Tonight the Ice Wolves faced the Pilots for the first time this season. Topeka came into the weekend ranked first in the South (13-5-1-1, 28pts). New Mexico was dead last in the South (1-15-0-1, 3pts). Making for a true David versus Goliath match-up at the Outpost Ice Arenas on “Student Weekend”.
The first period started scoreless and ended scoreless. Although, there were a plethora of scoring chances for New Mexico. Also, both teams were kept to single digits in the shots category as the Ice Wolves only managed to put up six through the first 20, compared to Topeka’s eight. There was also only one power play for each team during the first period.
The Ice Wolves were able to end the scoreless game thanks to Griffen Sanom (3) just :26 seconds into the period. Spencer Rudrud and Sanom broke lose on a two-on-one as Rudrud had the puck far side and entered the offensive zone first. He sent it across for Sanom, who was able to put it just far enough away from Guy Blessing. The Ice Wolves continued to lead 1-0 until Quinn Green beat Josh Graziano with less than nine minutes left in the middle frame. When the horn sounded to end the second period the Ice Wolves and Pilots headed into the locker room knotted up once again. The Ice Wolves finished the second period with 18 shots and the Pilots finished with 17.
In the final period of regulation the fans started multiple “Lets Go Ice Wolves” chants in hopes their team would regain the lead. It certainly helped as Jack Wille (3) picked up the loose puck at the goal line and banked it in off the back of Blessing. Making it 2-1 Ice Wolves with just over 11 minutes left in the final period. While the Pilots had a few cracks at Graziano, he stood tall stopping all seven shots he saw in the third period. Resulting in the first ever win on home ice for the Ice Wolves. The Ice Wolves ended the night with 35 shots on net.
It was a close scoring game but the Ice Wolves proved that they could beat any team in the South Division. When asked about his game-winning-goal and what it felt like to win on home ice, Jackson Wille had this to say, “It’s the best feeling ever man. We’ve been waiting and putting in our time and finally it has become a reality.” Now that the Ice Wolves have recorded their first win on home ice they are seeking their first ever sweep. Game 2 is scheduled for tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. It will also be “High School Night” tomorrow. To secure your tickets click here.