The Lone Star Brahmas took to the NyTex Sports Centre ice with a new look as they welcomed the Odessa Jackalopes in for a weekend series. Not only were the Brahmas sporting their black sweaters, but they had several new faces and familiar ones that were nowhere to be seen. Over the past few days the Brahmas made several roster moves leading up to the NAHL Trade Deadline.
It didn’t take long for two of the new Brahmas to start paying dividends. At just 3:32 into the first period Hogan Davidson, who came to Lone Star from Wichita Falls in exchange for Todd Koritzinsky, found the back of the net. Liam Stirtzinger had fired a shot off of Eric Hancock’s pads and the rebound was left in the paint. Davidson dove and poked it past Hancock before he could recover. Ryan Watson was credited with the secondary assist. Just 15 seconds later Kellen Wasell followed the Davidson goal with one of his own on a tip in front. This time it was newly acquired Roman Uchyn who had the assist. Uchyn was brought in via trade with the Coulee Region Chill of the NAHL Midwest Division, to add some physicality at the forward position.
At 6:20 Uchyn further endeared himself to his teammates when Jefferson Martindropped one of the Brahma players in front of the Odessa bench with a cross check. Uchyn was immediately in Martin’s face to stick up for his new line mate.
With 11:56 to go in the period the teams set up for a faceoff to Hancock’s right. Wasell pulled the draw back to Conner Enciso who walked it out front and ripped in past Hancock chasing him from the net.
Odessa finally got on the board at 14:23. Tate Sykes carried the puck into the zone down the right wing side on a two on one rush. Ben Owen got back and went down for the block but Sykes got it elevated and picked the top right corner over Jett Salinas for the goal. Alex Alger and Mathieu Briand were credited with the assists.
Uchyn picked up his first Brahmas goal at 2:55 of the second. Uchyn had dumped the puck in down the near boards where Enciso corralled it at the half wall. Enciso sent a beautiful cross ice pass hitting Uchyn in stride as he drove the far post and he dumped it past a diving Yoshihiro Kuroiwa. Gordie Helmuth scored the Brahma’s fifth of the night after picking Sykes pocket in neutral ice just in front of the Lone Star bench. Helmuth and Michael Crowley went streaking into the zone two on one. Helmuth moved across the ice, drew the defender and faked the pass to Crowley. As Kuroiwa started across to the opposite post Helmuth fired it short side.
The Jackalopes refused to roll over however. Martin dug the puck out of the near corner to Jake Kreutzer in the right wing circle. Kreutzer pulled it to the front, got Salinas leaning and went against the grain with a backhander over Salinas’ glove hand.
Odessa scored again at 4:15 of the third following a blocked shot in their defensive zone. Three Jackalopes went the other way down the near side and none of the Brahmas picked up Lukas Laub trailing the play on the far wing. All Laub had to do was redirect the Connor Chambers pass behind Salinas. Alger was credited with the secondary assist on the play.
At 6:49 Wasell and Uchyn would team up once again. After Wasell skated the puck into the far corner it was knocked loose. Uchyn controlled it just off the far post and sent it off Kuroiwa. Wasell came streaking in to fire the rebound past the glove hand.
Just 57 seconds later the Jackalopes would respond on a scramble in front. Laub fired a shot from the high slot that Salinas kicked aside. The puck went to Briand behind the net and he put it right back out front for Laub to send through a mass of humanity in front. Salinas never even saw the puck until it was in the back of the net.
by Kirk Estes
Enciso and Wasell found themselves on an odd man rush with a little over seven minutes to go. Enciso made a perfect saucer pass to Wasell who put it just wide. Uchyn fed the puck up the near boards and Enciso sent a seeing eye backhand from the half wall that found its way past Kuroiwa at the 13:04 mark. The Brahmas closed out the scoring just 32 seconds later. Anthony Mousseau kept in a clear in front of the Odessa bench and rung it around the boards. Sebastian Vidmarstopped it behind the net and came out the near side like he was going for a wrap around, but found Matt Lison on the backdoor. Kuroiwa had no chance on the Lison wrister.
Shots on goal were 28 – 27 in favor of Odessa and both teams were scoreless on the man advantage.