Bill Bagron and Kyle Kraemer scored the goals, and Jase Weslosky made 28 saves as the Reign dropped their first of two exhibition games against the Wranglers.
An unusually fast-tempo game — unusual, at least, by the more conservative standard set by Karl Taylor — worked in the Reign’s favor early. The goals by Bagron and Kraemer provided a 2-0 lead early in the second period, but Vegas shut the door with four unanswered goals.
Longtime Reign foe Ned Lukacevic got Vegas on the board at the 10:12 mark, putting back a long rebound from a bad angle under pressure after Weslosky stoned Chris Francis at the front of the net. The power-play goal shifted the momentum in favor of the Wranglers, who outshot Ontario 15-6 in the second period and 13-9 in the third.
Judd Blackwater’s goal with 3:15 left in the third period broke a 2-2 tie and Adam Miller provided the final score with 1:24 left. More game details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.
A few observations that won’t make the paper:
Good news for Reign fans: Ned Lukacevic, who scored a hat trick for the Las Vegas Wranglers in Thursday night’s 5-2 loss, has been loaned to the Texas Stars of the AHL.
The flashy forward from Serbia has split this season between the ECHL and the AHL. He had two goals and four points in eight games for the Providence Bruins earlier this season after playing 52 games in Providence last season.
Lukacevic has 28 goals and 65 points in 61 games for the Wranglers this season.
The ECHL has decided to fine Las Vegas an undisclosed amount of money for actions related to the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty it received in the third period of Friday’s game at The Bank.
With 4:15 left in the game, Mike Egener delivered a hard hit to the Wranglers’ Mick Lawrence near the Vegas bench. Ned Lukacevic was demonstrably upset, grabbed a water bottle, and tossed it over two plexiglass partitions and onto the Reign bench.
Tied 3-3 heading into the third period, the Reign put themselves short-handed one too many times to win their home opener.
With Tim Kraus in the box for tripping, Ned Lukacevic netted the game-winning goal with 6:14 left in the third period, lifting the Las Vegas Wranglers to a 4-3 victory before 8,067 at The Bank. It was the only power-play goal for the Wranglers in nine chances Friday, seven of which came in the final period.
Jon Rheault scored two goals and assisted on the third, Jon Francisco’s first goal of the season. Curtis Darling got the start in net and stopped 31 of 35.
More notes and postgame quotes to come. If you went to the game, let me hear from you.