For the last time in 2019, the Ice Wolves laced up their skates against the Amarillo Bulls. It not only was the final game of their six-straight against one another but also the last regular season meeting. The Amarillo Bulls entered the game on a seven-game win streak and were tied with New Jersey for second in the NAHL (23-5-1-2, 49PTS). As for the Ice Wolves they were within three points of Odessa for sixth place in the South Division (5-25-1-2, 13PTS).
In the opening period the Ice Wolves were able to score the game’s first goal with 6:01 left in the period. Emil Gabrielson (5) wristed one far side on the best goalie in the league, Charlie Glockner. The RPI commit, Lauri Sertti (6), tied the game with 1:30 left in the opening period after his shot found its way through a screen and past Garrett Mackay. The Bulls ended the opening period with 13 shots and the Ice Wolves finished with five.
In the middle period the Ice Wolves were all over the Bulls by consistently pressuring them from all possible angles. They also did a phenomenal job at blocking shots and held Amarillo to 13 shots for the second consecutive period. Not even five minutes into the middle stanza, the Ice Wolves made a beautiful tic-tac-toe play that lead to Spencer Rudrud (6) practically having a wide open net. Then shortly after the halfway point of the game, Keegan Langefels (3) took a shot from the point that wound up in the back of the net. With only ten seconds left in the period and while on their first power play of the game, Bulls captain Matt Allen (15) snuck his shot past Mackay to pull his team within one going into the final period. The Ice Wolves had 15 shots after 40 minutes and the Bulls had 26.
In the third period Amarillo pulled Glockner and replaced him with Max Gutjahr. The Ice Wolves got off to a great start thanks to Emil Gabrielson (6) getting the puck towards the net and receiving some puck luck after it went off of a Bulls player and in. Putting New Mexico back up by a pair, 4-2. While there was physical play from both sides leading up to the final period, it was in the third when tempers started to flare. Griffen Sanom and Nick Trela dropped the gloves just 1:24 into the period. No more then two minutes later, captain Keenan Johnson fought Aaron White. Johnson wound up being ejected from the game. Later in period the Ice Wolves once again put forth tremendous effort below the Bulls goal line, as they were able to win the puck and feed a waiting Drew Lorinchak. Drew was able to take a quick snap shot that beat Gutjahr, giving him his fourth goal of the season. The final score when the horn sounded read, 5-2 New Mexico.
It marked the first time that the Ice Wolves beat the Bulls in regulation. It also snapped Amarillo’s seven-game win streak. It even snapped the seven-game losing streak for the Ice Wolves. The victory was Mackay’s first NAHL win and he did so with 38 saves. While the Ice Wolves only managed to record two shots in the final period, they were able to convert on both of them. Meaning that Gutjahr did not record a single save during his 20 minutes between the pipes. The Ice Wolves will start 2020 on a win streak when they host the Kenai River Brown Bears on Jan. 10-11. To get your tickets click here.