The Lone Star Brahmas were locked in a battle with the Corpus Christi Icerays on Friday night in the first game of their weekend series. Unfortunately, the Icerays had a bit of help on this night in tripping up the Brahmas.
Lone Star had a golden opportunity at about the 6:30 mark in the first when Conner Enciso set up in the high slot. A centering pass was sent his way, but before he could get off a shot Lucas McDiarmid hacked the stick out of Enciso’s hand with a two hand slash. For some reason Referee Andrew Collins kept the whistle in his pocket and Corpus Christi took the puck the other way while Enciso retrieved his lumber. As the play moved up the ice, Cole Rose and Jake McNamara dropped the gloves behind the play. McNamara landed a right sending Rose to a knee, but he bounced right back to his feet and started throwing rights of his own. Rose landed two upper cuts then an over hand right before McNamara could tie him up. McNamara got Rose in a head lock so Rose went to the body with a right and McNamara drug him down to the ice.
With 7:45 to go in the period the Icerays were whistled for icing and as the teams lined up for the faceoff, an off ice official signaled to the referee that there was a loose pain of glass behind the Corpus Christi net. The resulting delay negated the Lone Star advantage on the icing call, giving the Icerays several minutes to recover.
At 17:29 strong play in the near corner by Liam Stirtzinger and Matt Lison got the Brahmas on the board. Stirtzinger and Lison battled McNamara, McDiarmid and Kyle Froese for several seconds before Stirtzinger finally controlled the puck. Stirtzinger fed it to Lison who drove the front of the net, deked Ben Myers and put it past the sprawled netminder for the only goal of the period.
With 6:00 gone in the second, the Icerays had a 3 on 2 odd man rush with Connor Kelly speeding down the far wing. Kelley fired a shot off of TJ Black seeing his first action with the Brahmas. Johan Steen tied up one of the trailers leaving Black to face Tony Roisum alone. Black made a big pad save from point blank to preserve the one goal lead. Corpus Christi would finally knot the score at 7:50 when Lucas Bennett picked off a weak clearing attempt on the right wing and sent a pass to Jake Durflinger just outside the paint for a shot five hole on Black who had absolutely no chance on the goal.
The Icerays took their first lead of the game in the third when Black played the puck into the near corner and Durflinger sent it immediately out front to Maurin Bouvet who had position on Donovan Gardiner as he crashed the far post. Time of the goal was 4:54. At 10:57 Corpus Christi scored again on a mad scramble in front off a rebound from McDiarmid. Nick Felan and Bennett both had swipes at it with Bennett getting credit for the goal as the puck trickled over the goal line, but never reached the back of the net.
The Brahmas would have a chance late on the power play courtesy of a Brad LeLievre charging major. With Lone Star on an 0 – 32 run on the power play the five minute major penalty could have been just the thing to get them back into the game and to build some momentum. However, Referee Andrew Collins showed a total lack of hustle and made what has to be one of the worst calls in recent NAHL history. Roughly two minutes into the power play, Jan Hudecek picked up the puck behind the Brahmas net from his defenseman. Hudecek blew past Collins at the Lone Star blue line and went barreling down the middle of the ice. Hudecek walked around Martin Hojbjerg and Grant Hutton on a great personal effort before putting it five hole on Myers. Hutton went into the net trying to recover and knocked it off its pegs as Collins leisurely cruised behind the dislodged net about three seconds after Hudecek had deposited the puck.
The Icerays Radio voice Rob Lippolis was incredulous how Collins could have missed the call. “That puck is in,” stated Lippolis. “Neither the Referee not Linesman was back there to see it’ but that puck is in.” Lippolis continued with “I clearly saw that puck go in.” Yet the goal was disallowed by Collins and the Brahmas went from being down a goal with three minutes left on the power play and momentum on their side, to a deflated team wondering what they had to do to get a break. While the Brahmas will undoubtedly get some calls to go their way this season, none will be as egregious as that of Andrew Collins.
Corpus Christi outshot the Brahmas 28 – 23 in the game and Lone Star’s power play struggled once again going 0 – 2 with the man advantage.
Elsewhere around the NAHL South
Rio Grande went into Amarillo and used a second period goal by Ben Greiner from Carter Lukenda on top of a 25 save performance by Nick Schmit to shutout the Bulls 1 – 0.
In the second game of their three game set, the Topeka Road Runners waxed the visiting Odessa Jackalopes 7 – 0. Sly Sutter, Tyler Poulsen and Jasen Fernsler each had 1G – 2A to lead Topeka’s offense. PJ Bridges stopped all 15 shots he faced to log the shutout.
Wichita Falls faced off against the Fairbanks Icedogs on the second leg of their swing through Alaska. Fairbanks got two goals in the first and never looked back beating the Wildcats 3 – 1.
Current NAHL South Standings