Clafton leads Amarillo to 4-to-2 victory over Ice Rays

The Wranglers use a 36-save performance from goalie Carter Clafton to top the Ice Rays 4-to-2 Friday night at the Budweiser Bullpen.

After a strong effort against the New Mexico Ice Wolves last weekend, the Wranglers returned home in search of their 20th win of the season. Amarillo would start strong with 17 shots in the first period but could not get one past Ice Rays goalie Damon Beaver. Both teams would head into the first intermission in a scoreless draw.

Neither team could find the net until the 9:34 mark of the second period when Blake Lewis deflected a shot from Casper Gilberg to beat Wranglers goalie Carter Clafton to open the scoring. The Wranglers wouldn’t take long to respond when defenseman Oliver Bezick scored his second goal of the season at the 12:47 mark of the period. Less than two minutes later, Glebs Prohorenkovs would tally his 13th goal with a phenomenal individual effort beating the Corpus Christi defense and netminder to give Amarillo the lead.

Kristaps Skrastins would join the goal-scoring party just 3:12 into the third to grab a two-goal lead for the Wranglers. Amarillo would expand their lead four minutes later with an Aidan Carney goal after being set up by Prohorenkovs. The Wranglers would hold on to a 4-to-1 lead late into the game when the Ice Rays started to put more pressure on the Wranglers net.

Corpus Christi would have a two-man advantage with a power-play and empty net. The Wranglers would kill off the penalty, but the Ice Rays would beat Clafton with just a few minutes remaining to draw within two goals. Clafton and Amarillo would shut the door on Corpus Christi and secure the 4-to-2 victory.

The Wranglers picked up their 20th win of the season and snapped an 11-game skid after dealing with player departures and illness over the stretch of games. Both Oliver Bezick and Glebs Prohorenkovs scored a goal and assist for two-point performances. Carter Clafton earned his first win as a Wrangler with 36 saves on 38 shots faced.

Amarillo will look to sweep the Ice Rays Saturday night in the final game between the two teams this season. Puck-drop is 7:05 p.m. at the Budweiser Bullpen.