No. 6 New Mexico Ice Wolves (10-29-2-3, 25pts) vs. No. 7 Odessa Jackalopes (8-34-1-1, 18pts)
at Outpost Ice Arenas in Albuquerque, NM
Time: 7:30 p.m. MST (Friday) | 7:00 p.m. MST (Saturday)
What You Need to Know:
Season Series: 1-2-0-1
NMO: 25pts, Dominique (10g-15a)
ODA: 22pts, Kolcon (3g-19a)
HOME SWEET HOME:
For the first time in over a month the Ice Wolves will be playing games at the Outpost Ice Arenas. They have spent the last four weeks on the road, finishing with a record of 2-4-1-1. The Ice Wolves have only had one weekend series at home in the New Year and that was against Kenai on Jan. 10-11. The Ice Wolves put up six goals each night, giving them their second ever weekend sweep. New Mexico is 5-13-1-1 while on home ice. Their opponent this weekend is 3-17 while on the road. The last time these two teams saw one another was back on Oct. 18-19 in Odessa. The Ice Wolves won the second game giving them their first win in franchise history (4-3). Also, this Friday was selected by HockeyTv as their ‘Free Game of the Week’.
The Jackalopes currently hold the longest-winless streak this season at 22 games. They snapped that losing streak with a 6-3 win over Shreveport on Feb. 1, making it their first win since Nov. 15. During their 22-game losing streak, Odessa was held off the score sheet five times. Their last road win was on Oct. 12 against the Corpus Christi IceRays, 2-1. If the Jackalopes want to avoid finishing last in the South Division, then this weekend is crucial for them. They are only seven points behind New Mexico and both teams still have 16 games left in the season.
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN:
As previously stated, New Mexico is ten points out of fifth place, with Odessa nipping at their heels. Half of the remaining games for the Ice Wolves will be against non-playoff teams. It was not until a few weeks ago when the Ice Wolves finally got out of seventh place. With playoffs out of the picture, there is still a good chance that they can finish their inaugural season in fifth place. They will certainly have to buckle down for the next 16 games and make sure they come out on top whenever they face the IceRays or the Jackalopes. If they do manage to make the leap up another spot in the standings, then that is only more confidence for this young team when next season rolls around.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Ice Wolves (G: #1 – Henrik Laursen)
Henrik is in his rookie season in the NAHL. So far this season he has played 17 games (4-9-1-1) and has allowed only 48 goals. Resulting in a goals-against-average of 3.40 and a .909SV%. The 20-year-old earned his first NAHL win on Nov. 9, 2019 against the Topeka Pilots (4-2). For the last two seasons, the Frederiksburg, Denmark native played for Honeybaked U18 (HPHL). Last season he won the HPHL U18 Championship. In that championship season, the 6’4” 180-pound goalie had a 1.59GAA and a .949SV%. Among all rookie goalies in the NAHL, Laursen ranks 16th in goals-against-average, shots against (530), and goals against.
Jackalopes (D: #8 – Adam Kolcon)
The Air Force Academy commit is currently in his first season in the NAHL. The Rochester, NY native has already played 49 games this season, which is seven more than anyone else on the Jacks’ roster. That is because he is currently on his third team. The 19-year-old started the season playing 22 games for the Johnstown Tomahawks and then was sent to Amarillo, where he played 24 games. While the 6’1”, 185-pound defenseman has only played three games for Odessa; he has recorded three points (1g, 2a). Prior to the start of the season, Kolcon was drafted #113 overall by the Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL).