The Amarillo Wranglers lost two games this weekend to South Division rival the New Mexico Ice Wolves. Friday night’s game saw the Wranglers come up short in a tough 3-1 defeat. Saturday night’s game saw a similar result in a 2-1 loss. Amarillo (21-19-2-1, 45 points) currently sits in fifth place in the division, nine points behind the Shreveport Mudbugs (24-14-2-4, 54 points) for the last and final playoff spot with 17 games left in the season.
The excitement and anticipation of Friday night’s game was measurable in the Budweiser Bullpen as the New Mexico Ice Wolves rolled into town focused on keeping the fourth and final playoff spot in the North American Hockey League South Division. The first period saw a clinic put on by both goalies. Wranglers’ goalie and Air Force commit Carter Clafton and Ice Wolves goalie Carsten Stokes were standing on their heads when in the second period Ice Wolves forward William Howard would hit the 5-hole to start the scoring at the 5:52 mark. At the 16:14 mark of the second period Wranglers “Blue Liner’ and Colorado native Preston Brighton took a pass from newly acquired (Aberdeen Wings) forward Ronan Walsh (12 assists for the season) to score his seventh goal of the season to tie the game up. The sense of urgency was palpable for both teams as Ice Wolves forward Howard scored his second goal of the night to give the Ice Wolves a 2-1 lead into the second intermission. With about two minutes left in the game Wranglers head coach Harry Mahood pulled goalie Clafton to no avail. The Ice Wolves William Howard scored an empty netter to notch his first hat trick in the NAHL as the Wanglers fell 3-1.
With a big crowd and a special black and silver Las Vegas Raider color scheme for the Wranglers both teams were eager to engage in another classic hockey battle. Both goalies played stellar once again for the majority of this game. William Erickson of the Ice Wolves scored at the 3:39 mark of the first period on a power play to start things off. In the second period Wranglers forward Jack McDonald lit the lamp for his seventh goal on the year as the Wranglers tied the game up 1-1. Later in the second Ice Wolves forward Jeff Hutchinson earned his sixth goal of the season as the Ice Wolves went up for good, 2-1.
A special Amarillo fan
O’dell Genn is a staple in our Amarillo Hockey community. O’dell has been going to hockey games for well over a decade and can be seen in his various hockey jerseys at every Amarillo hockey home game. O’dell has experienced some health issues that preclude his attendance this season. He is deeply missed. It just isn’t the same without O’dell in the Budweiser Bullpen. O’dell is stronger than an Ox and has a heart bigger than the size of Texas. Here’s to a speedy recovery and hopes of seeing O’dell at the Budweiser Bullpen where he belongs. Godspeed O’dell!
The Wranglers continue their homestand with the Corpus Christi Ice Rays visiting the Budweiser Bullpen on Friday and Saturday. Please watch for Tommy Tee’s weekly Wranglers update and also catch Tommy at 5 p.m. Thursday evenings on the “Drive at Five” with a Lance Lahnert on the Panhandle Sports Star (102.9-F.M.)