No. 7 New Mexico Ice Wolves (5-25-1-2, 13pts) vs. No. 2 Amarillo Bulls (23-5-1-2, 49pts)
at Budweiser Bull Pen in Amarillo, TX
Time: 7:05 p.m. CST (Tuesday)
What You Need to Know:
Season Series: 1-5-1
NMO: 14pts, Dominique (6g-8a)/Rudrud (5g-9a) | AMA: 32pts, Allen (14g-18a)
LAST GAME OF 2019:
Tomorrow the Ice Wolves will face the Bulls for the final time this season. Amarillo is the only team that the Ice Wolves will not play in 2020. Tomorrow will also end their six-straight games against one another. While Amarillo won both games before the holiday break, the Ice Wolves did not make it easy for them. The first game needed more than 60 minutes to decide a winner. The 4-3 loss was the first time this season that a game requiring more than 60 minutes did not reach a shootout for New Mexico. Their final home game of 2019 was a 3-2 loss to Amarillo. However, it was the fourth game between these two South Division foes that was decided by one goal.
In 2019 the Ice Wolves have had 18 home games and 16 road games. In 2020 they will only be home 12 times and away for 14. They will also have their longest road stretch of the season from Jan. 17-Feb. 8 (8 games). They will travel to three new arenas during 2020 (Fairbanks, Kenai, and Topeka). New Mexico is 2-12-0-1 on the road.
NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION:
While 2019 was not kind to the Ice Wolves, they will have 26 games in the new year to flip the script. They are only three points behind Odessa for sixth place in the South and they still have to play them four times. In fifth place is the Corpus Chrsiti IceRays with 31 points (13-15-2-3) and they play them six times. The most points the Ice Wolves can get is 67 which only two teams in the South managed to surpass last season (Amarillo: 98, and Lone Star: 70). It will be a long road ahead for the Ice Wolves but there is still a lot of hockey left to be played in their inaugural season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Ice Wolves (D: #4 – Keegan Langefels)
The Eden Prairie, MN native is in his first ever year of junior hockey. Langefels is tied for fifth on the team in points (2g-6a). Last season he was the captain of his school team (Eden Prairie High) finishing eighth on the team in points (7g-11a). He not only played with Spencer Rudrud on that team for the last two seasons but also John and Luke Mittelstadt, brothers of Buffalo Sabres forward, Casey Mittelstadt. The 18-year-old also played four games for the Minnesota Blizzard 18U team last season (NAPHL) recording one point (1g). His first ever NAHL goal was versus Odessa on 9/28/19. The 6’0” 185-pound defenseman is a key asset for the Ice Wolves on the blue line and will certainly be a big factor in tomorrow’s game.
Bulls (D: #28 – Lauri Sertti)
Prior to the start of this season, Sertti was drafted #226 overall by Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL). The Espoo, Finland native is playing in his first season outside of his home country. The 20-year-old has scored five goals this season and has assisted on ten. One of his goals was the game-winner on Dec. 20th versus New Mexico. Last season the 6’1” 192-pound defenseman played 49 games for the Blues U20 (Jr. A SM-liiga) recording 30 points (6g-24a). Putting him ninth on the team in scoring.