SUNDAY – Amarillo 5, COLORADO 2

Mar 17, 2024

Noah Grolnic grabbed his third goal in two games, but Colorado’s early lead vanished after four unanswered Wrangler goals, as the visitors knocked off the Grit 5-2 at the Greeley Ice Haus Sunday afternoon.

For the third day running, the Wranglers got off to a fast start behind Connor McNaughton. The Wrangler forward redirected a rinkwide pass from Roman Zap past Grit goaltender Aden Gariepy and gave the visitors the 1-0 lead within 90 seconds. Young forward Nolan Shaw brought energy back into the building after his authoritative tilt against Grayson Gerhard ended with Shaw pancaking Gerhard onto the ice. The forward egged on the crowd as he headed to the dressing room, drawing cheers from the crowd of over 500 with 15:34 to go in the first period. 

Colorado then leveled the score on a backhand finish to a breakaway from Brayden Fryfogle; the fourth-year vet grabbed his third goal of the season to tie the game 1-1 with 14:28 remaining in the first period. With 5:27 to go in the first period, Grolnic’s fifteenth goal of the year was a carbon copy of his tally on Saturday; a screened wrist shot from the right circle left Amarillo netminder Connor McDonough no chance to make the save, and the Grit grabbed a 2-1 lead headed into the first intermission.

A bad line change early in the second period cost the Grit their lead. Wrangler center Jack Ivey snuck behind the Grit defense and converted on a breakaway from the blue line, lifting the puck past Gariepy and tying the game 2-2 with 18:36 to play in the second period. An unfortunate bounce allowed Amarillo to take their second lead of the game; a slapshot from the point was blocked by Alex German and the carom bounced directly to the tape of Amarillo forward Jack McDonald. McDonald pumped the puck past Gariepy to give the Wranglers a 3-2 lead with 11:29 left in the second period.

For the third consecutive period, the visitors got onto the scoresheet early. A cross-ice pass to the right wing found the stick of Jack Ivey, who roofed a wrist shot over a sliding Gariepy to extend the Wranglers’ advantage, 4-2, only 1:11 into the third period. The Grit continued to pepper McDonough, finishing with 38 shots, but were unable to find the back of the net and close the gap. Instead, the Wranglers found more insurance on a Grit giveaway at their own blue line. Morley Phillips took advantage of the loose puck and delivered the knockout blow, a wrist shot through the five-hole on Gariepy to open the Wrangler lead to 5-2 with 6:26 to play in the period.