Special teams shine in 5-to-2 win over El Paso

El Paso, Tx–┬áThe Wranglers used a 3-for-3 performance on the powerplay to propel themselves to a 5-to-2 victory Friday night in El Paso.

Amarillo would start the scoring halfway through the opening period when the Rhinos took the game’s first penalty. Rihards Simanovics cashed in for his ninth goal of the season at 10:36 of the period. Luca Ganz would hold El Paso off the board to hand Amarillo a one-goal lead heading into the first intermission.

Simanovics would find the back of the net again quickly in the second when the Wranglers were awarded their second powerplay. Patterson set up Simanovics for the one-time goal and a two-goal Amarillo lead. After the Simanovics goal, defenseman Trey Willams tallied his first NAHL goal with a seeing-eye shot over the goalie’s shoulder.

El Paso would respond with a goal from Mark LaFrance on a rebound opportunity at 6:59 of the second period. The home-town momentum would be short-lived as Connor McNaughton took advantage of a Divyne Apollon pass and found the back of the net. The assist from Apollon would be his first point in the NAHL. Amarillo would head to the locker room with a 4-to-1 lead.

Ganz would be called upon throughout the third period and responded with a fleury of impressive saves. Eventually, the Wranglers would find the back of the net again when Jack Mcdonald tallied a powerplay goal at 13:40 of the third.

El Paso would score once more late in the game, but the Wranglers would secure the 5-to-2 win. Luca Ganz earned his 12th win of the season. Amarillo had a perfect night on special teams with a 3-for-3 performance on the powerplay and killing off both penalties called against them. The Wranglers are four points behind Shreveport and New Mexico for one of the two final playoff spots in the south division.

The Wranglers will look to close out the weekend with a sweep of the Rhinos Saturday night with an 8 p.m. central time puck drop.