Tonight the Ice Wolves faced the fourth place, Topeka Pilots. New Mexico leads the season series with a 3-1 record. The last time these two teams met, it ended in a split weekend. New Mexico was one point away from setting a new franchise record point streak at five, when the game started tonight.
In the opening period, New Mexico started off with a flurry of shots on their former goalie, Josh Langford. After a slow start by Topeka, they were granted a power play after Michael McCosh took a tripping call. The captain for the Pilots, Austin McCarthy (15), was able to sneak a puck past Henrik Laursen to give his team a 1-0 lead. With only :12 seconds remaining in the period, the Pilots capitalized once again on the power play. This time it was Nick Nardecchia (9) picking up the rebound and snapping it past Laursen. After the first period, Topeka lead in shots 14-12.
In the middle period, the Ice Wolves continued to battle back. Although, the defense of the Pilots were very active as they deflected many passes away from the Ice Wolves. As for Topeka, they had their scoring opportunities as well, but none of their 17 shots found the back of the net. The Ice Wolves put up 16 shots during the second period. Topeka headed into the locker room with a 2-0 lead.
The final period of regulation saw only one goal. It came 7:13 into the period off the stick of Shane Hathaway (3). The Ice Wolves tried everything they could to get the puck towards net, but ultimately Langford was a brick wall. Topeka went on to win the game by a score of 3-0. Giving Langford his first shutout of the season. Topeka outshot New Mexico, 41-34.
It was the first time since Jan. 15 that the Ice Wolves were held off the score sheet. As for Topeka, it was their first shutout since Oct. 26 against Corpus Christi (1-0 OT). It was also the first home loss in the year 2020 for the Ice Wolves. The Ice Wolves will look to go back on a win streak tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. when puck drops for game two. There will also be a post-game skate with the team following the conclusion of tomorrow’s game.