Pacific Division Finals Preview

National Conference – Pacific Division Finals (Best of Seven)
#2 Las Vegas Wranglers (34-31-8) vs. #4 Stockton Thunder (32-33-7)

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Las Vegas is in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the fourth year in a row and the fifth time in six years while the Thunder are back in the postseason for the third straight season. The Wranglers have advanced each of the last four years while Stockton has advanced for the first time. Las Vegas has lost to the Kelly Cup winner every time that they have reached the postseason with Idaho in 2004 and 2007, Alaska in 2006 and Cincinnati in the Kelly Cup Finals in 2008.

Glen Gulutzan of the Wranglers is 32-24 in the Kelly Cup Playoffs and was named ECHL Coach of the Year in 2005-06 and has been selected to coach in the ECHL All-Star Game three times, tying him for the most appearances. Matt Thomas has never missed the Kelly Cup Playoffs in five seasons as a head coach and in 2006 he led Fresno to the conference finals before losing in double overtime to eventual Kelly Cup champion Alaska in Game 7. He coached in the ECHL All-Star Game in 2005 and 2008.

The Wranglers won the last two meetings to improve to 3-0-0 at home and 3-3-0 overall in the regular season against while the Thunder were 3-0-0 at home and 3-3-0 overall against Las Vegas. John DeCaro of the Wranglers was 2-1-0 with a shutout and a goals-against average of 0.95 against Stockton while the Thunder’s Andrew Perugini was 2-1-0 with a goals-against average of 2.33 against Las Vegas. Mike Lalonde led the Thunder against Las Vegas with five assists and seven points while rookie James Bates had a team-high four goals and six points. Mick Lawrence led the Wranglers against Stockton with three goals and his four points tied him for the team lead with Kevin DeVerrgilio (2g-2a), Scott McCulloch (1g-3a) and Tyler Mosienko (1g-3a).

Las Vegas is third in the Kelly Cup Playoffs on the power play with 24.3 percent (9-for-37) while Stockton is tied for 10th with 14.3 percent (5-for-35). The Thunder are tied for fourth with 3.86 goals per game and are tied for 14th with a goals-against average of 4.00 while the Wranglers are fourth with a goals-against average of 2.29 and sixth with 3.57 goals per game.

Stockton’s Craig Valette leads the Kelly Cup Playoffs with three game-winning goals while teammate James Bates, who has a four-game goal streak (5g), is tied for the rookie lead with five goals. Las Vegas’ J.D. Watt is tied for the rookie lead with two power-play goals and four power-play points. Stockton’s Cleve Kinley and Las Vegas’ Dan Spang are tied for the postseason lead among defensemen with three goals and seven points and Spang is also tied for the power-play points lead with five (2ppg-3ppaa).

Friday, Apr. 24 7:30 p.m.
Las Vegas at Stockton

Monday, Apr. 27 7:30 p.m.
Stockton at Las Vegas

Thursday, Apr. 30 7 p.m.
Las Vegas at Stockton

Saturday, May 2 7:30 p.m.
Las Vegas at Stockton

Monday, May 4 7:30 p.m.
Stockton at Las Vegas

Tuesday, May 5 7:30 p.m.
Stockton at Las Vegas

Wednesday, May 6 7:30 p.m.
Stockton at Las Vegas

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Kelly Cup Playoffs Bracket

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Final Regular Season Daily Report