Wranglers battle back; fall in wild one, 6-5 Las Vegas and Bakersfield go down to wire in thriller

LAS VEGAS – Chad Nehring, Matt Tassone, Cody Purves and Geoff Paukovich all tallied two points apiece, but Las Vegas fell in a dramatic 6-5 game to the Bakersfield Condors on Tuesday night.

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Wranglers’ captain Geoff Paukovich celebrates his first period goal which gave the Wranglers an early 3-2 lead – Photo Credit to IIA Photography.

 In what proved to be a five-goal first period, Las Vegas would draw first blood as Chad Nehring potted his 11th of the season just 26 seconds into the game. Assists on the score, which put the Bakersfield would Wranglers up 1-0, went to John Armstrong (9) and Adam Huxley (8). The Condors would answer right back though as Spencer Bennett scored his 5th of the year 6:10 into the period to make it 1-1, assisted by Ryan Little (11).

 Las Vegas took the lead once more just a short three minutes later as Shawn Skelly scored number seven on the year assisted from Adam Hughesman (15) and Charlie Cook (13). Bakersfield then tied the game up at two on Michael Neal’s 14th of the season, assisted by Matt Thurber (19) and Chris Collins (20). But with just 1:13 remaining in the period the Wranglers would recapture the advantage as Geoff Paukovich hammered home his fifth of the season off feeds from Matt Tassone (19) and Cody Purves (4), who was appearing in his first game action since Jan. 8.

The Wranglers would add to their lead in the second period as Tassone scored his 10th of the year, short-handed, giving him two points on the night and putting Las Vegas on top 4-2. Nehring (9) recorded the lone assist on the score, giving him two points as well and 13 total in his last 13 games (8g, 5a). Bakersfield would battle back however, using back-to-back goals from Erik Burgdoerfer (10) and Collins (12) to tie the game up 4-4.

The deadlock would remain until the third period when Bakersfield tallied their third straight goal, this time from Chase Schaeber (9) to take a 5-4 lead with just 7:38 to go in the game. Assists on the score went to Thurber (20), his second of the game, and Knackstedt (21), his third. The Condors would add an empty netter from Collins (13) to make it a 6-4 lead, his second goal of the night and fourth point on the contest. With just 36 seconds left on the clock, Robbie Smith (5) cut the lead to 6-5 with assists from Purves (5) and Paukovich (6), but the final horn would cut the comeback short.

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