Ice Wolves fall short to Kenai, 4-3

Last night the Ice Wolves went up against the Brown Bears for the third time this season. These teams met two weeks ago at the Outpost Ice Arenas in Albuquerque, NM. New Mexico dominated the first game by winning 6-2. They also set a season high in shots with 57 that night. The next night was much closer as play progressed, but the Ice Wolves once again came out on top, 6-5. They scored four-unanswered goals in their third, to earn them their second sweep in their inaugural season. Before the puck dropped last night, Kenai’s last win was on Dec. 20th vs. Janesville (3-1). Since then they have lost seven-straight games (0-5-1-1). The only other team New Mexico has not lost to is Topeka (2-0). The Ice Wolves will play them next weekend.

In the opening period both teams looked to utilize the Olympic-sized rink to their advantage. Both were finding lanes and peppering the goalies but when the horn sounded it was still 0-0. Neither team had a powerplay in the opening period. Ice Wolves finished with 12 shots and the Brown Bears had 17.

In the middle period is when things started to heat up between these two non-divisional opponents. Before five minutes had even passed in the period, both teams were given their first man-advantage of the game. While neither team scored on the powerplay, they each had their fair share of scoring chances. Kenai ended the scoreless game at 12:35 into the second period. The goal was scored by Peter Morgan (15) after he found the rebound and beat Henrik Laursen. The Brown Bears would go into the locker room after 40 minutes of play up, 1-0. The Ice Wolves had six shots in the middle period and the Brown Bears had 10.

In the final period of regulation is when the goals were coming left and right. It started out with Emil Gabrielson scoring his eighth and ninth goal of the season within the span of 4:34. His two goals gave the Ice Wolves their first lead of the weekend, 2-1. Also, his nine goals is now a team high. Although, New Mexico’s lead would not last too long, as Porter Schachle (13) was able to tie the game again less than four minutes later. About five minutes after that, Cody Moline (10) was able to get on the score sheet and give his team the lead once again, 3-2. Only 1:14 later and there was another goal scorer. This time it was Brandon Holt (2) beating Landon Pavlisin from the top of the point. With the third tie of the game, it appeared as if there would be extra time needed to decide a winner. However, the leading scorer for Kenai had other thoughts. Zach Krajnik (14) was open in the slot and wristed a shot right at the back of the net. When he scored there was only 2:37 left on the clock. The Ice Wolves pulled Laursen shortly after in hopes that the extra attacker would benefit them. Unfortunately, it did not and the Brown Bears not only got their first win versus the Ice Wolves but it also snapped their seven-game losing streak.

Laursen finished the game with 39 saves and Pavlisin had 29. Both teams went 0/2 while on the powerplay. There was also a fight about halfway into the third period between Connor Kemp and Porter Schachle, both would not return for the rest of the game. The season series concludes tonight at 7:30 p.m. AKST. You can catch the all action live on HockeyTV.