No. 7 New Mexico Ice Wolves (6-25-1-2, 15pts) vs. No. 2 Kenai River Brown Bears (22-10-1-3, 48pts)
at Outpost Ice Arenas in Albuquerque, NM
Time: 7:30 p.m. MST (Friday) | 7:00 p.m. MST (Saturday)
What You Need to Know:
Season Series: 0-0
NMO: 15pts, Rudrud/Dominique (6g-9a)
KNR: 39pts, Krajnik (12g-27a)
The Ice Wolves start the new decade this weekend against the Kenai River Brown Bears. The only opponent on the Ice Wolves schedule they have yet to face this season. The Ice Wolves ended 2019 on the best note possible, with a 5-2 win over Amarillo. While New Mexico had this past weekend off, Kenai did not. The Brown Bears traveled all the way to the Budweiser Bull Pen to face the Amarillo Bulls. Kenai only managed to score a goal each game resulting in them being swept. It was the fourth time this season that the Brown Bears had been swept. The Ice Wolves will look to make it five and tie their longest win streak of the season (3).
WHERE TO NOW:
After this weekend the Ice Wolves wont have another home game for over a month (Feb. 14-15 vs. ODA), their longest time away from the Outpost all season. Also, this weekend marks the first-of-three straight versus the Alaska teams for the Ice Wolves. Next weekend the team will travel to Fairbanks to play the Ice Dogs and then the following weekend to Kenai. During their four-week road trip the Ice Wolves will play at three new arenas (Kenai, Fairbanks, and Topeka). They will end their road trip against the Corpus Christi IceRays. The last time the Ice Wolves traveled to Corpus they picked up three out of a possible four points and scored their most goals in a game to date (6).
The Brown Bears have relied heavily on net-minder, Landon Pavlisin a lot this season, 30 times to be exact. Pavlisin is 19-7-0-3 this season with a goals-against-average of 2.85 and a save percentage of .920. Although, the native of Orange, CA has been struggling lately, as he has not won a game in his last three starts (0-2-0-1). In those three games alone, Landon has given up 12 goals. As for the Ice Wolves, Garrett Mackay just picked up his first NAHL win (38svs) on NYE versus Amarillo. Now that he got the monkey off his back, both him and Henrik Laursen will be doing everything they can to help the Ice Wolves climb out of seventh in the South Division.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Ice Wolves (F: #18 – Emil Gabrielson)
The 20-year-old started this season playing five games with the Maryland Black Bears (1g). Since joining the Ice Wolves, Gabrielson had played 24 games and has recorded 12 points (5g-7a). The Gävle, Sweden native is not only playing in his first year at the NAHL level but also his first year away from his home country. During the final game of 2019, Emil picked up four points against the Bulls (2g-2a). It is the most points he has scored in a game this season. The 6’0” 210-pound forward is in his last year of junior eligibility and is certainly making it one for the books.
Brown Bears (F: #22 – Peter Morgan)
The Sarasota, FL native is in his second NAHL season and with his third team. Last season he played 39 games for the Aberdeen Wings (9g-12a). This season though Morgan has played for three different teams. To start this season he played four games for Aberdeen and then was sent to Amarillo. He played five games for the Bulls (1a) before being sent to Kenai in October. However, it appears that the 19-year-old has finally found his home away from home. Morgan is currently fifth on the team in points (30). The final month of 2019 is where Morgan started to shine. In the seven games he played in December, Morgan recorded 12 points, eight of which were goals. His performance earned him the NAHL ‘Forward of the Month’.