The Lone Star Brahmas were looking to get back into the win column against the Topeka Road Runners on Saturday as they closed out their NAHL South weekend series. Friday night saw the Brahmas drop the contest by a 5 – 2 score, but the game was closer than the eventual margin of victory. The action was tight throughout the game with a lot of physical play along the boards. Most of the opportunities in the first period belonged to Topeka as they outshot the Brahmas 9 – 2. However the Road Runners could not find the back of the net, and they went into the first intermission in a scoreless tie.
At 4:08 of the second Brahmas Alternate Captain, Matt Lison, broke the ice as he scampered down the right wing from his own blue line and lifted it over PJ Bridges’ left pad for an unassisted goal. Lison’s tally was the only scoring in the period.
Early in the third, Topeka finally cashed in on one of their six power play opportunities. At 2:57, just 22 seconds after the Brahmas had killed off the front end of a 5 on 3, Topeka struck. The puck pinballed around the crease and Tyler Poulsen was able to get a stick on it and put it over a sprawled Jacob Nehama to knot the score at one. The rest of the period saw a lot of back and forth play with Lone Star having the best opportunity. Sebastian Vidmar had a clear shot at an open net, but a bouncing puck hopped over his stick so he did not get all of it and Bridges was somehow able to reach back and keep the puck from crossing the line.
Overtime had the ice tilting Lone Star’s way and they spent much of the five minutes in the Topeka zone, but could not get the score they needed sending the game to a shootout.
Jasen Fernsler scored as the second shooter for Topeka. He took the puck down left side and wristed it over Nehama’s glove for the one goal lead.
Alexey Solovyev was second up for the Brahmas and he swung wide right, cut across the goal mouth getting Bridges to bite on the back hand and then slid if behind left skate with one hand. Bridges is the second goalie that Solovyev has totally undressed with this move and is two for two in shootout attempts.
After the second round the goalies took over stoning the shooters in the next three rounds. Nehama stood tall and turned aside Clint Garris in the sixth round setting the stage for a big Brahmas win.
Gordie Helmuth who has yet to record a goal this season was called on to play the hero. Helmuth cruised in from the right side and went against the grain, putting it over right skate of Bridges and sending the Brahmas piling off the bench in celebration.
Nehama stopped 24 of 25 shots faced through over time and then denied 5 of 6 in the shootout to pick up the win. The Brahmas managed 20 shots on goal against the stingy Topeka defense. The Road Runners were 1 – 6 on the power play while the Brahmas were 0 – 3. While it was good to get the win, the Brahmas still have a lot of work to do with the power play unit. They have not scored since a 4 – 3 loss to Odessa on October 26, a span of six games. Over that stretch the Brahmas are 0 – 31 with the man advantage.
Elsewhere around the NAHL South
The Amarillo Bulls got a pair of goals from Tyler Gernhoffer on his way to a four point night and defeated the Rio Grande Killer Bees 5 – 3. Paul Berrafato made 25 saves to pick up the win.
In Odessa the Jackalopes completed the sweep of the visiting Corpus Christi Icerays in a game that got ugly late. A total of 51 penalty minutes were handed out after the final horn sounded. Eight players in all were involved in the dust up and the Icerays Grant Hutton was hit with a Leaving the Bench Misconduct. Prior to the fisticuffs, Odessa got goals from Tate Sykes and Robb Stautz to come back from a one goal deficit for the win. Eric Hancock made 29 saves for the win while Ben Meyers stopped 33 in the tough luck loss.
Wichita Falls almost let one slip away in Kenai River. The Wildcats took the lead at 11:18 of the first and held it until only 1:10 to go in the contest. That is when the Brown Bears Nathan Colwell struck on the power play to ultimately send the game to a shoot out. Tyler Ledford was the only shooter to score in the shootout to give the Wildcats the win. Chase Munroe turned aside 38 of the 39 shots he saw through overtime and all five of the shooters in the shootout for the win.
Current NAHL South Standings