El Paso: The Wranglers earn their 15th win on the season with a two-to-nothing victory in El Paso Friday night. Max Gutjahr picks up his 13th win of the year along with his second shutout in 17 appearances.
In their first trip to El Paso, the Wranglers took on a rowdy Rhinos crowd as they looked to reclaim the top spot in the division. Both Lassi Lehti and Max Gutjahr would shut the door in the opening period, swapping timely stops as both offensives generated quality scoring chances.
The Wranglers would finally breakthrough in the second period when they used their speed in transition to generate a scoring chance. Anthony Vidrick would beat the Rhinos netminder after being set up by Logan Clear and Dominic Schimizzi for his fourth goal of the season. The goal came at the 7:51 mark of the second period to give Amarillo the first lead of the night. Gutjahr and Lehti would again make stellar stops through the second period, but the Wranglers would beat the clock late in the frame. With only one second remaining, Schimizzi would take advantage of a good set-up pass from Clear to beat the El Paso goalie and give Amarillo a two-goal lead going into the third period.
The Wranglers would get chances to extend their lead in the third with power-play opportunities but would not bury a goal. El Paso would also get a few chances on the man advantage but were stifled by timely stops from Gutjahr. The game would turn physical halfway through the third, with both teams finding themselves in the penalty box for skirmishes after the whistle.
The Rhinos would have a two-man advantage in the game’s final minutes with a power-play and pulling the goalie for the extra skater. El Paso would come close to finding the back of the net late, but again Gutjahr would keep the puck out of the net and hold on for the two-to-nothing victory of the Rhinos. El Paso has been shutout in their last two games, following a three-to-nothing loss at home on Wednesday against New Mexico.
With the Friday night win and a New Mexico loss, the Wranglers are back in first place in the South division. Gutjahr earns his 13th win on the year and records the 29-save shutout. Amarillo will go for their fourth straight win Saturday at 8:00 CT.