NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX — Much like their first visit to Topeka this month, this trip to the Kansas ExpoCentre yielded two wins and four points for the still-streaking Brahmas. With the road sweep to close out the month, Lone Star completed a perfect January, going 9-0-0 and becoming the first team in franchise history to go undefeated over an entire month.
The two games in Topeka came over a span of less than 24 hours, with Saturday’s puck drop at 7:05 PM and Sunday’s at 2:05 PM in a rare afternoon match.
Saturday night’s game featured the first time since the January 16th game against Shreveport that the Brahmas win streak seemed to be in jeopardy. Going into the third period, Lone Star faced a 3-1 deficit and were being outshot 19-17 by the RoadRunners.
They flipped the script in the final twenty minutes, keeping up relentless offensive pressure and allowing only three shots by Topeka in the period.
Forward Julian Biondo got the comeback started with a dirty goal in the crease, as he planted himself in front of the goalmouth and shoveled the puck into the net to cut the Brahmas deficit in half.
The equalizer didn’t come until the last seconds of regulation with Brahmas goaltender Alec Calvaruso pulled and six skaters on the ice. After a strong play by defenseman Blake Evennou to prevent an empty net goal, a Drake Glover shot found its way to the net. Troy York pounced on the rebound, which was denied, but Austin Kamer was positioned perfectly by the crease to bury the puck and tie the game with 22 seconds left on the clock.
The Brahmas have been extremely effective in 3-on-3 overtime this year, and Saturday night was no different. Justin Addamo drove to the net and scored just 34 seconds into overtime to complete the Brahmas’ comeback for a 4-3 win and extend the win streak to 11 games.
Sunday’s game featured a comeback as well, but it was far less dramatic. The Brahmas went down by a goal five minutes into the game and couldn’t get their offense going in the first twenty.
However, the second period was an entirely different story. Hunter Stanley scored twice in the span of twenty seconds to erase the deficit and put the Brahmas ahead, and they never looked back.
Anton Rubtsov’s first NAHL goal served as insurance for the Brahmas and showcased exactly how dangerous he is offensively, as he intercepted a Topeka pass and beat RoadRunners goaltender Ryan Snowden without much fuss. The Rubtsov goal came with under a minute left in the second period and was the last goal scored in the game as the Brahmas went on to win 3-1.
The offensive showing in the second period was impressive, but the story of Sunday afternoon may have been the Brahmas’ shutdown defense. Lone Star allowed just 13 shots on goal in 60 minutes — 4 shots in the first, 5 in the second, and 4 in the third. Goaltender Max Prawdzik spent plenty of time idle between shots, but came up big for the Brahmas when needed.
The Brahmas’ streak rolled to 12 straight wins after this weekend. It’s the longest win streak in the NAHL during the 2016-17 season — the next longest streak (9 games between November 25th and January 6th) belongs to the Johnstown Tomahawks.
Lone Star will start their February on the road with a trip to Wichita Falls for a weekend set before a four-game homestand against Shreveport and Odessa.