NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX — The Brahmas kick off their season-long seven-game homestand this weekend with three games against the Amarillo Bulls.
The Bulls haven’t been to Brahmaland since the beginning of the season. In fact, the two teams haven’t faced off since mid-October, when the Brahmas visited Amarillo Civic Center and swept the Bulls in a three-game set by the scores of 4-2, 3-2, and 3-2.
They’ll be looking to replicate those results and start this homestand off on the right foot.
With their playoff spot secured, the Brahmas now have their sights set on home ice advantage through the postseason.
The last two weekends have yielded only four goals scored in regulation, and it’s a testament to the Brahmas’ team defense and goaltenders that Lone Star pulled out two wins in four games.
Both of those wins came in overtime, with goals from Blake Evennou and Troy York, improving the Brahmas’ post-regulation record to 10-1, a NAHL-best.
For all of their overtime domination, however, the Brahmas would probably like to wrap things up in sixty minutes this weekend. Three games in three days is an unforgiving schedule. On top of that, it’s been a particularly busy stretch for the seven players who went to Plymouth, Michigan for the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament.
After this weekend, some will have played a stretch of seven games in ten days, while the others will have played up to five games in seven days.
However, following several weeks battling a slew of injuries, the Brahmas are finally making their way back to full health. That will give Head Coach Dan Wildfong some options in terms of lineup flexibility and allow him to rest players if needed.
In addition, the return of several key players should give the Brahmas’ offense a much-needed boost.
Amarillo is currently in sixth place in the NAHL South, and while they’re not mathematically eliminated from the postseason yet, it’s looking very unlikely that the Bulls will make an appearance in the Robertson Cup Playoffs.
That being said, this isn’t a team to take lightly. Bulls goaltender Nikita Babintsev has been good all season and is coming off of two very impressive appearances for Team South in the Top Prospects Tournament.
Babintsev played just under 50 minutes in Michigan and allowed one goal on 27 shots for a .963 save percentage. A number of those saves came on high danger shots, and Babintsev looked very sharp.
The Bulls lineup also features the NAHL’s leading scorer George Mika, who has posted 51 points (24 goals, 26 assists) in 45 games. Mika is by far the Bulls’ most productive skater, and the Brahmas will no doubt be keeping a close on eye on him through these three games.
Friday night will feature a mini-stick giveaway sponsored by Life Storage, and players’ immediate and billet families will be honored on Sunday.
All three games will be streamed online at Hockey TV. Puck drop for Friday and Saturday will be 7:30 PM, and Sunday will be a matinee for the game start scheduled for 4:00 PM.