The Texas Tornado and Wichita Falls Wildcats took to the ice at the Kay Yeager Coliseum with a couple of win streaks on the line. Coming into the game the Tornado had won eight in a row and the Wildcats had a five game home win streak going.
The first period saw the Wildcats defense stymie one of the most prolific offenses in the NAHL allowing the Texas Tornado only seven shots on goal. With neither team able to solve the opposing netminder, they went into the first intermission scoreless.
Wichita Falls defenseman Charles Hemstrom finally broke the scoreless drought at 4:42 of the second with Tyler Ledford getting the only assist. However, Texas knotted things up just past the mid-point of the period on a Jackson Leef goal from CJ Reuschlein and Nick Neville. With time winding down in the period, Patrick Yudez was hit with a hooking penalty just 20 seconds before the horn.
With a fresh sheet of ice and Yudez in the box to start the third, Neville Gave Texas their first lead. The powerplay goal came at just 24 seconds into the period with Reuschlein and Brandon Hawkins providing the assists. Wichita Falls may have been down, but they were not going away as Chris Knudson scored an unassisted goal at 11:38 to even things up. With just over 5 minutes left in the game, the Wildcat’s Matt Robinson was called for a kneeing minor putting the second best powerplay on the man advantage. It took the Tornado exactly 18 second to capitalize with Scott Conway setting up Nick Neville for his second goal and third point of the night which turned out to be the game winner.
The Tornado who were averaging nearly 35 shot on goal per game were outshot 31-22 by the Wildcats. The difference in the game was special teams with the Tornado converting 2 of 4 while they held the Wildcats scoreless on three opportunities. Neville’s three points gives him six (3G-3A) in his last three games. Hunter Leisner made 29 saves on 31 shots to earn his 27th win on the season.
Elsewhere around the division, the Topeka Roadrunners got a second period short handed goal from Sean Gaffney and Spencer Viele made it stand up to down the Amarillo Bulls. In Odessa, Lawrence Cornellier put up 4 points on 2G-2A and the Jackalopes held on to defeat the Corpus Christi Icerays despite two Beau Walker goals in the later half of the third period.
By virtue of the Topeka win over Amarillo and Texas’ victory in Wichita Falls the Tornado have clawed their way back to the top of the South Division one point ahead of the Bulls. Topeka remains in third seven points behind Amarillo and Corpus Christi holds the fourth and final playoff spot six points ahead of the Wildcats.