No. 6 New Mexico Ice Wolves (12-31-2-3, 29pts) vs. No. 2 Lone Star Brahmas (39-9-0-1, 79pts)
at NYTEX Sports Center in North Richland Hills, TX
Time: 7:30 p.m. CST (Friday) | 7:30 p.m. CST (Saturday)
What You Need to Know:
Season Series: 0-6
NMO: 30pts, Dominique (11g-19a)
LOS: 57pts, Guerra (16g-41a)
The Brahmas are the best team if the league when it comes to goal differential. The Brahmas are currently +99 in GF/GA. They have scored 175 goals and have only allowed 76 (league high). The only other team in the NAHL that has yet to allow 100 goals is the Amarillo bulls (89). Lone Star has scored 28 goals and only let six go into the back of their net during the season series against New Mexico. They have also shutout the Ice Wolves three times this season.
HALF AND HALF:
The Ice Wolves have six weeks remaining in their inaugural season. Half of which will be played against playoff teams (Lone Star, Shreveport, and Topeka). As for the other half, they still have four games left to play against Corpus Christi, who they still have a chance to knock out of fifth place. They also still have to conclude their season series against Odessa on Mar. 27-28. If the Ice Wolves can secure wins against the non-playoff teams and at least split the weekends against playoff teams, then they will easy finish in fifth place.
LAST LINE OF DEFENSE:
A reason why Lone Star is second overall in the league is because of their outstanding goaltending. Both of their goalies (Cayden Bailey and Ludvig Persson) are ranked in the top three for goals-against-average and save percentage. Both goaltenders though are in their final year on junior eligibility. Bailey ranks first among goalies in GAA (1.27) and SV% (.942). He represented the South Division at this year’s NAHL Top Prospects Tournament (2GP, 2.09GAA, .931SV%).
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Ice Wolves (F: #19 – Tristan Rand)
The Valencia, CA native is in his rookie season in the NAHL (2g, 1a). Before entering the “League Of Opportunity”, Rand played for the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes U16 (T1EHL). He finished the season fourth on the team in points (25) and had the second-most goals (19). The 18-year-old was selected #166 overall in 2017 by the Tri-City Americans during the WHL Bantam Draft. The 6’1” 180-pound forward has been a big asset for the Ice Wolves on special teams as he recently scored a short-handed goal.
Brahmas (F: #53 – Matt Guerra)
The Robert Morris University (Atlantic Hockey, D1) commit is currently leading the Brahmas in points. His 41 assists are a team high and so are his 19 power-play assists. Him and Joey Baez are the only players with more than 50 points and they are also averaging a point-per-game. Last season, the Sanford, FL native recorded 53 points (12g, 41a) in 58 games for the Brahmas. Not only did he finish first in points last year as well but he was also named to the NAHL All-Rookie First Team. Prior to the start of this season, the 5’10” 180-pound forward was selected #120 overall by Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL). The 20-year-old played two games at the Top Prospects Tournament this year and had three assists.