Stout defense leads to Amarillo’s 3-to-1 win over Minot Friday night

Blaine,MN-The Wranglers’ suffocating defense limited Minot’s offensive attack, propelling Amarillo to a 3-to-1 victory Friday night.

Amarillo and Minot dropped the puck for the last game of day three of the NAHL Showcase, with both teams coming off high-scoring victories the day before.

Friday’s matchup would tell a different story, with the defensive struggle starting early in the opening period. Both goalies would make their NAHL debut, with Luca Ganz getting the nod for Amarillo and Dane Couture patrolling the crease for Minot. Both offensives would struggle to capture any momentum in the physical bout, but the Minotauros would open the scoring at the 14:21 mark when Weston Knox let a shot go from the blue line that beat Ganz for a shorthanded goal. Four minutes later, the Wranglers would use puck luck to their advantage when Kyle Demarco would slide a puck to the goal and get a friendly bounce off a Minot defenseman and into the net to even the game.

Any offensive found in the first came to a halt in the middle frame. The Wranglers would take two penalties setting up the top-ranked Minot power-play. The penalty-killing units kept Minot at bay and would erase both penalties without surrendering a goal. Despite being shorthanded twice, Amarillo would hold the Minotauros to seven shots in the period.

The first part of the third period resulted in both teams grinding out any possible chance to throw the puck to the net. At 12:26 of the third, CJ Zezima would set up Dominik Bartecko for a one-time goal to give the Wranglers their first lead of the night. Amarillo would get an insurance goal from Logan Cleary, who found the empty net in the game’s final minute to close the scoring. Minot would be held to only four shots in the period, and Luca Ganz would earn his first NAHL win.

The Wranglers improve to 3-and-0 and will face the Aberdeen Wings Saturday at 2:30 p.m. to conclude their Showcase schedule. The Wranglers, Warriors, and Ice Wolves all have a 3-and-0 record in the South division heading into the tournament’s final day.