No rest for the weary as the Amarillo Wranglers took the five hour drive down Highway 287 to take on the South Division leading Lone Star.
Amarillo fell in the first game 2-1 in yet another overtime thriller on Friday night followed by a 5-2 defeat on Saturday.
The weekend was not a complete loss as the Wranglers garnered one important point. Amarillo is 13-9-4-0 with a total of 30 points and are tied for third place in the North American Hockey League South Division with the El Paso Rhinos. The division-leading Brahmas have three games in hand and possess the best record in all of the NAHL with 44 points.
The Wranglers play the Lone Star Brahmas again this weekend at the Budweiser Bullpen on Friday and Saturday.
It was back in the bus to play two games against the division leading Lone Star Brahmas at NYTEX in North Richland Hills.
At the 15:19 mark of the first period, Luke Morris took a nice feed from forward Morley Phillips to score his third goal of the season, giving Amarillo a 1-0 lead in the first period. Amarillo took the lead into the first break. At the 24.5 mark of the second period, Brahma forward Ray Murakami snuck one by Wranglers netminder Connor McDonough to tie the game up.
In the third period both goalies played magnificently as the Wranglers defensive core led by associate captain Kyle DeMarco made it extremely difficult for the Brahmas to take shots with only four attempts in the third period. For the 12th time this season, the Wranglers were back in familiar territory with yet another overtime affair.
This overtime didn’t last long as the Brahmas ended it with a nice goal from defenseman Ivan Zadvemyuk for the win. There were no power-play goals scored by either team during this game. Wranglers’ goalie Connor McDonough played an excellent game, but to no avail and took the loss. McDonough is 10-6-3-0 for the season.
The Wranglers looked to avenge their overtime loss Friday night against Lone Star.
At the 5:58 mark in the first period, the Brahmas took an early lead when Owen Kerr slapped one in to give the Brahmas a 1-0 lead going in to the first intermission. Wranglers fan favorite forward Tommy Chunchukov was able to deflect the puck past Brahma goalie Jack Wieneke, scoring his first goal after coming back from a catastrophic season ending shoulder injury last year. You heard the entire city of Amarillo say “atta boy Tommy” when he scored that goal.
Chunchukov’s perseverance and laser focused dedication and support of the Wranglers is widely known. Chunchukov is the last to leave the ice between periods and leads this team in prayer after every game. A Nashville, Tenn., native, Chunchukov is an outstanding young man and fantastic hockey player, with a very bright future ahead of him. This game was knotted up, going into the second intermission. The Brahmas went on to score three unanswered goals in the third period to capture those all-important two points, and to sweep the Wranglers this weekend. The Wranglers’ record against the Brahmas is 1-4-1.
Two popular players have departed the program over the last couple of weeks. Baltimore, Maryland, native and Wrangler forward Divyne Apollon (affectionally known as Devo) has decided to step away from hockey and explore other opportunities. Goalie Luca Ganz has made the decision to play professional hockey in his home country of Germany for the remainder of the season. Both players will be missed, and we at Press Pass Sports hope nothing but the best for these two world class athletes. God speed.
Please listen for Tommy Tee‘s weekly recap of the Amarillo Wranglers hockey on the “Drive at Five” with Lance Lahnert every Thursday afternoon at 5 p.m. exclusively on 102.9 FM the Panhandle Sports Star.