ALBUQUERQUE, NM – The Wichita Falls Warriors (23-13-1-6) looked to leave the Outpost Ice Arenas with a win on Saturday against the New Mexico Ice Wolves (15-27-2-2) after dropping the first two games of the weekend series.
The Warriors would have their best first period of the three nights on Saturday, jumping out to an early 1-0 lead on a goal by Joseph Hargunideguy (13) 4:02 into the opening frame. The Warriors controlled the play for the first several minutes of the game, outshooting the Ice Wolves 8-2 during that stretch. The continued pressure from the Warriors would help lead to another goal, as Nick Lanigan (6) crossed the puck in the neutral zone over to Vince Corcoran (21) who skated the puck into the offensive zone and dropped it off to Hunter Jones (5) who gave the Warriors a 2-0 lead 8:24 into the first on his second goal in two games. The Warriors would hold off a late period rush by the Ice Wolves and lead 2-0 at the end of the first period.
In the second period, the Warriors outshot the Ice Wolves 15-11 and had more scoring chances. Just as it seemed like the Warriors were going to start to run away with it, New Mexico goaltender Beni Halasz made some big stops in net to keep the Ice Wolves right in the game only trailing by two goals late in the second. The Warriors would take a penalty in the final minute of the second period, putting the Ice Wolves on the power play. Yet again, the Ice Wolves had a late surge in the period but this time it was Wichita Falls goaltender Owen Bartoszkiewicz making some timely saves to preserve the two goal advantage on the road. The Warriors would head to the third period leading by two, the first time they had led after two periods in the three game series.
The Warriors had been bitten by the injury bug in the first two games and were down to 15 skaters that had a shift on Saturday night. This meant that the Warriors shifted their focus into the defensive zone for the third period, looking to get stops and clears to hold the two goal advantage. The Ice Wolves would outshoot the Warriors 15-4 in the third period, but could not beat Bartoszkiewicz. New Mexico had one last chance late, pulling Halasz for the extra attacker needing two goals with under three minutes left. However, the Warriors would force a turnover and Cole Teleki (11) was able to find Jackson Wozniak (5) to put the icing on the cake, extending the lead to 3-0. The Warriors would win by that final, and Bartoszkiewicz would record his fifth shutout and 17th win of the season, stopping all 38 New Mexico shots.
Next up, the Warriors finish their three weekend road trip in Amarillo for another three game weekend set, beginning on Friday, April 16th at the Amarillo Civic Center. Puck drop is at 7:05 PM CST.