ANCHORAGE, Alaska – – On two-goal nights from right wing Sean Wiles and center Judd Blackwater, the Las Vegas Wranglers defeated the Alaska Aces 4-1 on the road tonight to split the first two of a three-game series.
Wranglers goaltender Mitch O’Keefe, in net for the first time since Dec. 12, was tested early on by Alaska as the team outshot Las Vegas 14-6 in the first. With less than four minutes left in the period, Wiles tallied the first goal of the night for a 1-0 lead, and exactly 18 minutes later in the second, Blackwater scored on a rebound to make it 2-0. With 2:35 left in the period, the Vegas shutout attempt was vanquished as Aces forward Shawn Skelly recorded a goal to cut the Wranglers’ advantage in half.
Wiles regained the two-goal lead for the Wranglers 8:48 into the third, and Blackwater’s empty-net goal in the final 42 seconds secured the 4-1 win for Las Vegas. O’Keefe made 33 saves in a performance worthy of top Three Star honors as the team evened the series 1-1 after falling 3-1 to the Aces last night.
The Wranglers and Aces play one more game against each other Sunday afternoon before the team returns home for a three-game stretch starting Friday, March 1, against the San Francisco Bulls.