Albuquerque, NM- The Ice Wolves welcomed fans back into the Outpost Ice Arenas for the first time this season capping off an exciting and emotional opening weekend with a pair of overtime victories.
Friday night was started with a tribute to Mack Motzko his jersey hung in the Ice Wolves tunnel as well as a 17 second moment of silence for the former Ice Wolves forward.
Friday night’s game started with a healthy dose of physicality as everyone has come to expect while in the South Division. Tempers flared at the end of the first period resulting in an ejection for both teams. The game remained scoreless until the third period where the Ice Wolves struck first on the powerplay thanks to Nikolai Dulak’s team leading 2nd powerplay goal of the young season. Just over a minute later Alex Gomez put home a rebound from Liam Guerin’s shot (1st NAHL point) and put the Ice Wolves up by 2. Corpus Christi would respond with a pair of goals and send the home opener into overtime. It only took 94 seconds into the overtime period for Dulak to find Jeff Hutchinson cutting down the middle of the ice and he would not miss and sent the Ice Wolves home happy with a 3-2 overtime victory.
Saturday night’s game saw the Icerays score only 87 seconds into the game, the quickest an opposing team has scored to start this season against the Ice Wolves. New Mexico would respond shortly there after thanks to Nicolas Haviar’s first of the season to get the team and fans back into the game. The Icerays would get a goal just past the half way point of the contest and would carry the one goal lead heading into the final period. It took 15 minutes into the third period for the Ice Wolves to find the equalizer, a hard shot from Brandon Holt on the blue line was deflected by Grant Ellings for his first NAHL goal. We would head to overtime tied at 2 for the second straight night. The Ice Wolves had multiple chances and with 2:01 remaining in overtime a 2 on 1 rush was formed. Jeff Hutchinson again, with the game on his stick sent a perfect pass to Gustav Blom who buried the shot near side, this was Blom’s first NAHL goal and it was the game winning goal that sealed the weekend sweep for the Ice Wolves.
Beni Halasz started both games for the Ice Wolves making 33 saves on 37 shots across the weekend and earning both overtime victories. Halasz has started in 5 games posting a 4-1 record and currently riding a 3 game winning streak. Halasz is posting a 1.78 goals against average and a 0.911 save percentage.
The Ice Wolves return home next weekend October 22 and October 23 when they take on the division leading Odessa Jackalopes. Tickets are available at tickets.nmicewolves.com or you can call 505-856-7595 and ask for Kara.
Photos by Scott Adamson