Las Vegas – The Las Vegas Wranglers closed out the defending champion Alaska Aces with a 3-1 win in Game 5 Wednesday night and will advance to the Kelly Cup Finals for the first time since 2008. Game 1 of the finals is Monday, May 14th at 7:05 p.m. at the Orleans Arena.
On a power play in the first five minutes of the game, Aces forward Dan Kissel tallied the first goal of the night to give Alaska a 1-0 lead. Wranglers center Eric Lampe responded on a Las Vegas power play nine minutes later, tying the game 1-1 with his sixth postseason goal.
To give the team their first lead of the night, Wranglers center Judd Blackwater scored at the 18:22 mark to make it a 2-1 game in favor of Las Vegas. Both Wranglers goaltender Joe Fallon and Aces goaltender Gerald Coleman held the second period scoreless as the Wranglers outshot the Aces 12-4.
The 2-1 score held through the majority of the third until Alaska went on a fourth power play with 88 seconds left in regulation. Coleman was pulled, giving the Aces a 6-4 advantage, but Wranglers left wing Josh Lunden notched an empty net goal in the last three seconds of the game to secure the 3-1 win for the Wranglers.
With the win, the Wranglers took the series 4-1 from the Aces to advance to the 2012 Kelly Cup Finals and won the Bruce Taylor Trophy for being the Western Conference champions.
The Wranglers will face the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals, which is between the Florida Everblades and the Kalamazoo Wings. The Everblades currently lead their series 2-1. The Wranglers will host Game 1 on May 14th and Game 2 on May 15th, both at 7:05 p.m. at the Orleans Arena.