After falling to the Killer Bees 2 – 0 on Friday night, the Brahmas came into Saturday night looking to even things up. Prior to the National Anthem the Brahmas observed a moment of silence in memory of Clare Blase, younger sister of Brahmas’ Defenseman Nick Blase. Clare lost her battle with cancer one year ago today. The Brahmas also wore commemorative stickers on the back of their helmets to honor Clare. In addition to the tribute to Clare the Brahmas also observed a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the Sandy Hook School shooting which also occurred one year ago today.
Once the puck dropped, Lone Star got on the board first on a power play goal with just 1:32 to go in the first. Austin Thielges sent a shot on goal from the far point that Nick Schmit put behind the net. Sebastian Vidmar picked it up and wrapped it around the near post for the goal. Jan Hudecek picked up the secondary assist on the goal.
At 16:27 of the second following an icing call, Anthony Croston won the draw back to Marcus Ericsson at the far point for a onetimer off a defenseman’s stick and over Jett Salinas’ left shoulder. It took the Brahmas only 28 seconds to answer the Rio Grande goal when Ben Owen sent a slapshot through a mass of humanity and behind Schmit. Michael Crowley and Matt Lison got the assists. A Brahmas’ turnover deep with just 12 seconds to go led to the Killer Bees’ Tyler Bruneteau open at the bottom of the right wing circle beating Salinas five hole from Ben Greiner and Aleksi Luhtalamp
Rio Grande scored at 12:07 of the third off a goal that should never have been allowed. The puck was batted in with an obvious high stick by Jared Dedenbach, but Referee Cory Denback absolutely blew the call. Time of the goal was 12:07. Rather than fold because of the call the Brahmas stood tall and went to work knotting the game up once again. Lone Star went on a power play late giving them a chance to pull even. Once they got set up in the zone the Brahmas had good puck movement going and Thielges slid the puck across to Alexey Solovyev at the far point for a one timer. Schmit made the initial save, but Lison was there to clean up the rebound for the score that would send the game to overtime.
Since neither team was able to find the back of the net in the extra period the game went to a shoot out.
In the second round Solovyev used his forehand – backhand – forehand move to put the puck past Schmit giving the Brahmas what appeared to be a one goal lead in the shootout. However Denback struck again and for some reason waived the goal off. The no goal put the pressure back on Salinas who was up to the task blanking the Bees in all five rounds.
Liam Stirtzinger stepped to the center dot in the fourth round, he swung wide right brought the puck back toward the middle and drove it over Schmit’s right pad for the game winner.
The Brahmas were 2 – 5 on the power play while holding Rio Grande to a single power play tally on two opportunities. The Killer Bees did out shoot the Brahmas but only by a 22 – 20 margin. With the win, the Brahmas have pulled even with the idle Odessa Jackalopes in the standings. However, Lone Star has three games in hand over the Jackalopes and will be facing them in Odessa coming out of the Christmas break.
Elsewhere Around The NAHL South
Wichita Falls used three second period goals from Josh Haverstrom (Tyler Ledford), Sam Piazza (Ledford) and Kyle Bauman (Haverstrom, Rudy Junda) for a 3 – 1 win and the sweep of the Corpus Christi Icerays. The Icerays lone goal came off the stick of Grant Hutton (Nick Monfils). David Zevnik made 24 saves for the win. The win gives the Wildcats a four game winning streak.
Peter Halash (Jake Kamrass, Tyler Poulsen) scored just 0:53 into the game to give Topeka the early lead over Amarillo. Roman Ammirato (Mike Davis) pulled the Bulls even with less than four minutes to go in the first. Kamrass (Jared Tafoya, Tomas Nechala) broke through at the 9:24 mark of the second on a shorthanded goal to give the Road Runners the 2 – 1 win. PJ Bridges faced 27 shots turning aside 26 for the win. With the sweep, the Amarillo Bulls who once looked almost invincible have hit a five game skid, the longest in franchise history. The Christmas break could not come soon enough for Head Coach Dennis Williams and the entire Bulls roster.
Current NAHL South Standings