Rio Grand broke on top at 2:40 of the second when Anthony Croston took a pass from Ben Greiner and carried it across the blueline. Croston went into the high slot, used the defenseman as a screen and sent a wrister over Sean Keating’s shoulder.
AJ Duggan helped Matt Lison pull the Brahmas even at 4:06. Duggan stood Luke Bafia up at center ice taking the puck off his stick. Lison headed into the right-wing circle and drove the puck past Olli Kalkaja’s glove hand.
The Killer Bees went back up as Evan Schmidbauer skated down the near side and deep into the zone like he was going to circle the net. Just as he started behind the net he sent it off Keating’s backside and into the net. JB Baker picked up the assist at the 11:18 mark.
Schmidbauer got things started again at 2:07 of the third sending a pass from behind the net to Baker at the far faceoff dot for a one timer into the back of the net. Will Clark picked up the secondary assist. Rio Grande had a great chance to build on their lead with a three on one break into the zone. Keating flashed out the left pad to keep the Brahmas close.
Keating’s effort shined even brighter when Paul Fregeau sent the puck to the other. Jan Hudecek pulled the puck out of a puck battle in the near corner and spotted Liam Stirtzinger coming off the bench. Stirtzinger accepted the pass in the slot and fired it past the Rio netminder at 14:56.
Unfortunately, the Killer Bees answered in a matter of just 19 seconds. A turn over at center ice sprung the Bees on a two on one rush against Donovan Gardiner. Aleksi Luhtalampi made a nice pass across the goal mouth to Nathan Flynn and he put it top shelf before Keating could go post to post.
Both teams were 0 – 2 on the power play. Rio Grande outshot the Brahmas by a good margin but the Boxscore was way off actual numbers.
Elsewhere around the NAHL South Division
Amarillo extended Topeka’s skid scoring three third period goals for a 4 – 0 shutout. The game turned rather chippy in the second. After only a single minor in the first, Topeka was whistled for 51 minutes on 16 infractions and Amarillo had 49 minutes on 15 infractions. Collin Delia stopped all 24 shots he faced for the win.
Wichita Falls doubled up Odessa on the strength of three second period goals. The Wildcats got the win despite going 0 – 7 on the power play. Will Vosejpka scored two goals to lead the offense.
Corpus Christi continued their swing through Alaska with their first of two against KenaiRiver after splitting with Fairbanks last week. The game went through 65 minutes in a scoreless time and had to be decided in a shootout. The Brown Bears’ Sebastian Fuchs finally got one past Ben Myers in the third round of the shootout to give Kenai River the win. Both Myers and Zach Quinn stopped all 22 shots faced in regulation and overtime.