No. 7 New Mexico Ice Wolves (4-19-0-1, 9pts) vs. No. 5 Corpus Christi IceRays (11-11-2-3, 27pts)
at American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, TX
Time: 7:05 p.m. CST (Friday) | 7:05 p.m. CST (Saturday)
What You Need to Know:
Season Series: 0-0
NMO: 10pts, Rudrud (4g-6a) | COR: 19pts, Coughlin (10g-9a)
LAST BUT NOT LEAST:
The IceRays are the only team left in the South Division that the Ice Wolves have yet to play. That will end tonight as New Mexico is on the road for the first time since they won their first ever NAHL game (Oct. 19 vs. ODA). This weekend marks the first-of-three straight for the Ice Wolves on the road. Their next homestand will be against Amarillo on Dec. 20-21. This is the first time in over a month that New Mexico is playing a team that is not one of the top-three teams. The Ice Wolves are currently on a four-game losing streak and are one point away from hitting double-digits. The IceRays are on a two-game losing streak after being swept last weekend by the Mudbugs.
TIME TO FORGET:
The last 11 games for the Ice Wolves were all played at the Outpost Ice Arenas. They went 3-8 during that stretch recording 20 goals and allowing 38. While they wound up below .500 during their five-week homestand a lot of positives came out of it. They went on their first ever three-game win streak and earned their first sweep in franchise history after beating Topeka. They also picked up their first extra hockey win and the first shutout in Ice Wolves history. They were also only shutout twice during the entire stretch. Look for them to come out hot this weekend against Corpus and carry that momentum into Shreveport next weekend.
THE STRUGGLE IS REAL:
Not only have two of the last three Robertson Cup Champions come out of the South Division (Lone Star, Shreveport) but as of right now the best team in the league is in the South (Lone Star). The Ice Wolves are not the only team that has been struggling in their previous ten games. The IceRays are 2-6-1-1 in their last ten games (17GF/31GA). Also, in two of their last ten games they were held off the score sheet.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Ice Wolves (F: #18 – Emil Gabrielson)
The Gavle, Sweden native is in his first ever NAHL season. He started the season with the Maryland Black Bears (5gp, 1g) but has been with the Ice Wolves since Oct. 13th. This is the first season Gabrielson is not playing in his home country. The 20-year-old is currently third on the team in points (4g-4a) and is tied with Rudrud for the team lead in goals. The 6’0”, 210 pound forward played for the Malmo Redhawks J20 (SuperElit) last season, recording 42 games played (4g-19a). His 23 points put him second on the team. He will not only be an impact player while on even strength but also while the Ice Wolves are on the power play.
IceRays (F: #28 – Ryan Coughlin)
The Robert Morris University commit is in his first ever NAHL season and currently leads his team in points (19) and goals (10). Last year Ryan was drafted #126 overall by the Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL). The Rochester, NY native played for the Selects Hockey Academy 16U/18U (USPHL) teams and won back-to-back championships with them (17-19). The 18-year-old also leads the IceRays in power-play goals with four and is tied for the lead in game-winning goals with two. The 6’1”, 185 pound forward will have to be guarded heavily this weekend if the Ice Wolves want a chance to get back in the win column.