This past weekend marked the beginning for the newly branded Lone Star Brahmas of the North American Hockey League. Following one week of practices, the Brahmas took on the visiting Odessa Jackalopes in two exhibition games at, The NYTEX Sports Centre, Home of the Brahmas.
Friday night got off to a slow start for the Brahmas as the Jacks controlled the puck for much of the first period. Brahmas net-minder, Sean Keating fended off 11 shots on goal before the Brahmas could even take one. The Brahmas seemed to find their rhythm as the first period drew to a close with score of 0-0. Play went back and forth between Jackalopes and Brahmas for most of the second period. With only 1:11 remaining the second period, the Brahmas bring it together during a power play and Liam Stirtzinger scores with assists from Matt Lison and Johan Steen.
Odessa forward Derek Brown tied up the game in less than 7 minutes into the second period with assists by Alex Alger and Trace Jablin. #25 Chad Guderian then gave the Jackalopes the lead with 8:24 left on the clock, but Will White evened it up for the Brahmas less than a minute later. A scoreless third period and overtime sent the game into a shootout. During the third round of the shootout, Alex Algers scored for the Jackalopes, but was answered in the fourth round with excellent stick-work from NAHL veteran Alexy Solovyev. Both goaltenders kept the shootout tied until the 7th round when Gordie Helmuth sent one between the skates of Yoshihiro Kuroiwa to take the win for the Brahmas. Final Score for Friday, Lone Star Brahmas 3, Odessa Jackalopes 2.
Saturday's game began with the Brahmas carrying the momentum from the previous night as Defenseman Johan Steen scored the first goal only 1:24 into the first period. Alex Dagnal and Matt Lison had the assists on the play. Minutes later, Will White picked up a loose puck and sent it through the five hole unassisted giving the Brahmas 2-0 lead at the 6:27 mark. With assists by Steen and Dagnal, Matt Lison was able to capitalize on the Brahmas first Power Play of the night with 6:23 left on the first period clock.
With a 3-0 lead for the Brahmas, the Jackalopes turned up their defense leaving the second period scoreless for both teams. Almost 5 minutes into the third period, the Brahmas defense finally showed its first cracks as Jackalopes #25, Chad Guderian, fired it past Sean Keating for their first goal of the night. In a complete reversal of fortune for the Brahmas, Odessa scored 3 more goals in the second half of the third period to take the lead, then victory. Final score: Odessa Jackalopes 4, Lone Star Brahmas 3.
With a 1-1 record for the weekend, the Brahmas will begin the regular season with their opening game September 13th at 7:30pm at home in the NYTEX Sports Centre against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. The Brahmas face the Bees the following night as well before heading to Blaine, Minnesota for the NAHL Showcase.
For season ticket information for the Lone Star Brahmas, call 817-336-4ICE. Individual tickets are available online on the tickets page or through the box office at 817-336-4423.