OKLAHOMA CITY – William Ahlrik scored in his third straight game and William Lawson-Body earned two points to help the Oklahoma Warriors win their fifth straight game with a 4-1 win over the El Paso Rhinos at Blazers Ice Centre Friday.
It didn’t take long for the Warriors to get on the board as Max Dronen and Malte Hasselgren worked the puck along the near-side wall before setting up Lawson-Body in front for his ninth goal of the season at 3:06. Oklahoma would make it a 2-0 game later in the period when Owen Baumgartner rushed from his own zone to the bottom of the offensive zone circle and floated a pass to the front of the net for Joey Delgreo to tip in. Delgreco’s tenth goal of the season came at 6:36 of the first period.
El Paso answered back with the game’s next goal, but the Warriors responded late in the period to take a 3-1 lead into the intermission. Lawson-Body fished the puck out of a board battle and sent it to Adam Smith at the blueline. Smith then sent it ahead for Ahlrik, who skated in on the Rhinos netminder and roofed in his third goal in as many games, and his sixth of the 2022-23 season with just 52 seconds left in the frame.
Oklahoma added further insurance in the third period when Blaise Miller set himself up for a beautiful breakaway-from-the-blueline goal. Miller cleared the puck off the boards in front of his bench from his own zone and chased after it. An El Paso defender then struggled to keep possession as Miller stole it from him at the blueline and scored to make it a 4-1 game with 6:58 remaining.
The Warriors and Rhinos will finish their two-game set with a 7:15 p.m. puck drop Saturday, January 21 at Blazers Ice Centre for the second half of Oklahoma’s Military Appreciation Weekend. Immediately following the game Saturday, the Warriors will host a live auction for their game-worn, military appreciation jerseys.
Friday’s win marked not only the fifth in a row outright, but the seventeenth straight regular season victory by the Wichita Falls/Oklahoma Warriors franchise going back to the 2021-22 season.