Corpus Christi: The Wranglers find their way back into the win column with a 2-to-1 victory Thursday night over the Ice Rays. The Wranglers have now visited every arena in the division with a grueling first part of the season.
The game started with teams exchanging scoring chances as the goalies settled in early with big stops. Halfway through the opening stanza, the Wranglers would take advantage of a Corpus penalty. Kristaps Skrastins would find the back of the net from the far-side faceoff circle for his 17th goal of the year and give the Wranglers a one-goal lead. Later in the period Max Gutjahr and the Wranglers defense would stifle the Ice Rays on a power-play that would carry over to the second period.
Amarillo would kill off the penalty at the start of the second period to preserve the lead.
Neither team would have a clear advantage till the ten-minute mark when the Wranglers would head back to the man advantage. It would not take long for the power-play to find paydirt again as Skrastins beat Stefan Carney from a near-impossible angle to bank the puck off the post and into the net to give Amarillo a two-goal lead. Gutjahr would blank the Ice Rays again to take a 2-to-0 lead into the final period.
The Ice Rays would struggle to get quality scoring chances throughout the third period as the Wranglers were quick to get into shooting lanes and block several shot attempts. In the final minutes of the game, the Ice Rays would sneak a puck behind Gutjahr from a severe angle to cut the deficit in half with just over a minute remaining.
Amarillo would shut the door the secure their 17th win on the season with the slim 2-to-1 margin. Skrastins’ two power-play goals now give him 10PPG on the season to lead the NAHL. Gutjahr would make 31 saves to pick up his 15th win on the season. Glebs Prohorenkovs would notch two assists on the night for a season total of 22 points.
The Wranglers will look for the sweep Friday night at 7:05 from the American Bank Center before returning home for only their fourth weekend at the Budweiser Bullpen.