Tonight the Ice Wolves faced Amarillo for the first time this season. New Mexico was wearing their black jerseys in honor of “Blackout Weekend”. Amarillo is the closest opponent for the Ice Wolves, being only four hours away. It was the battle of I-40 at the Outpost, lead by two sensational goalies.
In the first period of play the Bulls came out of the gate aggressive getting to Josh Graziano right away and did not let up until the horn sounded. Amarillo finished the first period with a season high in shots at 19. As for the Ice Wolves they did manage to have their moments of offensive pressure but were only able to get eight shots on the eighth ranked goalie in the league, Charlie Glockner.
The middle period was similar to the first in terms of Amarillo outshooting New Mexico, 13-8. Although, the Ice Wolves were able to gather a lot of time-on-attack throughout the second period. They did a phenomenal job at winning board battles and had a lot of scoring chances. Unfortunately they were unable to convert as both teams headed into the locker room once again scoreless.
In the final period of regulation Amarillo kept their sticks active by pouring on 14 more shots before the horn sounded. Bringing Graziano’s saves up to 46. The Ice Wolves had their highest shooting period in the third with nine but came up empty on all of them. Sending the game into overtime. This marked the second time for the Ice Wolves a game required extra hockey. As for the Bulls it was their sixth time. There were also only three penalties called all game. Two were against New Mexico.
In overtime it became a 3-on-3 for five minutes. It was not only a chess match for the last 60 minutes but so was overtime. Both teams patiently took their time setting up in the offensive zone. They each had their fair share of opportunities but this game was not about offense or defense, it was all about the goalies. Both net-minders stopped every shot they faced for 65 minutes. Forcing the game into a shootout. In overtime the Ice Wolves managed to record two shots and Amarillo put up five. Making it not only the most shots in a game for Amarillo this season but also a career high in saves for Graziano (50). He had this to say about setting a new career high, “It feels great honestly, I’m pretty beat right now but I’m glad we were able to get the win.”
The last time the Ice Wolves went into a shootout was their first game on home ice (vs. Odessa). This marked Amarillo’s fourth games this season that would be decided by a shootout. In the shootout neither team managed to score on their first three attempts resulting in sudden-death hockey. The captain for Amarillo, Matt Allen, took the fourth shot for his team. His shot ricocheted off the post and right back in-between the legs of Graziano. It was now all up to Griffen Sanom to send his team to their third-straight win, and he did just that. He swung wide left then got within feet of Glockner before firing it past his left side.
That win also marked the first shutout in franchise history for New Mexico. Amarillo had their four-game win streak snapped but they are still on a six-game point streak. Game 2 is scheduled for tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. and following the conclusion of the game there will be a post game skate with the team. If tomorrow’s game was anything like tonight’s was, you will not want to miss it. To get tickets click here.