LAS VEGAS – Evening the Western Conference Quarterfinals at two games apiece, the Las Vegas Wranglers won 5-2 over the Stockton Thunder tonight after shutting out the team 3-0 last night.
Five minutes into the game, Wranglers center Carlo Finucci scored to give Las Vegas an early 1-0 lead. The home team then tallied back-to-back power play goals from defenseman Marc Cantin and center Chris Francis, in a span of less than two minutes, to quickly put Stockton in a three-goal hole. The Thunder responded in the second half of the opening period, recording goals from defenseman Nik Pokulok and right wing Matt Reber to narrow Vegas’ lead, 3-2.
Wranglers goaltender Joe Fallon, appearing in his fourth postseason game in a row, and Thunder goaltender Tyler Bunz held the teams scoreless through the second with both teams getting 11 shots on net. The third period belonged to Las Vegas as 2:55 in, Francis picked up his second goal of the night for the 4-2 lead. With Bunz pulled in the final two minutes for the Stockton man advantage, Wranglers forward Scott Pitt posted an empty net goal to win the game 5-2. Fallon stopped 31 of 33 shots.
Game 5 takes place in Las Vegas tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m., and the series continues in Stockton on Friday, April 12, and Sunday, April 14. The winner of the Wranglers/Thunder best-of-seven series will advance to the Western Conference Semifinals and face either the Alaska Aces or San Francisco Bulls in the next round.
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