No. 7 New Mexico Ice Wolves (5-21-0-2, 12pts) vs. No. 2 Amarillo Bulls (18-5-1-2, 39pts)
at Budweiser Bull Pen in Amarillo, TX
Time: 7:05 p.m. CST (Friday) | 7:05 p.m. CST (Saturday) | 7:05 p.m. CST (Sunday)
What You Need to Know:
Season Series: 1-1
NMO: 13pts, Rudrud/Dominique (5g-8a) | AMA: 30pts, Allen (13g-17a)
That is how many times the Bulls and the Ice Wolves will play one another. The last day of 2019 will mark the final regular season game between these two teams. Four of the six-straight games will be played in Amarillo. The other two will be played at the Outpost Ice Arenas on Dec. 20-21. This weekend New Mexico is on the road for their second 3-in-3 series of the season. When these two teams meet on New Year’s Eve it will be the first time the Ice Wolves have completed their season series against an opponent.
WOAH, WE’RE HALFWAY THERE:
The Ice Wolves are 28 games into their inaugural season, meaning that this Saturday will be the halfway point for them. While they are still in last place in the league, they are within four points of Odessa, who currently sit 25th in the league. It has certainly been a roller coaster for the Ice Wolves this season, but they have had their fair share of success. Their longest win streak of the season is at three after they swept Topeka and then beat Amarillo in a shootout, 1-0. They also had their first NCAA commit (Josh Graziano) along with putting up their most goals in a game at six (vs. ODA on 11/30/19). While the Ice Wolves still have 32 games left to play, the best is yet to come for them.
OUT THE GATE:
Amarillo has played 26 games this season and has scored the first goal in 14 of them (13-1). Giving them the best percentage in the league when scoring first at .929%. The Ice Wolves have scored the first goal in a game nine times this season (3-4-0-2) giving them a .444% success rate, putting them in 25th place. The Bulls are currently ranked sixth in the league when it comes to goal differential, +30 (81GF/51GA). The Ice Wolves sit in last place in the same category with a -61 (48GF/109GA). There are six points on the line this weekend and the last time the Ice Wolves were in a 3-in-3 series they ended the first period with a lead in two of the games, but ultimately had it taken away from them in the middle frame. If the Ice Wolves keep their foot on the gas for 60 minutes and fire the puck from all angles, then they should have no trouble picking up points this weekend.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Ice Wolves (F: #17 – Griffen Sanom)
The Berkley, MI native is in his second NAHL season and is currently third on the team in points (3g-8a). He is also only one of four players (Dominique, Holt, McCosh) to play in every game for the Ice Wolves this season. Griffen has been a big help to his teammates during the Ice Wolves last four games, picking up an assist in each one. His point streak has tied Spencer Rudrud’s (Nov. 1-9) for the longest of the season. Last season, Sanom played 48 games for the Syracuse Jr. Stars (NCDC) recording 32 points (13g-19a) putting him at fifth on the team. The 5’9” 168 pound forward has the only goal recorded against the Bulls, which came back on Nov. 15 when he scored in the fourth round of the shootout.
Bulls (F: #13 – Devan Tongue)
The 19-year-old is playing in his first year of juniors and is fifth on the team in points (5g-11a). The Hamden, MA native is committed to Bentley University and is tied for the most power-play goals on the team with three. Out of the four goals that Amarillo has scored against the Ice Wolves, two of those came off Devan’s stick. The 6’3” 215 pound forward has four points in his previous five games (1g-3a). For the last three seasons Tongue has played for Northfield Mount Hermon School (USHS-Prep) and was an assistant captain last season. He led his team in points each season and totaled 95 games played (44g-86a, 130PTS).