The Lone Star Brahmas put their 21 game home ice point streak on the line against the visiting Wichita Falls Wildcats on Saturday night. The streak was extended on Friday when the Brahmas feel behind by two early in the first, but came roaring back for a 6 – 3 win. The win gave Lone Star a little breathing room over the Wildcats in the NAHLSouth Division playoff hunt.
Before many in the crowd of 2,515 could get in their seats, Tommy Apap took the puck away from Alexey Solovyev behind the Brahmas net after Solovyev and Johan Steenhad a miscommunication on an exchange of the puck. Apap fed it out front to Austin Beaulieu and his wrister was behind TJ Black just 15 seconds into the contest. With 5:49 gone in the period Paul Soubry drove Steen into the boards head first in the near corner with a check from behind. Rather than handing a boarding penalty to Soubry, referee Joshua Greco instead sent Solovyev to the box for roughing after he shoved Soubry for the dangerous hit on Steen. Despite giving up an uncharacteristic 17 shots in the period, Lone Star managed to escape with no further harm.
The second period saw the Brahmas establish pressure early, but Austin Shaw made two huge glove saves to keep Lone Star off the board. And then at 11:09 Wichita Falls struck again on a rush down the middle Beaulieu fed the puck to Collin Staub just inside the zone and he put a wrister through traffic five hole on Black. With 7:23 to go the Wildcats went up by three when Alex Falconer went into the zone with Alex Carledefending. Falconer used Carle as a screen and put it over Black’s right pad. A tip in front by Jake Townsend off a Max Reisinger wrister with 1:03 to go, got through traffic giving Wichita Falls a 4 – 0 lead going into the second intermission and chasing Black from the net.
The Brahmas avoided the shutout with a power play goal at 10:55 of the third. The play started with Storm Wahlrab delivering a jarring check on the endboards eliminating one of the Wildcats defenders. After the check, Wahlrab went to the front andSebastian Vidmar found him with a saucer pass that Wahlrab put over the right pad.Anton Santesson picked up the second assist. Lone Star scored again with a delayed penalty coming against Wichita Falls for tripping. Quinn Carroll rolled it to AJ Vanderbeck behind the net. Vanderbeck worked the puck out front and Roman Uchynput it five hole on the Wildcat netminder.
With 2:45 to go, the Brahmas called Jake Kupsky to the bench for the extra attacker. They skated that way for 23 seconds until once again Greco inserted himself into the game whistling the Brahmas for too many men. While Greco changed the call, his blown call stemmed the flow of momentum toward the Brahmas and halted their attack. The stoppage in play gave the Wildcats the opportunity to change their entire line and forced Lone Star to reinsert Kupsky with a faceoff coming at center ice. It took 22 seconds before Kupsky could race to the bench again denying the Brahmas valuable time with the extra attacker.
At the 18:50 mark Wahlrab bulled his way into the zone at the near point and gave it toOskar Andren at the near halfwall. Andren spotted Ludvig Larsson cruising through the high slot and slid it to him for the goal. While the box score credited Vidmar with the second assist, video clearly shows it was Wahlrab who should have received the point.
For the second night in a row, Wichita Falls pumped 35 shots on net while Lone Star managed 29. The Brahmas were 1 – 2 on the power play and held the Wildcats scoreless on two opportunities. The split sets up an important game for both clubs when they meet in Wichita Falls for a single game on Wednesday night. The loss was the Brahmas’ first in regulation on home ice this season.