Stephen Sylvanie / Special to the Sun
Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009 | midnight
- Wranglers' home woes continue against Utah (11/11/09)
- Wranglers miss opportunities, suffer first road loss of season (11/8/09)
- Wranglers pull out narrow victory (11/7/09)
- Wranglers forward scores for local food bank (11/6/09)
- Bakersfield blasts Wranglers at home (11/6/09)
- Bonanza grad returns home to help defeat Wranglers (11/5/09)
- Madill completes long road to recovery (11/5/09)
- Wranglers edge Ontario, 2-1 (11/2/09)
- Wranglers rebound on the road (10/31/09)
- Grizzlies blow out Wranglers in record-setting fashion (10/30/09)
- ECHL suspends Wranglers goalie for misconduct (10/26/09)
- Late scoring surge lifts Wranglers past Aces (10/25/09)
- Ouzas stands strong in violent game (10/25/09)
- Fists fly as Wranglers bounce back against Aces in second game of series (10/24/09)
- Aces rout Wranglers in series opener (10/23/09)
- Aces forward continues Las Vegas dominance (10/23/09)
And now, a two-week forecast for your Las Vegas Wranglers: Grizzlies, Grizzlies and more Grizzlies.
Tuesday night, the Wranglers dropped the first game of a lengthy early-season series to the Utah Grizzlies 3-2 at Orleans Arena.
And for the team's foreseeable future, it's all Utah, all the time.
It's seven games against the Grizzlies in 13 days, with two road trips to Utah and back.
Hopefully for the Wranglers, the series will include their first victory against a Utah team that's had the best of them so far this season.
"A win against them is what we need right now," defenseman Craig Switzer said. "We need some confidence against them because they've had our number lately."
The Wranglers are winless in three tries against the Grizzlies this year, with all three of those defeats coming on their home ice of Orleans Arena.
In those contests, they have been outscored 17-7.
"The good thing is that it's the start of the year and we're only 10 games in," Switzer said. "But as the season winds down, these are the games that we're going to remember, so we need the wins."
The teams will face off for three straight games in the next three days, the first two on Thursday and Friday being played at Orleans Arena, before the Wranglers travel to Utah for a Saturday game in West Valley City, at the E-Center.
After Saturday's game, the teams will part ways for five days before reconvening for a three-game set the following Friday in Utah.
"It's brutal," Wranglers head coach Ryan Mougenel said. "I don't know how else to explain it and I don't fully understand it, but that's the scheduling and I'm not going to whine about it."
Many of the Wranglers' problems against Utah have come at the hands of Grizzlies captain and left-winger Ryan Kinasewich.
Kinasewich, who leads the ECHL with 13 goals and 20 points in only nine games, has scored five goals with four assists against the Wranglers this season.
"It's not just confidence playing the Wranglers, it's confidence playing on the road," Kinasewich said. "We've had most of our success on the road, and we need to figure out how to translate that to home."
As Tuesday night's game wore on, the hitting started to pick up, scrums began to form after whistles and players were jawing.
With the way both teams have played each other so far, it will be no surprise if both these teams emerge from the seven-game series with a new-found dislike for one another.
"That's the thing with this series," Kinasewich said. "We've seen the bad blood with three-game series but if the refs do their jobs, then nothing should boil over."
Switzer is a bit more confident about the gloves dropping in the near future.
"I think it will happen. It's like a playoff series, and that's what happens," Switzer said. "Guys are going to get sick of each other and both teams will get frustrated with each other, but that's what makes it fun."
What would undoubtedly make the series more fun is a win or two or three to pull closer to the top of the division.
"I'm not happy about it," Mougenel said. "Our guys better wake up or it's going to be a long series."
The Orleans Arena, a Boyd Gaming facility located just west of the Las Vegas Strip, is one of the nation’s leading mid-sized arenas, and was recently ranked No. 1 in the United States and No. 5 internationally among venues of similar size by Venues Today Magazine.
The Arena hosts more than 200 events each year, including concerts by top names like Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, Van Halen, Brooks & Dunn, Black Eyed Peas, Akon and Rihanna; family favorites like The Harlem Globetrotters and Circus Spectacular; and a wide variety of sporting events, including NCAA basketball tournaments, the West Coast Conference and Western Athletic Conference Basketball Championships, mixed martial arts with Superior Cage Combat, and major motorsports events.
The arena serves as home to the Las Vegas Wranglers professional ECHL hockey team, the Las Vegas Legends professional indoor soccer team, and the Lingerie Football League’s Las Vegas Sin. Stay connected to the Orleans Arena on Facebook (www.facebook.com/orleansarena) and on Twitter (@orleansarena).
Anthony Fenech can be reached at [email protected]