The Las Vegas Wranglers were defeated by the Cincinnati Cyclones 4-2 in Game 1 of the Kelly Cup Finals on Saturday night in front of 8,676 fans at the U.S. Bank Arena.
Cincinnati tallied three power-play goals in the first period, surging past the Wranglers and taking a 1-0 series lead. ECHL league MVP David Desharnais scored twice and added an assist in the Cincinnati win. Cyclones forward Jean-Michel Daoust added three assists in the victory.
Las Vegas defenseman Jason Jozsa and forward Peter Ferraro scored in the defeat. Cincinnati goalie Cedrik Desjardins stopped 22 of 24 shots in the win. Las Vegas goalie Kevin Lalande stopped 19 of 23 Cyclones shots in the loss. Las Vegas and Cincinnati will play Game 2 of the Kelly Cup Finals at 4:30 PM (PDT) at the U.S Bank Arena on Sunday night.
In the first period, Cincinnati struck quickly with a power-play goal just one minute into the game. Las Vegas forward Kelly Czuy was whistled for boarding just 22-seconds into the contest. The Cyclones quickly capitalized as David Desharnais poked in a loose puck off a rebound for the 1-0 lead. Las Vegas countered with a tally at 6:33.
Right wing Peter Ferraro redirected a Mike Madill shot from the left point, tying the game 1-1. Cincinnati regained the lead at 14:49 with a 5-on-3 power play goal by defenseman Bryan Schmidt. Schmidt rifled a shot from the point that found its way through traffic and into the back of the Las Vegas net for the 2-1 lead. The Cyclones would add another power-play goal, their third of the period for the 3-1 lead. Forward Mathieu Aubin tipped a shot in front of the net at 15:55, expanding the Cyclones lead to two goals. Las Vegas out-shot Cincinnati 10-8 in the first period.
In the second period, Cincinnati expanded its lead to 4-1 with a late goal in the period with 2:14 remaining in the period. Forward Jean-Michel Daoust jammed in a loose puck in the Las Vegas crease for his third goal of the playoffs.
In the third period, the Wranglers connected for a power-play goal with a tally by Jason Jozsa. The Wranglers defenseman blasted a shot from the right-wing circle, scoring his fourth goal of the playoffs at the 7:00 mark. Defenseman Aaron Power and center Tyler Mosienko each had an assist on the goal.
Game 2 of the Kelly Cup Finals is scheduled for Sunday, May 25th at 4:30 PM (PDT). The next three games of the series will shift to Las Vegas, NV at the Orleans Arena. Game Three will take place on Thursday, May 29th at 7:05 PM at the Orleans Arena. Game Four will start at 7:05 PM at the Orleans Arena on Friday, May 30th at the Orleans Arena. If necessary, Game Five will take place on Monday, June 2nd at 7:05 PM at the Orleans Arena. If needed, the last two games of the Finals would take place at the U.S. Bank Arena, starting on Thursday, June 5th at 4:30 PM (PDT) with Game Six. If necessary, Game Seven would be played on Saturday, June 7th at 4:30 PM (PDT).