The Texas Tornado opened the second half of their NAHL season against the visiting Corpus Christi Icerays at the Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco. The first period saw a lot of back and forth play but little else until Alex Temby was hit with a tripping penalty at 9:23 sending the Icerays to the powerplay. The Tornado penalty kill was up to the task denying Corpus Christi even a single shot with the man advantage. The Tornado fed off the strong penalty kill and began to take control of the game recording 11 of the last 12 shots in the period. Unfortunately the one Icerays’ shot put them on the board. At 17:38 ex-Tornado Andrew Parras sent the puck on goal from the near half wall and Hunter Leisner flashed out the pad to make the save. A.J. Jarosz pounced on the rebound and put it past Leisner for the one goal lead.
The Texas Tornado did not let the Icerays’ goal derail their momentum and scored just 0:07 seconds into the second period. On the opening faceoff Drew Mayer grabbed the puck and skated it down the gut before giving it up to Jason Eddy on the left wing for a wrister over Hayden Stewart’s right pad. Once the ice was broken the flood gates opened and the next 40 minutes was all Tornado. At 3:52 Alexey Soloviev went high to glove down a clearing attempt, he set the puck down at the far point and sent a slapshot on goal. Stewart made the initial save but left the rebound in the crease for Brandon Platt to pound it home. The league’s leading goal scorer got in the act at the 13:47 mark when Scott Conway controlled the puck in the defensive zone then found Brandon Hawkins in front of the penalty box. Hawkins went scampering into the zone, stick handled around John Roisumand drove the far post forcing Stewart to commit then went top shelf.
The league’s leading home powerplay finally got an opportunity courtesy of a Parras hooking penalty. It took the Tornado just over a minute to capitalize as Captain Jackson Leef fed the puck to Soloviev at the far point for a touch pass to Hawkins at the bottom of the left circle. Hawkins sent a sharp angle shot over Stewart’s left shoulder.When the third period started, the Tornado held a 24 – 12 shots on goal advantage. They were setting on their 4 – 1 lead and were outshot 14 – 6 in the period, yet were able to build on their lead. Midway through the period Justin Greenberg and Conway did the dirty work along the end board to win a puck battle. Greenberg sent it up the near wall. Mayer walked the puck off the wall around Roisum and went five hole. Time of the goal was 10:10. Hawkins hat trick at 12:20 closed out the scoring. The play started with Conway blocking a shot from the point then breaking for the offensive zone. Conway dropped the puck for Leef as he crossed the blueline and he hit Hawkins at the near dot for one of his quick release wristers stick side. The goal was Hawkins’ eleventh against the Icerays in seven games this season.
Texas outshot Corpus Christi 30 – 26 on the night and converted 1 – 3 powerplays while killing off the Icerays’ only opportunity. Head Coach Tony Curtale was pleased with the effort following the two week layoff. “From the middle of the first period on, five on five we were really good offensively” he said, “and we are improving defensively.”
Elsewhere around the division, Amarillo was at home against Odessa and downed the Jackalopes 5 – 1. Topeka played host to the Springfield Jr Blues and came up on the short end of a 2 -1 score. As a result the Amarillo Bulls remain in first place in the division four points ahead of the Tornado in second and eight ahead of Topeka.