Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010 | 1:04 a.m.
A night after the Las Vegas Wranglers lost a third-period lead that resulted in an overtime loss to the Alaska Aces, the team was once again faced with a similar challenge.
But this time was different. After squandering the late one-goal lead, Josh Prudden’s game-winning goal in overtime lifted the Wranglers to a 4-3 victory Saturday night.
“It was huge,” head coach Ryan Mougenel said. “We found a way tonight.”
The goal was Prudden’s second of the game and was assisted by defenseman John Schwarz.
“Schwarz made a good play to the net, found Prudden and he did a great job tapping it in,” Mougenel said. “Sometimes the overtime heroes come in unlikely packages.”
Prudden’s first goal of the game was near the midway point of the third period, to give the Wranglers a one-goal lead.
The lead lasted for nearly eight minutes before Alaska’s Eric Boguniecki tied the game with a power-play goal from T.J. Fast and Nick Mazzolini.
“It was a see-saw battle tonight,” Schwarz said. “In all, it was just a huge victory to battle and get that overtime win after just coming up a bit short last night.”
Schwarz scored his second goal of the season midway through the first period to answer Judd Blackwater’s game-opening goal for Alaska.
“Things are going well for us on the ice,” Schwarz said. “Not much has changed for me but things seem to be going in now.”
Blackwater scored again in the first period, with 29 seconds remaining, as the Wranglers tried to fight off a two-man advantage.
Wranglers center Adam Miller, who watched Blackwater’s second goal from the penalty box, then tied the score at the 11:43 mark of the second period.
The goal came with the man-advantage and was assisted by Mike Madill and Alex Bourret. Miller leads the team against the Aces with five goals and nine points.
Las Vegas goaltender Jimmy Spratt won his second game for the Wranglers, stopping 36 of 39 shots.
“I’m really pleased with the way he’s come in and energized us,” Mougenel said.
“He’s exactly what we’ve needed, a real boost in the arm. Like I’ve said before, there are lot of great goalies out there but not enough jobs. He fell into that category.”
The two teams face off Sunday at 6:05 for the rubber match of the three-game series.
A win would give the Wranglers their first road series win of the season.
“The two points are critical at this point of the season,” Mougenel said. “But more importantly, we need to show that we can win on the road.”