Wranglers sweep IceRays to keep playoffs hopes alive

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The Amarillo Wranglers celebrate after getting big wins over the Corpus Christi IceRays over the weekend. [Photo courtesy Lauren Corea]
The Budweiser Bullpen was electric Friday and Saturday night as the Amarillo Wranglers where fighting for their playoff lives.

In dominating fashion, the Wranglers stepped up in front of the home crowd coming away with a pair of key victories. Friday night saw a 7-1 thumping by Amarillo, followed a 7-3 runaway against the Corpus Christi IceRays. The Amarillo Wranglers are now 28-23-1-1 with 59 points and have closed the gap to four points behind the New Mexico Ice Wolves for the fourth and final playoff spot in the North American Hockey League’s South Division.

Friday’s Recap

With their backs against the wall, the Amarillo Wranglers came into Friday nights affair 8 points behind the New Mexico Ice Wolves for the fourth and final playoff spot. Standing 6.8’ foot tall (with skates) Wranglers new goalie Connor McDonough started between the pipes after his impressive debut victory against the league leading Oklahoma Warriors. McDonough was out to prove his impressive debut was not a fluke. The first period saw an evenly matched game until fan favorite and Wranglers forward Zack Kent scored his fifth goal of the season after a nice feed from Defensemen Pierce Patterson to start the scoring bonanza. The Wranglers took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. The IceRays made it interesting for a minute when IceRays Nils Forselius scored his 13th goal of the season to tie up the game. At the 14:48 mark the “Captain” Chase Davis scored his 14th goal of the season as the Amarillo Wranglers took a 2 to 1 lead to the second intermission. Right off the bat, the scoring started for the Wranglers when Cooper Rice hit a “Laser Bottlerocket” that almost penetrated the back of the net. The Wranglers opened up the scoring floodgates when Preston Brighton, Ronan Walsh, Pierce Patterson and Ben Ivey all went on to score in the third period. Wranglers goalie McDonough would stop 33 of 34 shots tonight his second win in a row. The Amarillo Wranglers gained two points on the New Mexico Ice Wolves as they fell to the Lonestar Brahmas 1-0.

Saturday’s Recap

Saturday night at the Budweiser bullpen was filled with Hot Rods, Nurses (nurses appreciation night) and a house full of win hungry fans. The music was loud, the energy was big and the Wranglers had to win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Amarillo captain and Bentley University commit Chase Davis would start off the scoring at the 3:39 mark of the first period. Just four short minutes later Davis scored again for his 16th of the season. The Wranglers took a 2-0 lead going into the second period. Heading into the second period things got a little wild as 16 penalties were called, however, Amarillo went on to net five goals from – Jack Ivey, Ronan Walsh, Rihard Simanovics and Pierce Patterson. McDonough was sharp once again stopping 32-of-35 shots to garner his third victory in a row.

Playoffs

With the Wranglers victory Saturday night and the New Mexico Ice Wolves loss to the Lonestar Brahmas 1-0, the Wranglers were able to gain two more points and are only four points out of the fourth and final playoff position with six games to play. The Wranglers are peaking at the right time and their schedule helps for this playoff push. I’ve said it in previous articles, the last two games of the regular season in Odessa at the Ector Colosseum against the Jackolopes could and should have playoff implications.

Next Up

The Wranglers travel to Corpus Christi to take on the IceRays for rare Thursday and Friday affair at the American Bank Center. 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.)

 

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