Blaine,MN-The Wranglers opened up the 2022-23 season with a 3-to-1 victory over the Anchorage Wolverines on Wednesday afternoon.
Amarillo took on the 2022 Robertson Cup runners-up with an 11:15 a.m. puck drop and used a solid defensive effort en route to the season-opening win.
Neither team would find the back of the net in the opening period as both goalies stood tall in the first 20 minutes. Wranglers goalie Carter Clafton would only face seven shots in the first.
The second period would start with a quicker pace than the opening frame. Halfway through the period, both teams would take penalties; this resulted in both teams skating with four players on the ice. During the four-on-four, the Wranglers controlled the puck deep inside the Anchorage zone, and defenseman Preston Brighton slipped past the Wolverine’s defense and beat Anchorage goalie Shane Soderwall to open the scoring. Brighton’s goal would be the lone tally as the Wranglers, and Clafton kept the Wolverines at bay through the second period.
Seven minutes into the third period, the Wranglers would get another chance on the powerplay and converted when Jack McDonald buried a rebound from a Pierce Patterson shot. Moments later, Anchorage would answer with a Trent Powell goal squeaking past Clafton to bring it back to a one-goal game.
The Wranglers would reclaim their two-goal lead when CJ Zezima followed up on a Jack Ivey shot to make it 3-to-1. Amarillo would hold off the Anchorage attack and secure the two-goal victory to start the 2022-23 season in the win column.
Brighton and McDonald scored their first career NAHL goals in the 3-to-1 win. Ben Ivey picked up his first NAHL point on Brighton’s goal, and Jack Ivey picked up his first two NAHL points on the Brighton and Zezima goals. Carter Clafton earned his first win of the season with a 22-save performance.
The Wranglers will take on the Kenai River Brown Bears Thursday at 5 p.m. at Super Rink 4 in Blaine, MN.