Wranglers lose two in Shreveport

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In a rare weekend stumble, the Amarillo Wranglers were swept by the reigning North American Hockey League Robertson Cup Champion, Shreveport this past weekend in the George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum.

In a very uncharacteristic way, the Wranglers were on the receiving end of what they’ve been dishing out most of the season.

Losses to Mudbugs

Coming off back-to-back road sweeps, and riding a four-game winning streak, the Amarillo Wranglers ran into a brick wall. That brick wall goes by the name of Devon Bobak. Bobak is the 6-foot-7 (with skates on) goalie for the Mudbugs. Amarillo wasn’t able to do much against Bobak, and were shut out for the weekend. On Friday night, Amarillo’s goalie Max Gutjhar took the loss despite saving 25-of-28 shots as the Wranglers fell 3-0.

On Saturday night, Wranglers back up goalie Connor Strobel stopped 28-of-32 shots to take the loss as the Shreveport Mudbugs were able to complete the sweep with another shutout, this time 4-0.

The inaugural season

The Amarillo Wranglers are off to an amazing start. Sitting at 16-7-0 overall, the Wranglers are currently in second place in the NAHL South Division with 32 points, just one point behind New Mexico (16-7-1, 33 points). Although the Wranglers are referred to as an expansion team, technically they are not. The Kansas City Scouts were purchased from the Hunt family (owners of the Kansas City Chiefs) by a local group of businessmen that includes Hockey executives/coach’s Austin Sutter and Eric Andersen along with local attorney Chris Wright. The Kansas City Scouts were moved and rebranded to the Amarillo Wranglers. Don’t forget, this team has only been a team since September.

The Team

Right from the beginning, this team looked special. Starting off with Kristaps Skrastins, the Latvian phenom that had two hat tricks (scoring three goals in one game) in his very first two appearances for Amarillo. Skrastins is currently in the top 10 in points for the league as well as in the top three in goals scored. Skrastins is one of the bright stars in the NAHL, recently signing his letter of commitment to the University of New Hampshire. Goalie Max Gutjahr leads the league with 14 wins and has been able to reignite his career under the coaching guidance of head coach Harry Mahood and assistant Cody Gylling. Gutjahr spent time in Amarillo previously with the Bulls. Under the current coaching philosophy of “goalie world” Gutjahr has been able to take his game to the next level. Recently on the TV program The Sports Drive, Mahood spoke about his “next man up” methodology. This has been evident with the point sharing between seven Wranglers players in double-digits. Special teams have also been very effective this season with a power play percentage of 25.3 percent, second in the South Division. Defense has also been strong this season under the leadership from the team captain Micheal Spinner.

Next up

The Amarillo Wranglers continue their long road trip taking on the Corpus Christi IceRays at the American Bank Center on Thursday and Friday. These game

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