FILE— Amarillo Wranglers goalie Max Gutjahr makes a save during a game earlier in the season. [Ben Jenkins/ Press Pass Sports]
The Amarillo Wranglers split a key North American League South Division series with the Odessa Jackalopes at the Ector County Coliseum on Friday and Saturday.
The Wranglers won Friday’s game, 8-2, followed by a 6-2 loss Saturday.
The Wranglers came into this game laser focused and did not disappoint. Logan Cleary started off the scoring bonanza at the 3:24 mark in the first period as defenseman Michael Spinner slapped it from the blue line as Cleary was able to deflect the puck into the back of the net.
Kristap Skrastins scored two goals in this game, making him a top three goal scorer in the league with 13 goals for the season. Cleary also scored another again giving him a pair of goals in the victory. Goalie Max Gutjahr saved 21-of-23 shots to improve to 10-3 on the season. Gutjahr is also tied with two other goalies in the NAHL for most wins in the league.
In front of a very loud and boisterous crowd, the Jackalopes came into Saturday night’s game with a huge chip on their shoulder. After relinquishing first place to the Wranglers the Friday, the Jackalopes came out swinging. The Wranglers struck first as Aidan Carney pushed the puck into an empty net as Odessa goalie Will Proctor was out of position. Carney was to score the only goal of the night for the Wranglers, as they took the loss at 5-1.
Through the first 17 games, the Wranglers are 12-5-0 (24 points). Odessa (12-7-1, 25 points) holds a point lead over Amarillo.
The Wranglers have a top three scorer with Kristap Strastins, a top three goalie with Max Gutjahr, and a league-leading power play percentage of 26.7. Through the first 17 games of the 2012-2013 regular season (Amarillo’s only Robertson Cup Championship season), the previous team, the Amarillo Bulls, had a record of 12-5-0 with a top three scorer in Mike Davis, a top three goalie in Paul Berrafato, and a league-leading power-play percentage. Coincidence? Putting the cart before the horse … absolutely. These statistics, as coincidental as they may seem, give an indication of where the Wranglers are currently as an organization and as a team.
Skrastins signs first NLI for Wranglers franchise
Latvian born and Wranglers prolific scorer, Kristap Skrastins, recently signed his national letter of intent to Division I University of New Hampshire. This is the first college signing for the first-year Wranglers franchise.
The Wildcats are a program looking to get back to the NCAA Frozen Four.
Skrastins should provide a scoring spark for the Wildcats, already netting 13 goals with 24 points in only 17 games for Amarillo.
“I am proud to represent the Wranglers and the Amarillo community,” Skrastins said. “I have fallen in love with Amarillo, and I love the fans”.
The Wranglers return home to face the Corpus Christi IceRays on Friday and Saturday at the Budweiser Bullpen in the Amarillo Civic Center.