No. 7 New Mexico Ice Wolves (3-15-0-1, 7pts) vs. No. 3 Amarillo Bulls (12-4-1-1, 26pts)
at Outpost Ice Arenas in Albuquerque, NM
Time: 7:30 p.m. (Friday) | 7:00 p.m. (Saturday)
What You Need to Know:
Season Series: 0-0
NMO: 9pts, Dominique (3G-6A) | AMA: 19pts, Allen (10G-9A)
The Ice Wolves are not only coming off of their first win on home ice but also their first NAHL sweep. Although, Amarillo is also on a win streak having swept the IceRays the past two weekends. This weekend marks the fourth-straight weekend on home ice for New Mexico. They had the crowd chanting and on their feet for a large portion of both games last weekend. In order to have that happen again they must use their momentum from last weekend to strike first and not look back.
DOWN A MAN:
This past weekend the Ice Wolves started with the 21st best penalty kill in the league at 76.1%. They will go into this weekend ranked 16th with a 79.5% success rate. The increase in percentage is because they did not let Topeka score a single power-play goal, even though they had 12 chances. It was the most successful weekend the Ice Wolves have had on the penalty kill all season. However, while New Mexico did manage to go 2/9 on their power plays versus Topeka, this weekend will certainly be more of a challenge. Amarillo has the best penalty kill in the league at 92.9%. They have been short-handed 51 times and have only allowed four power-play goals. Two of which came last Friday versus Corpus.
Amarillo is the least penalized team in the league with 168PIMS. Whereas the Ice Wolves are the third-most penalized team in the South with 348PIMS. A key part for the Bulls as to why they have not been called for as many penalties is because they do not go for the retaliations. They play a very strict style of hockey and are very smart with their sticks and their hits. If the Ice Wolves do manage to go on the man-advantage they must make it count because they might not get too many cracks at it.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Ice Wolves (D: #4 – Keegan Langefels)
Keegan was an integral part of the penalty kills from this past weekend. At one point he cleared the puck four times in the same kill. The Eden Prairie, MN native is in his first NAHL season and is currently tied for 5th on the team in points (1G, 4A). Langefels is currently on a two-game point streak after picking up an assist each night last weekend. Last season he was the captain for his high-school team (Eden Prairie High). During that season he played 22 games and picked up 18 points (7G, 11A). He also played four games for the Minnesota Blizzard 18U team last season (1G). The 18-year-old even has a twin sister that plays hockey for Ohio State University. The 6’0”, 185lb defenseman will be looked towards a lot this weekend as his team looks to extend their win streak.
Bulls (F: #20 – Matt Allen)
The Minco, OK native is in his second NAHL season. Last season he played 32 games for the Bulls, recording 14 points (4G, 10A). This season though the captain has already surpassed his total from last season and he did it in fewer games (18GP, 10G, 9A). He is the only player on the team averaging over a point-per-game. During Amarillo’s four-straight games against the IceRays, Allen netted two goals and helped on two as well. The 5’10”, 165lb. forward leads his team in game-winning-goals with three, and is tied for the lead in power-play-goals with two. At only 19, Allen will certainly be an impact player for the Bulls this weekend.