Weekend Preview: New Mexico Ice Wolves vs. Wichita Falls Warriors (Games 55 & 56)

Teams: New Mexico Ice Wolves (35-15-1-3, 74 PTS) vs. Wichita Falls Warriors (20-16-5-3, 68 PTS)

Where: Kay Yeager Coliseum

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Wichita Falls have the potential to clinch a playoff birth this weekend if the Warriors manage to sweep the Ice Wolves and Odessa manages to lose a game this weekend. The Jackalopes will play the Mudbugs at home this weekend.

Playing a Playoff Bound Opponent: 

The New Mexico Ice Wolves have clinched a playoff opportunity for the first time in their franchise history. This second-year franchise has been led by their goaltender Beni Halasz, sporting a 2.02 GAA, and sits second among NAHL goaltenders. 

Their leading goal scorer Dillan Bentley has been potent with 54 points on the season and looks to continue his scoring touch against the Warriors. Bentley has collected ten points in the six games between the two teams, with four goals scored. 

Goals For vs. Goals Against: 

New Mexico is the best in the league when it comes to keeping the puck out of their net as a team, averaging 2.31 GAA. 

Wichita Falls is averaging 2.63 GAA, good for 4th in the league. 

New Mexico is 18th in goals, with an average of 3.17 per game. 

In their last ten games, the Warriors have scored three or more goals in 8 of them and average 3.63 goals a game, suitable for the 6th best in the league. 

Strength vs. Strength

New Mexico is strong on the penalty kill, with 86.5% sitting only behind the Aberdeen Wings in this department.

On the flip side, the Warriors continue to be the best power-play unit in the league, scoring 28% of their chances. At home, the Warriors increase their chances to 37%. 

Look for special teams to be momentum builders in this weekend’s series. 

Can We Continue Their Slump?

New Mexico is 5-4-0-1 in their last ten games, getting swept against Shreveport, struggling against El Paso, and losing a game to Odessa the previous weekend. 

 In their last five games, they’ve won only two with a +2 goal differential over those stretch of games. Ice Wolves Goaltender Beni Halaz has lost four of his last five starts. 

This Weekend: 

It is Military Appreciation Weekend in the Kay Yeager Coliseum, with tickets being Buy One Get One 50% Off at the box office when you present a military I.D. 

A live jersey auction will be held after Saturday night’s game, with proceeds going to our military. The doors will open at 6 p.m., with puck drop scheduled for 7:05 p.m. 

We have a fully stocked Coors Club, with Warriors memorabilia being won through our Chuck-a-Puck game and a chance to win a game-worn, signed jersey through our silent auction on Friday night.

It is the final regular-season home series of the year, so come on by and don’t miss out on watching your Warriors!

Written by: Scott Masom