Photo Courtesy of David Dudich: Brahmas netminder TJ Black made an astounding 52 saves in Lone Star’s 4 – 3 win over Wichita Falls to close out their NAHL season.
The Lone Star Brahmas finally broke the Kay Yeager Coliseum Jinx in their last game of the season, defeating the Wichita Falls Wildcats 4 – 3. The win came despite being outshot 55 – 25 on the evening. Due to the skirmish occurring at the end of Saturday night’s game in Odessa, the Brahmas skated with only 5 defensemen and 10 forwards to make the win that much sweeter.
The Brahmas cruised out to a lead in the first period on the back of a Roman Uchyn power play goal just 2:15 into the game. Matt Lison snared a loose puck between the circles and left it for Sebastian Vidmar. Vidmar carried it to the top of the right wing circle, turned and sent a gorgeous pass to Uchyn just off the far post for a one timer. At the 9:32 mark, Vidmar stole the puck in the defensive zone and sent Uchyn to the other end of the ice. He skated it to the bottom of the near circle drawing the defense to him then sent a pass out to the far point. Nick Blase accepted the pass and snapped it through a crowd into the back of the net chasing David Zevnik from net to be replaced by Chase Munroe.
Photo Courtesy of David Dudich: Brahmas Alternate Captain, Roman Uchyn had a four point night against Wichita Falls with 2G – 2A.
In the middle frame the Wildcats made a bid to get back into the game with a goal at 7:51. With the Brahmas chasing in the zone, Matt Koch pulled the puck from behind the cage to Ben Kucera in the slot. Kucera sent a back hand pass to Evan Okeley just outside the paint for a shot that just got through TJ Black and rolled slowly across the line.
Just as a brief 19 second Brahmas power play expired, Thomas Aldworth feathered the puck from the near point to the far side. Ben Owen walked it down the wall and fed Uchyn who had set up shop in between the hash marks for a wrister over Munroe’s right pad. The goal came exactly three minutes after Okeley had pulled Wichita Falls within a goal. At 12:30 the teams lined up for a face off to Munroe’s right with Uchyn and Kyle Bauman at the dot. When the puck dropped it went through Bauman’s legs and Uchyn reached around him to back hand it to Vidmar between the circles for a slapper past Munroe before he could react.
With just under three minutes to go in the period, Sam Piazza controlled the puck at the far point before finding Kucera cruising through the near side circle. Kucera sent the puck on net with Black making the kick save only to have the puck jump onto the tape of Tyler Ledford and he put it into the open net. The teams went into the second intermission with the Brahmas holding a two goal lead.
Jake Townsend scored on the power play at just under nine minutes to go in regulation with a slapshot from the blueline to make things interesting. Assists were credited to Will Vosejpka and Nick Farmer. However, that was as close as the Wildcats would get.
TJ Black made an astounding 52 saves in the contest for the win while Roman Uchyn pitched in with 2G – 2A for a four point night. David Zevnik lasted only 9:32 giving up 2 goals on just 5 shots before giving way to Chase Munroe who made 18 saves in 20 shots faced. Both squads were 1 – 4 on the power play.
With the win, the Brahmas made locked down fifth place in the NAHL South Division. Corpus Christi can pull even with the Brahmas at 50 points by sweeping the Rio Grande Killer Bees, but the Brahmas would hold the tie breaker by virtue of 23 regulation wins. The best that the Icerays can do is 20 regulation wins. Lone Star’s late season surge carried them from last place in the division over the Odessa Jackalopes and Corpus Christi Icerays and saw them lay down a .594 winning percentage over the last two months of the season. The performance is a beacon of hope for all Brahmas fans entering the off season and the summer camps.
Elsewhere Around the NAHL South Division
There were no other games on the night involving South Division teams.
Current NAHL South Division Standing