The Amarillo Wranglers stampeded into the Budweiser Bullpen over weekend looking to keep their playoff hopes alive in the very competitive North American Hockey League Southern Division. The Wranglers got just what they needed to stay in the playoff hunt getting a 5-4 win and 7-1 victory over Corpus Christi on Friday and Saturday. Amarillo (23-19-2-1, 49 points) are tied with the Odessa Jackalopes for fifth place just eight points behind the Shreveport Mudbugs for the fourth and final playoff spot.
Friday night’s game saw the Amarillo’s Wranglers hungry for a victory and needing one to stay in the hunt for the playoffs. At the 4:17 mark of the first period Jack McDonald was able to collect some garbage to dump it into the back of the net for an early 1-0 Wranglers lead. Later in the game, Chase Davis went top shelf giving Amarillo a 3-1 advantage in the second period. The third period saw two more goals scored by the IceRays and this game went into overtime. In OT, within 29 seconds Pierce Patterson scored his seventh goal of the season for the Amarillo victory in a true nailbiter. Wranglers goalie Luca Ganz stopped 25-of-29 shots and is 15-8-0-0 for the season.
Under the eyes of one of the largest crowds of the season, the Wranglers came into Saturday night’s game in another must win situation. Amarillo head coach Harry Mahood was on fire and extremely animated from the beginning to the final buzzer. Newly acquired and university of New Hampshire commit Ronan Walsh started off the scoring with a laser shot that got passed IceRays goalie Lukas Malant. Six different players scored for Amarillo. Connor McNaughton scored his seventh and eighth goal of the season to put the icing on the cake. The Amarillo Wranglers went on to the dominating 7-1 performance. Air Force commit and Wranglers goalie Carter Clafton made 26 saves for his eighth win.
Amarillo Wranglers fans
Under the local ownership group of Austin Sutter-Eric Andersen-Chris Wright and an Executive staff with a high hockey IQ, the sophomore season for the Amarillo Wranglers has been nothing short of spectacular. Ranked second in the entire North American Hockey League in attendance just a few fans short of the league leading Shreveport Mudbugs. Front office executives Haley Matlack and Brandi Sutter have provided a positive, entertaining family environment for all the Hockey thirsty fans. The work that is done under the directive of these amazing women executives a second to none. The Wranglers community involvement with schools (Hockey Heath), hospitals, and local businesses enhances the positive visibility of this organization. Attendance numbers for the Wranglers have been impressive and continue to grow. The product put on the ice is entertaining, competitive and positive. Amarillo has embraced the Wranglers in a way that has not been seen in years. With four home games left in the regular season there’s still time to be a part of the “Stampede”.
The Wranglers begin a seven-game road trip starting in El Paso this weekend. 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.)