WICHITA FALLS, TX – The Wichita Falls Warriors (8-8-1-3) hosted the New Mexico Ice Wolves (6-14-1-0) for the fifth time this season at the Kay Yeager Coliseum in search of back to back wins for the second time this season. Warriors defenseman Brennan Couet would reach a milestone, as he would play in his 150th career North American Hockey League game.
The Warriors were coming off a road overtime win at Shreveport on Monday, January 18th that snapped a five game losing skid. Similar to the win on Monday, the Warriors would get out to a fast start. Forward William Lawson-Body (2) would get the scoring started just 41 seconds into the first period on a perfect feed from Hunter Jones (7). The Warriors were up 1-0 early and would keep putting the pressure on New Mexico. Then, midway through the first the Ice Wolves would have some quality scoring chances but Warriors goaltender Owen Bartoszkiewicz was perfect in the opening period. Both sides had 10 shots a piece after 20 minutes of play. The Ice Wolves would have three power plays but the Warriors penalty kill unit was a perfect 3/3 on kills. The Warriors would even add a short-handed goal on the third penalty kill with under a minute left in the first. Joseph Harguindeguy (9) would steal the puck at center ice, go down and score his ninth of the season and first short-handed with 9 seconds left to extend the Warriors lead to 2-0 heading to the second period. For Harguindeguy, it was his third goal in just four games with the Warriors.
The Ice Wolves would begin the second period on the power play, but just like in the first period the Warriors would kill the penalty with help from forward Nick Lanigan who would block two shots and clear the puck out of the zone. The Ice Wolves went 0/2 on the power play in the second period, going 0/5 through two periods on the man advantage. The Warriors were hoping that the penalty kills would spring them some momentum but Wichita Falls would go 0/3 on the power play themselves. The Warriors also would outshoot the Ice Wolves 16-12 in the second but would be unable to add to their lead and would take the 2-0 advantage into the third period.
In the third period the Ice Wolves would head back to the man advantage twice in the first five minutes but would not take advantage. The Warriors would have two power plays of their own and put pucks on net but New Mexico goaltender Josh Graziano would make some big saves to keep the Ice Wolves in the game. New Mexico would find their first of the night short-handed 14:30 into the third period to cut the Warriors lead to 2-1. The Ice Wolves would pull goaltender Graziano with a little over a minute left to get the extra attacker and try to tie the game but the Warriors would tighten up defensively and keep the Ice Wolves away from the front of the net. The Warriors would pin the puck in the corner to let the clock run out and top the Ice Wolves by a final of 2-1. The win makes it two straight for Wichita Falls for only the second time this season. The Warriors earned two points in the victory and now have a total of 20 points on the season.
Owen Bartoszkiewicz (6-5-1-2) recorded the win for Wichita Falls. He recorded 25 saves on 26 shots faced. Josh Graziano (1-2-0-0) recorded the loss for New Mexico. He recorded 28 saves on 30 shots faced.
Next up, the Warriors look to sweep the Ice Wolves in the weekend series and make it three straight wins for the first tie this season. Puck drop is at 7:05 PM on Saturday, January 23rd at the Kay Yeager Coliseum.