By Josh Kaskinen | Image: NM Ice Wolves
The New Mexico Ice Wolves are heading into a two-game series this weekend against the Amarillo Bulls on the heels of their best weekend yet. The Ice Wolves swept the formerly division leading Topeka Pilots last weekend, with scores of 2-1 on Friday and 4-2 on Saturday.
The Ice Wolves will remain at home for two more weekends. After the series with Amarillo, they will have a three game stand against the new South Division leaders- the Lone Star Brahmas.
The Bulls are a team who have had to make adjustments of their own this season. A year ago, Amarillo made a deep run in the Robertson Cup Playoffs, beating Corpus Christi and Shreveport on their way to the semifinals, where they lost in three games to the eventual champion Aberdeen Wings.
The biggest change for the Bulls this year is in moving on without their star forward Logan Jenuwine. Jenuwine had a stellar year in Amarillo last season, scoring 60 goals and 44 assists breaking the single season NAHL record for goals scored. Jenuwine is now a freshman for the Arizona State Sun Devils where he has three goals through ten games.
While they won’t have a scorer who is anywhere near as prolific as Jenuwine, the Bulls have plenty of capable skaters who can step up in that capacity. Matt Allen seems to be filling that void on offense so far this season. Through 18 games played, the Minco, Oklahoma native has 10 goals and 9 assists for a team leading 19 points. Behind Allen is Jordan Venegoni with 13 points and Nick Trela with 12.
On defense, Finnish blue liner Lauri Sertti leads the way with nine points, including two power play goals and three power play assists. The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute commit averages .5 points a game and has a rating of +7. His two way play is sure to help Amarillo as the season continues.
The Ice Wolves are in for another tough series this weekend, but if they can build on their results from a week ago by winning faceoffs and puck battles, they will give themselves a solid chance to keep their recent winning ways intact.
Between the pipes, both Charlie Glockner and Max Gutjahr have performed admirably as a platoon this season. They have split time nearly equally, and both have at least five wins with exceptional save percentages and goals against averages. Don’t be shocked to see both goalies make an appearance in a game this weekend in Albuquerque.