With a first round sweep of the Wenatchee Wild, the Lone Star Brahmas have advanced to the NAHL South Division Finals against the Topeka Roadrunners. It is only fitting that these two teams are still standing as ended the regular season as the two top teams in the South Division. The Brahmas and Roadrunners met eight times during the 14/15 season with each team managing a 4 – 4 – 0 record. Lone Star outscored Topeka 23 – 16 in the eight contests.
NAHL South Division Finals Schedule
April 24 – Roadrunners at Brahmas – NYTEX Sports Centre
April 25 – Roadrunners at Brahmas – NYTEX Sports Centre
May 1 – Brahmas at Roadrunners – Kansas Expo Center
May 2 – Brahmas at Roadrunners – Kansas Expo Center (If Necessary)
May 4 – Roadrunners at Brahmas – NYTEX Sports Centre (If Necessary)
Regular Season Head-to-Head Results
11/07/14 Roadrunners 1 at Brahmas 5
11/08/14 Roadrunners 1 at Brahmas 3
11/28/14 Brahmas 2 at Roadrunners 4
11/29/14 Brahmas 1 at Roadrunners 2
01/16/15 Brahmas 2 at Roadrunners 3
01/17/15 Brahmas 3 at Roadrunners 1
02/20/15 Roadrunners 2 at Brahmas 1
02/21/15 Roadrunners 2 at Brahmas 6
Lone Star had their hands full against the Wenatchee Wild in round one, but the character built over the long season bubbled to the top. The script for the series was set in game one at NYTEX Sports Centre with the Wild’s team speed setting the tempo. As a result the Brahmas found themselves down a goal going into the second period. Ludvig Larsson pulled Lone Star even at the 14:29 mark and then the defense and goaltending took over. The game went nearly a full hour before Roman Uchyn sent the Brahmas’ faithful into an uproar putting a rebound into the back of the net at 6:05 of the second overtime. In game two, Anton Santesson scored a power play goal in the first followed by a Sebastian Vidmar tally late in the second for a two goal lead heading into the second intermission. Wenatchee scored a power play goal of their own early in the third for the final 2 – 1 score. Lone Star traveled to Wenatchee Washington for game three. Again, the Brahmas jumped out to a two goal lead on the strength of a Peter Kessel goal in the first and a Cody Wickline goal in the second. Wenatchee cut the deficit to a single goal at 7:20 of the period. AJ Vanderbeck potted an empty netter with 36 seconds to go for an insurance goal and a 3 – 1 win. Jake Kupsky was in net for all three games and turned aside 100 of the 103 shots he faced.
Topeka advanced to the Division Finals with a three games to one win in their best of five series against the Wichita Falls Wildcats. The Roadrunners took game one 6 – 2 with Sly Sutter scoring in the first and third periods. Dominic Lutz added a second period score while Yu Hikosaka, Daniel Rzavsky and Cam Strong all scored in the final 20 minutes. The Wildcats got a measure of revenge in game two spanking the Roadrunners by a score of 7 – 0. The series then moved to Wichita Falls for games three and four. Wichita Falls started game three where they left off game two, getting out to a 2 – 0 lead through the early portion of period two. Sutter scored at 7:31 to pull within one and then JB Baker knotted it up at 10:28. Daniel Brickley parlayed the momentum into an early third period power play goal that was the margin of victory. In the fourth and deciding game Topeka found themselves down three goals at 5:41 of the second. Sutter once again got the offense going scoring just past the mid-point of the second followed by a Carlos Fornaris score. Hikosaka, Brickley and Tyler Irvine scored in the third to complete the comeback and close out the series. Matej Tomek got the start in all four games and finished 3 – 1. Drew Vogler played just 13:49 of game two in relief of Tomek giving up two goals in the process.
Team Records In Post Season
Overall the Brahmas finished the regular season with the leagues’ 7th best power play unit at 19.6% and the 2nd best penalty kill at 88.0%. Topeka was 4th on the power play at 22.4% and 6th in the NAHL at 86.1% on the penalty kill.
When the two teams faced off against each other this season, Lone Star was only 5 – 43 on the power play or 11.6% with one shorthanded goal while Topeka’s power play was at 15.9% on 7 goals in 44 opportunities.
Head-to-Head Goaltending Comparison
Who is Hot Head-to-Head
Inside the Game
Lone Star finished the regular season with the second best record in the NAHL, Topeka finished in a three way tie for fourth. With the second best record the Brahmas earned home ice advantage throughout the playoffs. The only series in which they would not have home ice advantage would be in the Robertson Cup Finals, but only if they played the number one seed Janesville Jets.
The Brahmas rode a well-rounded roster to the playoffs. The defense and goaltending combined to post the 2nd best Goals Against Average in the NAHL at 2.17 GAA and the 6th best Save Percentage at .910 SV%. The offensive attack was fairly strong as well averaging 3.47 Goal Per Game good for 6th. Topeka also can boast of some good numbers. They finished 5th with a 2.33 GAA, 4th with a .913 SV% and 7th averaging 3.32 Goals Per Game.
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Head-to-Head this season the home team won six of the eight games played in the eight games played.
TJ Black had the better numbers in net against the Roadrunners during the regular season with a 1.52 GAA and .944 SV% compared to Jake Kupsky’s 2.28 GAA and .913 SV%. However, Kupsky has had the hot hand of late getting all three starts in the first round.
Sebastian Vidmar 35G – 45A won the league scoring title this season while Ludvig Larsson 21G – 34A finished tied for 16th. Jasen Fernsler 17G – 37A led Topeka and closed the season tied for 19th overall. Vidmar also led the league in goals scored and game winning goals with 11.
Sebastian Vidmar +37 and Caleb Thompson +25 were both in the top 20 in the league. No Roadrunners were listed among league leaders.
Of Ludvig Larsson’s 55 points, 29 came on the power play which ranked him 2nd in the NAHL.
Daniel Brickley 12G – 25A, Alexey Solovyev 10G – 24A and Ryan Polin 6G – 26A were among league leaders in defenseman scoring. Brickley finished tied for 6th, Solovyev tied for 10th and Polin tied for 16th.
Scoring could be at a premium in this series since all four goalies finished in the top 15 in goals against average. Matej Tomek 1.83 GAA was 2nd, TJ Black 1.99 GAA was 4th, Jake Kupsky 2.16 GAA was 6th and Drew Vogler 2.60 GAA was 15th.
Lone Star outscored Topeka in the first and third periods this season while the Roadrunners held the advantage in the second frame. The Brahmas goal differential by period was +4 / -4 / +7. The big third period advantage followed the Brahmas season long pattern where they outscored their opponents 81 – 34.