Las Vegas Sun

August 18, 2022

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HOCKEY:

Condors edge struggling Wranglers

Las Vegas drops seventh straight, fall to last in league

BAKERSFIELD -- The Las Vegas Wranglers fell into an early three-goal hole Saturday night and despite their best efforts to climb out, they now find themselves trapped at the bottom of the ECHL.

The Bakersfield Condors rode that three-goal first period to a 3-2 victory over the Wranglers in front of 8,825 fans at the Rabobank Arena.

Las Vegas (6-12-1) has now lost seven consecutive games and is tied with Stockton (5-11-3) for the worst win percentage in the league.

"It sucks that we can't really to stop the bleeding after they get one goal," said Wranglers forward Kyle Hagel. "It seems like we just dig ourselves a hole. We all felt good in the locker room. We were trying to build off the positives and get a couple goals back, but it was just too little too late. It was too much to come back from."

Bakersfield forward Stephane Goulet struck first just 6:34 into the contest to give the Condors a 1-0 lead and send a shower of stuffed animals to the ice for the annual "Teddy Bear Toss."

Thousands of stuffed animals covered the ice after the Condors' first goal, which delayed the game nearly 20 minutes.

"It's just one of those things you have to deal with," Hagel said. "You never want a long delay like that, but it happens."

Following the teddy bear cleanup, the Condors continued to pour on the pressure, eventually scoring two goals in the final three minutes of the first period.

Condors rookie Matthew Myers tallied his first goal of the season off of a feed by Andrew Ianiero at the 17:31 mark for the 2-0 lead.

A few minutes later, Ianiero buried a loose rebound for the Condors' only power goal of the night to put Bakersfield on top 3-0 with only 13 seconds remaining in the period.

Despite the daunting deficit, the Wranglers did mount a comeback as Jason Krischuk got Las Vegas on the scoreboard with a power play goal late in the second period to cut the Condors' lead to 3-1.

Krischuk would then set up the Wranglers' second goal of the night when he fired a slap shot from the blue line that Ryan Weston redirected for a 5-on-3 power goal 9:14 into the third period to pull within one, 3-2.

Unfortunately for the Wranglers, history repeated itself as Las Vegas is now 0-10 when trailing after two periods.

Bakersfield goalie Timo Pielmeier hung on for the victory, making 33 saves and improving his record to 8-4. Las Vegas netminder Michael Ouzas made 25 saves, but fell to 6-10-1.

The Wranglers will now return home to start a six-game series against the Victoria Salmon Kings (6-11-1). Las Vegas hosts Victoria for three games before traveling to Canada for three more against the Salmon Kings.

Both teams are last in the National Conference with 13 points.

"It will be good to go home," Hagel said. "Against Victoria we have to get wins. We really have to get wins over teams behind us in the standings. It is always nice to steal some from Bakersfield, but against Victoria we have to get like five of six."

Stars of the game: 1. Andrew Ianiero (1 goal, 2 assists); 2. Stephane Goulet (1 goal, 1 assist); 3. Timo Pielmeier (33 saves)

Sentence served: Wranglers forward Francis Lemieux sat out Saturday's game because of a one-game suspension handed down by the ECHL for his cross-checking penalty and subsequent game misconduct on Friday in Bakersfield. Jeff Hazelwood suited up in Lemieux's place Saturday.

Marty milestone: Condors head coach Marty Raymond picked up his 200th career victory behind the Bakersfield bench Saturday. He has coached a total of 397 games for the Condors.

Heavy hitter: Las Vegas defenseman John Schwarz is not typically a fighter, but he stood up to Bakersfield enforcer Erick Lizon in the second period. While both players received fighting majors, Lizon earned an additional minor for instigating which led to the Wranglers' first power play goal of the night.

Next up: The Wranglers host the Victoria Salmon Kings at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday at the Orleans Arena for the first of six straight meetings.

Final word: "I think we have to stay positive," Hagel said. "We have some trouble doing that. So we need to stay positive and motivate each other rather than you know getting down on each other."

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

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