NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX — With 55 games played — the most in the NAHL — the Brahmas have just a handful of games left in the regular season. All five games remaining are against playoff teams, and the Brahmas kick off those final games against the Wichita Falls Wildcats this weekend.
While the Brahmas still hold a comfortable lead for first place in the NAHL South, Wichita Falls is in a tight race for second with the Shreveport Mudbugs and Corpus Christi IceRays. All three teams are separated by a two point spread with nine games left.
Although their playoff berth is locked up, Lone Star could potentially clinch first place in the South as soon as Friday night with a win. In addition, this series will have a hand in determining the Brahmas’ first round playoff opponent, so it’s a big weekend for both teams.
The Brahmas lineup will have a slightly different look than fans are used to, due to the three suspensions incurred by Brahmas after last Saturday’s game against Odessa. Other than the Stanley-Kelley-York line, each regular forward line is short one member, as Austin Kamer, Julian Biondo, and Frank Trazzera will all be missing time this weekend.
However, Anton Rubtsov is expected to make his return to the lineup after missing a few weekends with an upper body injury, and Brahmas tender Andy Willis will be making his Lone Star debut.
Willis, a forward from the NAPHL’s St. Louis Selects, has been enjoying a highly productive season thus far. In 22 games with St. Louis, Willis has registered 17 goals and 18 assists.
With seven healthy and able defensemen, the Brahmas will also have the option to either play 11 forwards/7 defensemen or slot one of the defensemen into a forward line.
Either way, the Brahmas will look to build on the momentum from last week’s emotionally-charged win against Odessa.
The Brahmas will be wearing their St. Patrick’s Day specialty jerseys on Friday. The game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off after the game. Saturday night will feature a rally towel giveaway courtesy of CareNow Hurst, so make sure to be one of the first 500 people through the door!
Puck drop for both games is scheduled for 7:30 PM. Both games will be streamed online at Hockey TV.