SATURDAY – New Mexico 3, COLORADO 2 (OT)

Mar 23, 2024

Defenseman Alex German collected a second multi-goal game in two weekends as the Grit dropped their 2023-24 home finale in heartbreaking fashion, falling 3-2 in overtime to the New Mexico Ice Wolves.

After receiving a pass from Grit winger Chris Graves, German got the goal scoring started midway through the first period. German raced down the right wing, used a cut move to split two New Mexico defenders, and powered a shot past Ice Wolve goaltender Andy Vlaha to give Colorado a 1-0 lead with 10:33 to play in the first period. The goal would hold up as the only tally in a first period in which Grit goaltender Jack Erickson made eight of his 34 saves while a 1-0 Grit lead carried into the first intermission.

Similarly, the second period featured just one tally. However, this came off the stick of New Mexico forward Rasmus Leijonhelm. After the Ice Wolve forecheck forced a turnover, the puck squirted loose in the top of the crease. Erickson was able to make an initial pad save, but Leijonhelm slotted the puck past the left pad and into the back of the net to tie the game, 1-1, with 4:11 gone in the second period. The New Mexico goal occurred between three Grit penalties, including a major unsportsmanlike misconduct penalty to Jordan Gudridge. After a tough showing on Friday night, the Grit penalty kill bowed up to stop New Mexico twice in the middle frame and finished the night a perfect 4-for-4. 

The third period got off to a fast start for the visitors who grabbed their first lead of the period. Under two minutes into the third period, Ryan Seelinger fed a cross-ice pass from the right wing into the slot and Ethan Hull redirected the pass over the glove of Erickson and into the back of the net. Hull’s goal pushed the visitors ahead, 2-1, with 18:12 remaining in the third period. Colorado responded immediately, thanks to German and the power play unit. After George Poirier was hauled down by Jordan Tacheny’s stick, the Grit made their fourth power play of the afternoon count.

After receiving a rinkwide pass from Landon West, German found a pocket of space from the left point, glided to the top of the left circle, and punched a wrist shot past the glove of Vlaha to tie the game, 2-2, with 16:01 left in regulation. The final five minutes of regulation became a parade to the penalty box; four penalties were whistled and gave the Grit an abbreviated power play to start overtime.

Hunting for their first overtime victory of the season, the Grit pushed a pair of shots at Vlaha, who finished with 35 saves, before New Mexico got back to full strength with a minute gone in overtime. With 2:55 remaining in overtime, Dillion Kuntz flipped a shot at Erickson and a rebound fell loose in front of the Grit crease. Seelinger’s first effort was kicked aside, but Olivier Lamothe lobbed the third effort into the back of the net to seal the extra point for New Mexico.

Colorado is back in action on the road in El Paso on Friday night at 7:00 pm at the El Paso County Events Center.