After playing 40 straight games to start the season without going to a shootout, the Lone Star Brahmas have gone to a shootout in three of their last four games entering Friday’s contest, losing all three. While coming away with one point is better than a goose egg, the Brahmas really need to maximize their point total if they want to chase down Topeka and remain ahead of Wichita Falls.
With the Killer Bees on the power play, Anthony Croston battled with Quinn Carroll to come away with the puck in the far circle and sent it to Jack Weiss in the high slot for a wrister through traffic that was tipped behind Jake Kupsky by Dallas Gerads at 9:15. Rio Grande tallied another power play goal with 3:21 to go in the first when Logan Wendling gather in the puck along the near wall and fed it to Gavin Cummings in the high slot. Cummings found Cam Bleck at the far hash mark and he fired it over Kupsky’s left shoulder.
The Brahmas got on the board at 18:04 off a hustle play by Ludvig Larsson to jar the puck loose from Evan Bell behind the cage of Ben Johansson. Sebastian Vidmar picked up the loose puck and gave it back to Larsson who skated it out the near side then sent it through the crease to Oskar Andren just off the far post. Andren roofed it before Johansson could get back across.
At the midway point of the second period the Killer Bees went back on the power play and only three big saves by Kupsky kept the Brahmas from going down two. Then with just 1:43 to go in the period, Hayden Hanson hit Andren with a breakout pass and he gave it to Larsson flying down the far boards. Andren went to the front of the net occupying two defenders while Larsson crossed to the near hash mark and ripped it past Johansson glove side.
The teams skated to a scoreless third sending the game to an extra period where neither could find the back of the net. For the second night in a row, the game went to a shootout.
Liam Stirtzinger came over the boards as the second shooter for the Brahmas. He skated it down the middle, did his patented wave of the stick over the puck then put it five hole on Johansson to give Lone Star the lead.
Cam Bleck tied it up in the bottom of the third round as he went backhand, forehand to sneak it past Kupsky’s right skate.
Anton Santesson was not going to let the Killer Bees gather any momentum from the Bleck goal skating wide right, faking the forehand to get Johansson to drop then lifted the backhand into the top corner.
Parker Wood knotted it up again moving to the left cutting back across and juked Kupsky a couple of times then put the backhander over the glove hand.
Anthony Croston grabbed the game winner in the bottom of the seventh round putting a wrister inside the left post.
Officially, Rio Grande outshot the Brahmas 29 – 15 during the contest and the Brahmas normally rock solid special teams came up a bit short on the night. The power play went 0 – 4 while the penalty kill allowed 2 goals on 7 kills. The Brahmas are now 1 – 0 – 4 in their last five games with all four of the losses coming via the shootout.
Elsewhere Around The NAHL South
Corpus Christi – Amarillo
After falling behind by two in the first, the Icerays’ Nic Laburn sandwiched two goals around a tally by Keenan Spillum to take a one goal lead into the third. Wes Michaud scored twice in the final period while Amarillo could manage only a single goal. Andrew Lindgren made 18 saves for the win.
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Odessa – Wichita Falls
Evan Okeley and Matt Koch put the Wildcats up two late in the opening period. However, Odessa scored three times in the middle frame with Okeley netting another to keep the game tied. In the third, Colin Staub and Nikita Litviak scored for Wichita Falls to offset a Jackalopes goals for the 5 – 4 final. Austin Shaw faced 34 shots for the victory.
Topeka – Wenatchee
Topeka scored once in each period with Mike Gornall accounting for the first and second period goals and Luke Maver scoring in the third period. Drew Vogler stopped 37 of 29 for the 3 – 2 win.
Current NAHL South Division Standings