A Look Back At The Lone Star Brahmas’ 2014/15 Season


By nearly every measure, the 2014/15 NAHL season was a tremendous success for the Lone Star Brahmas. The team fought their way to the second best record during the regular season and came just one win short of hosting the Robertson Cup National Championships. This is a look back at the season from the NAHL Showcase in September through the Robertson Cup Playoffs.

September saw the Brahmas get off to somewhat of a slow start at the season opening Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota. After splitting their four games in Blaine, Lone Star made a one game road trip to Corpus Christi where they dropped a 2 – 1 decision to the Icerays giving them a 2 – 3 – 0 record for the month. Despite playing only five games in September, the three losses were the second most the Brahmas would suffer in a single month the entire season. Cody Wickline and Caleb Thompson both had 4 points on the month with Roman Uchyn and Sebastian Vidmar leading the way with 2 goals apiece.

Entering October the Brahmas found themselves at the bottom of the South Division standings looking up at seven teams ahead of them. They split their first series of the month on the road in Wichita Falls losing game one in overtime. They closed out their road trip with a resounding 5 – 1 win giving them a base to build from and build they did. Lone Star played on NYTEX Sports Centre ice for the first time on October 10th and swept Corpus Christi in a two game series before splitting the next week in Amarillo. Back at home the last weekend of the month the Brahmas started a home win streak that would run to 19 games which was the longest streak in the league. Vidmar had 11 goals and 16 points to set the pace for the offense which outscored their opponents 34 – 17. By the time the calendar rolled over to November Lone Star had jumped four spots in the standing 12 points behind Topeka and one point back of both Wichita Falls and Corpus Christi.

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Seven of the nine games in November were played at home with the Brahmas sweeping two game series against Topeka and Rio Grande Valley and a three game set against Amarillo. They went on the road for the final two games of the month and lost a couple of tight contests to the Roadrunners. In the month Lone Star once again doubled up their opponents outscoring them 30 – 15. TJ Black and Jake Kupsky combined for a miniscule 1.67 GAA. Vidmar again led the team with 11 points while Alexey Solovyev led in goals scored with 4. The Brahmas moved past Corpus Christi into the third spot in the division remaining one point behind Wichita Falls, but cutting five points off of Topeka’s lead.

Lone Star started off the month of December by sweeping Rio Grande Valley and Odessa at home before heading to the panhandle to face Amarillo. In the opening game of the series, Black had a 1 – 0 shutout going late in the third when Amarillo was awarded a goal with just 1:26 to go in the contest despite the net clearly being off it’s moorings. The Bulls went on to take the game in overtime and followed that up by sweeping the Brahmas with a 3 – 2 win on Saturday. Lone Star managed to rebound from their disappointing losses in Amarillo winning their last three games of the month. All three wins came on the road with a pair in Odessa and a single contest at Rio Grande Valley. Rookie AJ Vanderbeck found the twine 6 times during the month and Vidmar again led the team with 15 points. For the second month in a row the Brahmas’ netminders were below two goals allowed per game with a 1.89 GAA. The Brahmas managed to climb one spot in the standings to second place remaining 7 points behind Topeka.

January kicked off with four straight at home for the Brahmas. They dispatched the Odessa Jackalopes 5 – 0 and 5 – 2 before Wenatchee came to town for their only time during the regular season. After falling behind by three goals in the first, Lone Star’s home win streak looked to be in jeopardy. However, they fought back to take a 4 – 3 lead after two periods. The Wild tied it up again in the third setting up some late game heroics by Oskar Andren who scored the game winner and his fourth of the night with just 17 seconds left in regulation. The streak was preserved for one more game, but it ended the following night with a 3 – 2 overtime loss to Wenatchee. The Brahmas split a series in Topeka before returning home to take a single game from Amarillo then splitting with Wichita Falls to close out the month. Andren and countryman Ludvig Larsson each put up 6 goals during the month with Vidmar once again leading all scorers with 13 points. Lone Star picked up a single point on Topeka finishing the month 6 points back in the standings.

Despite February being a short month, the Brahmas played through their busiest part of the schedule. They started the month with seven straight on the road and nine games in a 17 day period. The travel took a toll especially with six of the seven games going to a shootout or overtime. They lost their first of the month in a shootout at Wichita Falls then immediately boarded the bus for the long trip to Corpus Christi. Lone Star dropped game one of the Icerays series again in a shootout before rebounding to take game two. The next three were played in Rio Grande Valley with the Killer Bees scoring 3 – 2 shootout wins in games one and two while the Brahmas prevailed 2 – 1 in overtime to salvage game three. Four days later the Brahmas faced the Wildcats in Wichita Falls winning 4 – 3 in a shootout. They returned home briefly for a split with Topeka then went to Odessa where they swept the Jackalopes with one game going to a shootout. Vidmar led all scorers again with 12 points while he and Andren had 4 goals each. Black had a 1.36 GAA and a .940 SV% and a shutout despite a 2 – 1 – 2 record for the month. With their busy schedule the Brahmas pulled to within 2 points of the Roadrunners in the division standings.

March saw Lone Star make a big push to take the top spot in the NAHL South by putting up a 0.783 win percentage on a 7 – 1 – 1 record for their best month of the season. After winning a pair of games at home against Corpus Christ they traveled to the Gulf Coast and lost a single game in overtime. They were on the road in Rio Grande Valley the following weekend to sweep the Killer Bees. With the season winding down, Lone Star made their first visit of the season to Wenatchee Washington and split with the Wild before returning home to sweep Wichita Falls. Their 15 points in the month allowed them to vault over Topeka into the top spot in the division and second best record in the league. Vidmar and Vanderbeck scored 6 goals apiece and Vidmar led the team in scoring with 11 points.

Round One of the playoffs saw the Brahmas facing the Wenatchee Wild. In game one Larsson scored in the second period to pull the Brahmas even and eventually send the game to overtime where Uchyn picked up the game winner. Game two was another 2 – 1 win for the Brahmas with Anton Santesson and Vidmar doing the damage offensively. With a two game lead in the best of five series, Lone Star went to Wenatchee and scored in all three periods to take a 3 – 1 win and advance to the Division Finals. Peter Kessel, Wickline and Vanderbeck scored for the Brahmas. Kupsky allowed three goals on 102 shots faced to claim all three wins.

The Division Finals started with Lone Star stumbling out of the gate losing a 5 – 1 decision to Topeka on home ice. Vidmar had the lone tally for the Brahmas with Kupsky taking the loss on 27 shots faced. In game two the Brahmas built a four goal lead with Wickline scoring twice to go along with single goals by Liam Stirtzinger and Uchyn only to see Topeka come roaring back. The Roadrunners scored four unanswered to send the game to overtime where Storm Wahlrab scored what may have been the biggest goal of the season for the Brahmas. Black got the win in net. With the series shifting to Topeka the Brahmas had to win two of the next three games. Larsson scored a late first period goal to pull Lone Star even going into the first intermission. Topeka retook the lead in the second, but Hunter Stanley once again knotted the score midway through the third and Uchyn got the game winner 15 seconds later. Game four was another 3 – 2 win for Lone Star this time coming in overtime. Uchyn and Chad Guderian had the goals for the Brahmas in regulation with Guderian’s coming shorthanded and then Sean Giles put the icing on the cake in overtime winning the game and sending Lone Star to Round One of the Robertson Cup against the Austin Bruins.

Austin came into the NYTEX Sports Centre and made a statement in game one of the best of three series, outplaying the Brahmas for much of the night. Larsson got the only goal for Lone Star in a 3 – 1 loss. The Brahmas turned the tables on the Bruins in game two with Uchyn scoring twice and Vidmar once to take a 3 – 1 win setting up the third and deciding game. Uchyn opened the scoring with the only tally of the first period to stake the Brahmas to an early lead. Austin had a pair of power play goals in the second sandwiched around a Larsson unassisted goal to go into the second intermission tied at two. After a scoreless third, Austin broke the hearts of the Lone Star faithful with a rebound goal at 7:09 of the overtime period ending the Brahmas season. As in the regular season it was Vidmar who led the team in scoring, but it was Uchyn who found his scoring touch at the right time with 7 goals in the 10 playoff games. Kupsky and Black finished the playoffs with a 7 – 3 record on a 2.30 GAA and a 0.918 SV%.