by Kirk Estes
The Lone Star Brahmas continued to to look forward to next season while remaking the face of the team. After making multiple moves on Wednesday, the Brahmas pulled the trigger on further deals today. With a spot in the NAHL South Division playoffs out of reach, the Brahmas have begun the process of setting their roster for next season. Lone Star was hampered by a very late start this season due to the prolonged sales process and transfer of ownership of the team. Head Coach Dan Wildfong is working to ensure that entering next season the Brahmas are on much firmer footing.
Brahmas Defenseman and Alternate Captain Donovan Gardiner was sent to the Tri-City Storm of the USHL where he will join previous Texas Tornado teammateDrew Mayer. Tri-City is currently 12 points out of the fourth and final playoff spot. The Storm were in need of defensive help after placing Sean Lang on season ending Injury Reserve.
Gardiner is a 5’ 10” – 185 pound native of Sterling Heights, MI and is a 93 birth year. This was Gardiner’s fourth season in the NAHL coming to the Texas Tornado late last season from the Kalamazoo K-Wings.
Last season Donovan had four points on 0G – 4A in 20 games played. So far this season the slick skating defenseman had picked up the offense as he put up 4G – 3A in 38 games. Gardiner’s big game this season came on November 9th against Wichita Falls in a 2 – 1 win. He scored one goal and assisted on the other in the game. For his efforts, Gardiner was named as one of the Stars of the Game on three occasions this season.
In exchange for Gardiner the Brahmas have added Keller native Thomas Aldworth. Aldworth is a 5’ 11” – 190 pound Forward born in 1995.
Aldworth spent two seasons at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, MA, putting up 20G – 36A in 61 games. In 29 games with Tri-City this season, Aldworth has scored 3G – 1A to go along with 22 PIM’s. Thomas has already signed a DI commitment to Providence University and participated in the 2013 Dallas Stars Development Camp.
The Brahmas also added Defenseman Jeremy Briscoe from the Port Huron Fighting Falcons. Briscoe is a big physical kid standing 6’ 4” and weighing 208 pounds. He is a 96 birth year from Phoenix, AZ.
Briscoe was taken by Port Huron with their second pick in the 2013 NAHL Entry Draft. Jeremy was also drafted by the Tri-City Americans of the WHL. During the Sixth Annual WHL U.S. Prospects Camp Briscoe was named as one of the three MVP’s of Team Blue. Prior to his move to Port Huron, Briscoe played for the Phoenix Junior Coyotes where in 45 games played he had 3G – 16A and 94 PIM’s. Briscoe had played in 18 games for the Fighting Falcons this season and had yet to register a point. He does have 35 PIM’s in the 18 games.
With the trade of Gardiner, the Brahmas have moved three players in their final year of Junior Hockey eligibility. In return they have added three players who all have at least two years of Junior Hockey eligibility remaining. The trade of RJ Salvato was the only trade of a player who had remaining eligibility beyond this season. In return for Salvato, the Brahmas received multiple Tenders from Kenai River which will allow them to further stock the team with young talent prior to next season.
The players who have moved on from the Brahmas will all benefit as well. Each of them have gone to teams that are in their respective play off races which will provide increased visibility to NCAA scouts in the coming months.