The Lone Star Brahmas played the final NAHL preseason contest on Saturday afternoon against the visiting Odessa Jackalopes. Mattias Soderqvist got the start in net for the Brahmas with veterans Anthony Mousseau and Donovan Gardiner in front of him. RJ Salvato and Will White joined veteran Leo Lumm up front.
In a reversal of the first period last night, the Brahmas were the ones to control things early, at least on the scoreboard. Defenseman Johan Steen got things started just 1:24 into the contest when he skated the puck from center into the right circle and sent a laser just under the crossbar for the early lead. Alex Dagnal and Matt Lison had the assists on the play. The Brahmas increased their lead to two, when White made a sweet play as he went to one knee to corral a loose puck and sent it over Eric Hancock’s right pad from just below the far circle. The final goal of the period was the result of some strong play in the corner by Steen to jar a puck from a crowd. Lison pulled it out front and blasted it past the blocker off the far post and in. Alex Dagnal picked up the secondary assist on the play.
With just 12 seconds left in the first a collision behind Soderqvist’s cage resulted in Cody Slocum throwing a wild right at Nick Blaze that missed badly. Blaze responded with a right of his own that landed squarely dropping Slocum to the ice. Blaze picked up an additional minor for delay of game giving Odessa a powerplay to start the second.
While there was no scoring in the second, that does not mean there were no fireworks. Odessa defenseman Phillip Garza and Lone Star forward Connor Millard had been jawing for much of the first half of the period and it finally boiled over at 9:07. Off a faceoff in the Jackalopes zone, they shed the gloves for a short but spirited bout that will go down as a draw.
Friday night’s starter Sean Keating took over in net for Solderqvist midway through the period and had to face an Odessa powerplay right off the bat. Keating was active on the powerplay clearing Odessa forwards from his crease on multiple occasions.
Odessa finally got on the board with a powerplay goal at 4:26 of the third with a tic-tack-toe passing play out of the far corner to a wide open Matt Beranek right in front. Chad Guderian and Drew Gannon picked up the assists. At 11:08 Odessa pulled within one on a great individual effort by Jake Kreutzer as he got past Nick Blase and went in all alone on Keating putting it over his left shoulder. The Kreutzer goal sparked the Jackalopes offense and just over a minute later they knotted it up on the powerplay resulting from a Liam Stirtzinger checking from behind double minor. Gannon accepted a centering pass from Razmuz Waxin-Engback and fired it off the far post. The puck sat in the crease behind Keating for Connor Thie to poke into the back of the net. The Odessa comeback was completed just as the second minor to Stirtzinger expired. Derek Brown used the defense as a screen and sent the puck off Keating’s right shoulder and in at the 14:35 mark. Beranek and Andrew McLean recorded the assists.
With four unanswered goals, three of which came within a span of 3:27, the Brahmas were unable to rebound. Even with a late penalty to Odessa and Keating on the bench for the extra attacker the Jackalopes dodged a bullet to steal the win.
The NAHL regular season will kickoff for the Brahmas next weekend as the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees make their way to NyTex Sports Centre. Tickets for both games are available at the box office on game night or through the Lone Star Brahmas Sales Office at 817-336-4423.