No. 7 New Mexico Ice Wolves (0-6-0-0, 0pts) vs. No. 6 Odessa Jackalopes (1-0-1, 3pts)
at Outpost Ice Arena in Albuquerque, NM
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Broadcast: HockeyTV Free Game of the Week
What You Need to Know:
Season Series: 0-0
NMO: 3pts, Dominique (1g-2a)
ODA: 2pts, Lindsoe (0g-2a)
THE WAIT IS FINALLY OVER:
This weekend, the Ice Wolves will host the Odessa Jackalopes for their first home games in their inaugural season. After a long six games spent on the road, the team is eager for the puck to drop in front of a sellout crowd. There has never been a North American Hockey Team that has called the Outpost Ice Arena their home until now. Not only will there be a lot of eyes on the team at the game but also on HockeyTV. Friday’s game has been selected by HockeyTV as the “Free Game of the Week.” Also, the commissioner of the NAHL, Mark Frankenfeld, will be in attendance. With that said, the Ice Wolves must keep the blinders on and focus for 60 minutes so they can win their first game in front of their fans. Game 2 will be played on Saturday once again at the Outpost Ice Arena, but puck is scheduled to drop at 7:00 p.m.
SET THE TONE:
With this weekend marking the very first home games in New Mexico Ice Wolves history they will look to get the crowd on their feet sooner, rather than later. While there have been lopsided games against the Ice Wolves, they have seen improvement with each game. Odessa has only played two regular season games, but they have gotten points in both. These two teams played two pre-season games against one another back in early September, with Odessa winning both by only a goal. Having played each other before both teams know what weaknesses to exploit making for a great home opening weekend in Albuquerque, NM.
PLENTY OF TIME LEFT:
Even though the Ice Wolves have not gotten into the win column yet there are still 54 games to be played. With there being seven teams in the South Division only four have the chance to advance to the playoffs. Last season it was the IceRays clinching the final playoff spot with a record of (29-28-2-1, 61pts). There is still a lot of hockey to be played this season and with this being the youngest team in the league (avg. 18.35-years-old) the chemistry will improve as the season progresses. The wins will come as well but the most important thing for the Ice Wolves is getting better with every day.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Ice Wolves (D: #79 – “C” Keenan Johsnon)
The captain of the Ice Wolves will be counted on a lot during the two games this weekend. He is currently second on the team in points with two goals. The Menomonie, WI native scored the first ever goal in New Mexico Ice Wolves history during the second game versus Shreveport. That was just the day after he got into a fight with Shreveport’s, Rais Francis, and both were ejected from the game with five minutes left in the first period. The 20-year-old is entering his fourth season in the NAHL along with his third team (Corpus, Topeka).
Jackalopes (G: #33 – Zach Stern)
While the Greenwood Village, CO native has only played 60 minutes of NAHL action he did record a shutout in that appearance. Stern stopped 32 shots to lead his team to a 1-0 victory over the Northeast Generals while at the NAHL Showcase. Last season Stern played one game for the Tri-City Storm of the USHL. He allowed three goals and had a save percentage of .929%. If Odessa wants to extend their point streak to three, they will need to rely on #33 between the pipes to get that done.