This past weekend was a wakeup call for the Lone Star Brahmas as they lost their first in the playoffs then squandered a four goal lead only to come back and win it in overtime. They are now deadlocked at one game apiece with the Topeka Roadrunners in the best of five NAHL South Division Finals series with the series moving to the Kansas Capital. With the split at NYTEX Sports Centre, the Roadrunners now effectively have the home ice advantage with the next two games on Kansas Expo Center Ice.
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A split in the first two games should not come as a surprise, the two teams split the regular season meetings as well with both squads putting up a 2 – 2 – 0 record in the eight games. The home team won six of the eight head–to-head meetings.
Post Season Head-to-Head Results
04/24/15 Roadrunners 5 at Brahmas 1
04/25/15 Roadrunners 4 at Brahmas 5 OT
The Brahmas came into the NAHL South Division Finals against Topeka on a high note after sweeping the Wenatchee Wild. It looked as though they would continue to build on the playoff success putting tremendous pressure on Topeka in the first period of game one. Sebastian Vidmar gave Lone Star a one goal lead at 4:15 and only some rather unfortunate bounces kept them from building a three goal lead in the opening stanza. The Vidmar goal was the high point of the Brahmas’ night with Topeka storming back on five unanswered goals. Roadrunners Captain, Mike Gornall, pulled Topeka even just 27 seconds into the second period followed by a Tyler Irvine goal to take a 2 – 1 lead into the second intermission. Dominic Lutz added to the lead at 2:06 in the third followed by a Jasen Fernsler empty netter at 17:08 and a Gornall power play goal at 17:53 to close out the scoring.
Cody Wickline got the offense going in game two scoring an unassisted goal just 5:37 into the contest. Liam Stirtzinger chipped in a backhander with just over nine minutes to go sending the teams into the first intermission with the Brahmas holding a two goal lead. Roman Uchyn and Wickline found the twine just 41 seconds apart midway through the second and Lone Star looked to be cruising toward a win. However, with a four goal lead they appeared to go into a shell playing not to lose rather than stepping on the gas. That opened the door for Topeka to start clawing their way back into a contest that could have been a statement win for the home team. Gornall scored a power play goal at 17:25 of the second and added another just 25 seconds later. He completed his hat trick at 9:28 of the third to pull within one. With the Topeka net empty and an extra attacker on the ice, Carlos Fornaris snuck one in off an offensive zone faceoff an 19:39 to send the game to overtime. Just 3:53 into the extra period, Storm Wahlrab came off the bench and intercepted a Gornall breakout pass just inside the blueline. Wahlrab toe-dragged around Gornall and sent a backhander over Drew Vogler for the game winner.
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.
However, in the post season the Brahmas power play seems to have abandoned them. In 17 opportunities, they have scored only one power play goal for a scant 5.88%. Their one goal came during the first period of game two against Wenatchee. The penalty kill has slid a bit as well, but not nearly as far as the power play. The Brahmas have found themselves a man down 18 times allowing 3 goals or 83.33% Topeka on the other hand has kicked their power play into the next gear converting 29.17% on 7 goals in 24 opportunities. Their penalty kill is down compared to the regular season at 76.92% on 3 goals allowed in 13 penalty kills.
Post Season Goaltending Comparison
Who is Hot Post Season
|Brahmas (5 Games)|
Roadrunners (6 Games)
Inside the Game
Mike Gornall, Sly Sutter and Daniel Brickley with 7 points each are tied for 8th in post season scoring. Gornall with 5 goals is tied for second in goals scored.
Despite giving up the five goal outburst by Topeka in game one of the series, Jake Kupsky has the third best goals against numbers by goaltenders in the playoffs. He has a 1.58 GAA and a .944 SV% which is tied for the lead.
Lone Star and Topeka are 11th and 12th in average penalty minutes per game. The Brahmas are averaging 9.20 minutes per game on 23 minors while the Roadrunners average 9.00 minutes on 22 minors.
In the post season the Brahmas have lost the huge third period advantage they built in the regular season. In the regular season the Brahmas outscored their opponents 81 – 34 in the final period, during the playoffs they have seen their opponents outscore them 6 – 1.
Combined the teams have received 17 Post Season Awards.
Jake Kupsky: South Div All-Rookie Team
Sebastian Vidmar: All-South Div Team / South Div Forward of the Year / South Div MVP / All-NAHL Team / NAHL Forward of the Year / NAHL MVP
Dan Wildfong: South Div Coach of the Year / NAHL Coach of the Year
Lone Star Brahmas: South Division Organization of the Year
Tyler Irvine: South Div All-Rookie Team
Daniel Brickley: All-South Div Team
Matej Tomek: All-South Div Team / South Div Goaltender of the Year / All-NAHL Team / Vaughn Hockey Goaltender of the Year
Jack Kelly: South Div Academic Achievement Award,