Great urgency by the Las Vegas Wranglers tonight.
The Alaska Aces, not so much.
Wranglers 3, Aces 0.
And the ECHL's Western Conference finals are squared 1-1 entering Sunday night's Game 3 in Anchorage.
The Wranglers, coming off a 2-1 loss in Thursday's opener, got goals from former UAA winger Josh Lunden and Scott Campbell in the opening four minutes. Campbell added his team-high seventh goal of the postseason in the last minute of the first period. Joe Fallon racked 23 saves to feed the Aces their first playoff bagel since a Game 4 loss at South Carolina in the 2009 Kelly Cup Finals.
Nothing went very well for the Aces. Gerald Coleman was hung out to dry (15 shots, 12 saves) and replaced by rookie James Reid (bright spot in his pro playoff debut, stopped all 13 shots) after the first period as coach Rob Murray tried to spark the club, just as he did by using his timeout after Campbell's first goal. The Aces failed to score on a second-period 5-on-3 that lasted 69 seconds. Murray shuffled lines in the second and third periods, to no avail.
Still, the Aces got the split they sought in Sin City.
And so the series that is crammed with games, especially early, moves to Anchorage. The teams are scheduled to fly to Anchorage on Saturday, play Game 3 Sunday, then play Games 4 and 5 on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Aces defenseman David Shields, who suffered a lower-body injury in Game 1, dressed for Game 2, but didn't play much. The Aces are already short a D-man -- Brandon Gentile has missed the last three games with an upper-body injury -- so rookie Brock Shelgren could be on the backline for Game 3.