The Lone Star Brahmas will face the Wenatchee Wild at the NYTEX Sports Centre on Friday and Saturday. This will be the first meeting between these two franchises since the 2010/11 season when the Texas Tornado won three of four against the Wild.
This past week the Brahmas rang up three wins to move into a tie for second place in the NAHL South Division. On Monday night, Lone Star went into Rio Grande and defeated the Killer Bees 3 – 0 as TJ Black registered his first shutout of the season. The offense was provided by Alexey Solovyev with is second shorthanded goal of the season which was followed by empty net goals by Sebastian Vidmar and Pat Egan.Friday they were back on home ice against the Odessa Jackalopes for a dominating 5 – 0 win and Black’s second shutout in as many games. It was a big night for Ludvig Larsson with two power play goals. Roman Uchyn, Sean Giles and Eric Carrerasprovided the remainder of the scoring. The second period goal by Giles was his first of the season. Odessa held a 2 – 1 lead after the first 20 minutes on Saturday, but the defense clamped down and held them scoreless from there. Quinn Carroll had three points on the night with two goals and an assist to lead the offense. Peter Kessel,Caleb Thompson and Vidmar also found the back of the net. For the second game in a row a Brahmas’ defenseman scored his first of the season with Thompson’s second period tally. Liam Stirtzinger also had a productive evening with three assists.
Wenatchee was in Topeka for a three game set and gave the Roadrunners all they could handle. In game one on Thursday Brendan Harris and Jake Ahlgren scored second period goal to knot the score and force overtime. After a scoreless extra period, Topeka took the win in a shootout. Zach Quinn made 29 saves in regulation, but allowed all three shooters in the shootout to score to be saddled with the loss. Friday night the Wild rebounded to take a 4 – 2 win on the strength of two Ahlgren goals to go along with goals from Colin Burston and Troy Conzo. Quinn faced 23 shots to log the win. The series wrapped up Saturday night with Wenatchee trailing 2 – 0 going into the third period. Ryan Chiasson scored on the power play to pull them within one, but that is as close as they would get with Topeka scoring an empty netter for the final 3 – 1 score. Michael Bullion was in net for the Wild and took the loss allowing two goals on 27 shots.
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Special teams may play a big part in determining the outcome of the weekend series. Overall Lone Star is 4th (22.9%) in the league on the power play compared to Wenatchee at 21st (13.6%). On the penalty kill the Brahmas have been strong all season and currently rank 4th (87.3%) in the league. The Wild will come in setting at 17th(81.3%). The glaring difference between the two teams is seen in the number of time each has gone on the power play or penalty kill. Lone Star is very adept at drawing their opponents into committing penalties and have been on the power play 166 times which ranks 2nd in the league. Wenatchee on the other hand is the most disciplined team in the league having gone on the penalty kill only 107 times this season. When the tables are turned the numbers are relatively even. Lone Star has been on the penalty kill 149 times 16th most in the league. The Wild power play has been on the ice 140 times which ranks 12th.
At home, the Brahmas’ power play is at 24.5% with 24 goals in 98 opportunities which has them ranked 4th in the league. Wenatchee will counter with a road penalty kill ranked 19th at 79.6% allowing 11 goals on just 54 penalty kills.
Lone Star’s home penalty kill is ranked 3rd allowing only 10 goals on 85 kills or 88.2%%. They will be facing a Wenatchee road power play which is ranked 14th in the league scoring 15 times in 83 opportunities or 15.9%
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