Wranglers use special teams to grab SO win over Stockton

LAS VEGAS – Special teams and ace goaltending made all the difference Saturday night as the Wranglers battled the Stockton Thunder for a 4-3 shootout win, putting an end to a three-game losing streak in front of 6,008 fans.
 
The Wranglers took an early lead on a shorthanded goal from center Chris Francis.
 
The 1-0 score held through the first period until a double minor penalty on the heels of another Wranglers penalty kill midway through the second put the Thunder on the five-on-three man advantage. After almost five minutes on the man disadvantage,
 
Wranglers goaltender Mitch O’Keefe held Stockton scoreless until the final eight seconds of five-on-four, when Thunder center Harrison Reed notched a power play goal for the 1-1 tie. A second power play opportunity less than three minutes later gave the Thunder their first lead of the night off the stick of center Eric Hunter, and the period ended with Stockton up 2-1.
 
Midway through the third, the Wranglers capitalized on their own five-on-three man advantage as Francis recorded his second power play goal of the night to tie the game 2-2.
 
Less than a minute later, center Scott Campbell regained the 3-2 Vegas lead on a five-on-four power play continuation, but a third Stockton power play goal four minutes later once again knotted the game.
 
The 3-3 score held through overtime, which ended with almost two minutes of three-on-three action, and in six rounds of shootouts, the Wranglers earned the 4-3 win on goals from center Judd Blackwater, forward Andrew Sarauer and center Eric Lampe.
 
O’Keefe stopped 41 of 44 shots in the victory.
 
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