BAKERSFIELD, Calif – The Las Vegas Wranglers ended their regular season in style, taking down the Bakersfield Condors 4-1 on Sunday afternoon at Rabobank Arena. ECHL saves leader Travis Fullerton added 37 more stops to his total in the victory, his 14th of the year. The Wranglers will now begin their quest for the Kelly Cup as they head to Alaska on Friday, April 18 for game one of a best-of-seven opening round playoff series against the Aces.
The Wranglers would strike first with just 2:05 left in the opening period as Robbie Smith buried his career-best ninth goal of the season, assisted by Geoff Paukovich (10) and Chris Kushneriuk (2) to put Las Vegas on top 1-0. The one-goal advantage would hold through the remainder of the period, as Wranglers goaltender Travis Fullerton saved all eight shots he saw in the first 20 minutes.
Early in the second period the trio would team up again, as this time it was Kushneriuk (4) hammering home a feed from Paukovich (11) and Smith (10) to put Las Vegas on top 2-0. For Kushneriuk, the goal was his second in the last three games, and ties a personal ECHL-high for scoring in a season. Shawn Skelly (13) would then extend the lead to 3-0 midway through the frame on the power-play, assisted by Chad Nehring (19) and Greg Coburn (15), his fourth assist in his last five games. Fullerton continued his perfect game in between the pipes, knocking away all 10 of the Condors’ shots in the second frame.
Las Vegas would add to their lead midway through the final period as Justin Bernhardt scored his fifth of the year, assisted by Nehring (20) and John Armstrong (20) to put the Wranglers on top 4-0. With just 1:02 remaining the Condors would salvage their first goal of the game as Joel Broda (21) broke through on the power-play, assisted by Jordan Knackstedt (32) and Matt Thurber (31).