No. 7 New Mexico Ice Wolves (0-10-0-1, 1pt) vs. No. 6 Odessa Jackalopes (4-4-1-1, 10pts)
at Ector County Coliseum in Odessa, TX
Time: 7:15 p.m.
What You Need to Know:
Season Series: 0-1-0-1
NMO: 5pts, Dominique (2g-3a)
ODA: 5pts, Drossos (3g-2a)
The last time these two teams met was home opening weekend for the Ice Wolves. While Odessa won both games, the Ice Wolves did manage to grab a point during the first game after losing in a shootout. The following night they lost in regulation, 4-2. The Ice Wolves have played their last three games versus Lone Star. New Mexico is coming to Odessa, TX hungry for not one but two wins. Out of the two pre-season and regular-season games there has only been one game in which more than a goal decided the score. That was game two during home opening weekend for the Ice Wolves. Look for the Ice Wolves to strike first and keep the pressure going until the final horn.
BOTTOM OF THE PACK:
Both of these teams find themselves in the bottom two spots of the South Division. The Jackalopes have been in the NAHL since 2011-12 and have only managed to qualify for the playoffs three times. Their best finish was two years ago when they placed 3rd in the South (71pts). They have never made it past the Division Semifinals. Also, they have wound up dead last in the South on four separate occasions. While the Ice Wolves are still in search of their first win they did however do something this past Sunday that they have not done since their home opener, which is getting 30 shots on the board. During their home opener they recorded 41 shots on Aaron Randazzo. If the Ice Wolves want a chance to get into playoff contention they have to keep firing the puck on net and use the crisp passing they had Sunday to work the puck around from top to bottom.
The man-advantage for both teams has struggled out of the gate. With the Ice Wolves power-play-percentage at 9.1% (24th). Whereas Odessa is dead last with 5.9%. The Ice Wolves have been on the man-advantage 33 times this season and have converted only three times. As for Odessa they have had 34 power play opportunities and have only scored on two of them. If the Ice Wolves are able to capitalize on their man-advantages then they could find themselves in the win column for the first time this season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Ice Wolves (F: #26 – Zach Frisk)
Frisk is in his first NAHL season and is 9th on the team in points (2a). The Long Valley, NJ native recorded 38 points in 46 games while with the Iowa Wild AAA U18 M (Midget) team last season (15g). Zach also played for their T1EHL and NAPHL teams. The 5’11” 181lb. forward is still in search for his first NAHL goal and he has had a lot of close calls already. He has recorded 18 shots in 10 games. Frisk has been consistently improving with each game. This past Sunday the 19-year-old had multiple scoring chances and will certainly be a big factor for the Ice Wolves going into this set of games versus the Jackalopes.
Jackalopes (F: #19 – Vilho Saariluoma)
The Helsinki, FIN native is second on his team in points (2g-2a). Ironically both of his goals have been game-winners, giving him the most in that category for the Jackalopes. With one of them coming against New Mexico the last time they played each other. Vilho started his NAHL career by being drafted #93 by the Lone Star Brahmas last season, tallying 33 games played (4g-10a). He finished the 2018-19 season with the Jackalopes, playing 21 games for them (1g-4a). He was also drafted #134 by the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL in 2018. The 6’3” 201lb. forward is committed to Bentley University (NCAA Div. 1).