No. 7 New Mexico Ice Wolves (4-16-0-1, 9pts) vs. No. 1 Lone Star Brahmas (16-5-0-1, 33pts)
at Outpost Ice Arenas in Albuquerque, NM
Time: 6:15 p.m. (Thursday) | 7:30 p.m. (Friday) | 7:00 p.m. (Saturday)
What You Need to Know:
Season Series: 0-3
NMO: 9pts, Dominique (3G-6A) | LOS: 24pts, Guerra (3G-21A)
Tomorrow the Ice Wolves will play the first-of-three straight versus the Brahmas. These two teams have met three times already with Lone Star coming up victorious each time. Throughout the three games, Lone Star recorded 15 goals and New Mexico only recorded one. All three games though were prior to the Ice Wolves 11-game home stand. The Ice Wolves are coming off of a split weekend against the Bulls. As for the Brahmas, they swept Topeka last weekend. After this three-game series these two teams wont play one another until the end of February (at Lone Star).
COMING TO A CLOSE:
The Ice Wolves have spent the last five weeks on home ice. Their stretch will come to a close after Saturday’s game. With the Brahmas being in first place in the South, it marks the fourth-straight week that the Ice Wolves have to play a top-three opponent. The only team they played that was not in the top-three was Shreveport. During their 11-straight home games, the Ice Wolves were able to pick up their first home ice win, first sweep, first shutout, and first extra hockey win. Although they were shutout (4-0) this past Saturday things are going to look a lot different during these three games against Lone Star compared to the previous three.
BETWEEN THE PIPES:
Last weekend the Ice Wolves’ goalies each saw at least 50 shots. Graziano set a new career high with 50 over a 65-minute span. After picking up the team’s first shutout in franchise history, Graziano earned 2nd Star for NAHL “Players of the Week”. Laursen stopped 47 shots out of 51 on Saturday giving him a career high. On the flip side, both goalies for the Brahmas are in the top-five overall for goals-against-average. The rookie goaltenders have a combined seven shutouts already this season, most out of any team. Scoring will not come easy for the Ice Wolves no matter which goalie Lone Star decides to start.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Ice Wolves (D: #17 – Griffen Sanom)
The Berkley, MI native is in his second NAHL season. He played his first season with the Brookings Blizzard in 2017-18 after being drafted #81 overall by them (25GP, 2G, 1A). Last season he was with the Syracuse Jr. Stars (NCDC) totaling 48 games played (13G, 19A). This season the 19-year-old has played in every Ice Wolves game (21) recording three goals and helping on three as well. The 5’9”, 170lb. forward scored the only goal in the game last Friday versus Amarillo after he beat Glockner in the fourth round of the shootout. Sanom is fourth on the team in points.
Brahmas (F: #53 – Matt Guerra)
The Bentley University commit is in his second NAHL season, both with Lone Star. In his rookie year last season, Guerra played in 58 games and picked up 53 points (12G-41A). Earning him 2018-19 NAHL All-Rookie First Team and NAHL All-South Division Rookie Team. Just like last season Guerra is leading his team in points (24). He also leads his team in assists (21), 11 of those assists are from the power play (team high). This season he is only one of two players to be above a point-per-game (Michal Stinil). While the Sanford, FL native may only have three goals he plays a pass-first style of hockey. This year the 20-year-old was drafted #120 by the Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL). Eight of his 24 points have come against New Mexico (1G-7A), most versus any team.