Tonight the Ice Wolves faced the Kenai River Brown Bears for the first time this season. Kenai is currently second place in the Midwest Division with 48 points (22-10-1-3). The Ice Wolves were in seventh place in the South Division with 15 points (6-25-1-2). This is the final weekend at home for the Ice Wolves until Feb. 14-15 when they face the Odessa Jackalopes.
Ever since the puck dropped the Ice Wolves did not let their foot off the gas. They scored the game’s first goal thanks to Alex Dominique (7), just 3:21 into the first. They followed that up by scoring on the power play, :20 seconds before the halfway point of the period. Brandon Holt fired a one-timer from the right circle that went straight to the top shelf of Landon Pavlisin’s cage. That was Holt’s first ever NAHL goal and here is what he had to say regarding it, “It felt really good, I’ve been close a few times but it’s great to finally see one go in. Hopefully a few more keep coming.” After the Ice Wolves went up by a pair, Zach Krajnik (13) cut the lead in half after having his shot deflect off an Ice Wolf player and past Henrik Laursen. It only took a few minutes though before the Ice Wolves were back up by two. Connor Kemp (3) found himself in the right place at the right time as he picked up the loose puck and snapped it past Pavlisin. That was the 15th registered shot for New Mexico and once that went in, Landon Pavlisin was pulled from his duties and replacing him was Danny Fraga. It marked the second-straight game that the Ice Wolves scored three goals on 15 shots and chased a goalie from the net. With less than five minutes left in the period, Logan Ritchie (14) found the puck in the slot and was able to put it past Laursen. Resulting in a 3-2 score after 20 minutes of play. The Ice Wolves had their most ever shots in an opening period this season (18). Kenai finished the first period with 11 shots.
It looked as if Kenai was going to tie the game early in the middle period as they had a few scoring chances. However, Laursen along with the Ice Wolves defense did a phenomenal job at minimizing the rubber that got to Laursen. Later in the period and while on the power play, Spencer Rudrud (7) became the fourth goal scorer for the Ice Wolves. Putting New Mexico back up by a pair, 4-2. The Ice Wolves continued to pour on the shots in the middle period, setting a season high in shots for a single period (24). One of their 24 shots came in the form of a penalty shot. Philip Ekberg (7) made Fraga make the first move and beat him on his left side to give the Ice Wolves a 5-2 lead after two periods. Kenai finished the second period with 24 shots and the Ice Wolves were up to 42. That also surpassed their season high in shots for an entire game.
In the final period of regulation the Ice Wolves continued their onslaught of the Brown Bears by scoring another goal 13:45 into the period. It was Alex Dominique (8) getting onto the score sheet for the second time tonight. His goal tied the most goals in a game for the Ice Wolves this season (Nov. 30 vs. COR). When the horn sounded the Ice Wolves finished with 57 shots (season high) and Kenai finished with 35. The Ice Wolves finished the game going 2/9 on the man-advantage and the Brown Bears went 0/8.
The win was not only their first on home ice since Nov. 15th but it also put them ahead of Odessa for sixth place in the South. This is the first time all season that the Ice Wolves are not in seventh place. They have scored 11 goals and allowed four in their last two games. They are currently on a two-game win streak and will play the Brown Bears again tomorrow at the Outpost Ice Arenas at 7:00pm. Tickets are extremely limited so make sure to click here if you do not have one yet.