our sticks in and hope for good things to happen. We have to work and earn every inch of ice. When we aren't doing that we are giving up too many chances and just not competing."

Bakerfield center MacGregor Sharp scored the first goal of the night late in the first period as he buried a rebound at the 15:24 mark.

The Wranglers answered right back 1:16 later when Matt Watkins knocked in a rebound off of a shot by Andrew Orpik to tie the game 1-1.

The second period, though, proved disastrous for the Wranglers.

Condors forward Dan Sextion started the scoring binge off of a long wrist shot from the blue line for his fifth goal of the season just 5:22 into the period.

Less than two minutes later, Andrew Ianiero poked in a loose puck for a 3-1 Condors lead.

Shortly after that, John de Gray scored the only power play goal of the night to put Bakersfield on top 4-1 at the 9:28 mark of the second period.

Las Vegas went 0-for-5 on the power play while Bakersfield was 1-for-6.

"Everybody in here has to figure out what pushes them to make simple plays and get pucks by these guys," Madill said. "They have a big team. We have to make them move to get pucks by them. We are getting away from things that work. We are maybe trying to make things too complicated."

Losing at home is never easy, but Thursday's loss was even more frustrating since the Wranglers had just strung together two nearly flawless victories in Ontario on the weekend.

"It's called inconsistency," Mougenel said. "We had two great games on the road. I showed probably 15 minutes of video of all great things. I'll be honest with you, I couldn't find too many bad things in that Ontario game that we did. Tonight, I'd be shocked if I could find five minutes of good stuff."

Despite making 36 saves, Michael Ouzas drops to 4-2 while Bakersfield's Timo Pielmeier improves to 3-3 with 20 saves.

Stars of the game: 1. Dan Sexton (1 goal, 1 assist); 2. Shawn Weller (2 assists); 3. Stephane Goulet (2 assists)

Ultimate warrior: In his first game back in nearly two weeks, Las Vegas forward Kyle Hagel did not hesitate to drop his gloves to fire up his team.

At the 7:42 mark of the first period, the 6-foot, 205-pound Hagel squared off against 6-foot-4, 234-pound Condors forward Erick Lizon.

Lizon utilized his size advantage and landed a few solid shots to Hagel's face.

Hagel received stitches above his right eye, and his left eye was nearly swollen shut. His status and possible return to the ice is not yet known.

"Kyle Hagel goes out and does a job that not a lot of people would understand," Mougenel said. "It's a real tough job. He fights a guy heavier than him and my team doesn't respond. I have a tough time with that and I apologize to Kyle because he is a guy who will do anything to win and I'm disappointed with how we responded."

Adidas for all: After hearing that the University of Central Florida forfeited a $3 million endorsement deal with Adidas because Michael Jordan's son refused to wear Adidas shoes, Wranglers President and COO Billy Johnson decided on a clever marketing scheme.

Johnson has proposed forcing every Wranglers fan to wear Adidas shoes while inside the Orleans Arena in exchange for that $3 million deal.

"I thought, well, if they are paying $3 million to the university to have 15 people wear the shoes, I can get thousands of people here to wear Adidas shoes for the same money," Johnson said. "Sponsorship is supposed to move product. What would be more effective to get people wearing the shoes where you contract with a sports team that won't let thousands of people in unless they are wearing a certain brand of shoes?"

Johnson said he would provide all fans with Adidas shoes to complete the deal.

As of Thursday night, Adidas had not contacted Johnson.

Next up: The Wranglers (4-4) remain at home to host the Condors (5-5) Friday at 7:05 p.m. at the Orleans Arena

Final word: "Tomorrow is a new day," Mougenel said. "We have a lot of work ahead of us. We have to get our minds right. Is it beating the guys down? I don't think so. But guys have to look themselves in the mirror. The guys who didn't compete and contribute tonight know who they are."

Steve Silver can be reached at 948-7822 or [email protected].

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