After a blown call contributed mightily to the Lone Star Brahmas overtime loss on Friday, they entered Saturday night looking to rebound with a depleted roster. With Sebastian Vidmar (the league’s number two scorer), and two top defensemen in Alexey Solovyev and Bud Madej unavailable for the entire series the Brahmas could ill afford to see anyone else go down. However, that is exactly what happened with Caleb Thompson taking a puck off the knee on Friday and unable to go in game two. To replace Thompson, Brandon Estes from the Dallas Stars Midget Major team stepped up to give Coach Wildfong a full complement of six blueliners.
Things started poorly for the Brahmas with Amarillo controlling play through much of the first period. The Bulls drew first blood with the teams skating four on four at 14:19. Kasper Emanuelsson put the puck behind the net and Riley Christensen put it out front to Joe Leonidas at the far point for a wrister. Christensen had gone to the front and had a screen in front of Jake Kupsky that prevented the Brahmas netminder making a play on the shot. The Brahmas only real offense and their best scoring chance of the first period came on the power play late. Eric Carreras fired a shot on net from the right wing circle that Anton Martinsson blockered aside right onto the tape of Oskar Andren. Andren put it back on net but Martinsson made a diving glove save to rob the Brahmas’ forward and protect the Bull’s one goal lead.
Lone Star pulled even with a turn over gobbled up by Carreras at the blueline. He fed it over to Hunter Stanley on the near wing. Stanley carried it into the circle, faked a shot getting Martinsson to go into the butterfly then slid the puck around him and past the right skate at 13:45.
Charlie Combs stole the puck in neutral ice with about three minutes left in the period. Ben Jentsch fed it to Trent Dillinger who had made a break toward the offensive zone behind the defense. Dillinger drove deep into the zone and fired it past Kupsky glove side.
Kupsky did his best to keep the Brahmas in the game making several big stops down the stretch, none bigger than a glove save on Dillinger with the Bulls in on a three on one rush with 5:36 gone in the third. Once again the Brahmas got the score evened up mid-way through the final stanza with a power play goal. AJ Vanderbeck dug the puck out of a scrum in the far corner and slid it to Anton Santesson at the point. Santesson skated it along the blueline to the near side and fired a shot off of Martinsson’s pillows. The puck went right to Ludvig Larsson off the right post and he buried it before Martinsson could recover. Time of the goal was 11:34.
Unfortunately for the Brahmas, history repeated itself and just as they had after the Stanley goal the Bulls came right back to retake the lead. The Bulls were the beneficiaries of a funny bounce off the end boards behind Kupsky and Luke Novak put it out front to a streaking Cody Cylling less than a minute after the Larsson goal. The Brahmas had a lot of pressure late with the extra attacker but could never get the equalizer.
Amarillo outshot the Brahmas 35 – 23 on the night and Lone Star had the only power play goal going 1 – 3 while the Bulls were 0 – 5.
Elsewhere Around The NAHL South Division
Rio Grande – Odessa
Corey Hoffman got Odessa on the board in the first, but the Killer Bees tied it up to send the game into the first intermission knotted at one. The Jackalopes scored three times on goals from Hampus Sjodahl, Derek Brown and Christian Hausinger to take the victory. Tanner Creel was in net for Odessa and made 43 saves for the win.
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Wichita Falls – Wenatchee
The Wildcats carried a two goal lead into the third on tallies from Mason Corliss and Austin Beaulieu. Wenatchee tried to make a game of it pulling within one before Colin Staub put it away with an empty netter with nine seconds remaining. Austin Shaw made 26 saves to register the win.
Current NAHL South Division Standings