ODESSA, Texas – With just 11 games left in the regular season and setting three points behind first place Topeka the Lone Star Brahmas needed to do all they could to pick up four points in their trip to Odessa. They got started early in the first on Friday night off a blue collar play by Pat Egan.
Egan battled with Andreas Soje in the corner to win the puck and cycle it behind the net. They moved the puck around the boards and up top to the near point for Storm Wahlrab. Wahlrab slid it along the blueline to the left point where Caleb Thompson pounded one on net. Tanner Creel made the initial save, but Egan had gone to the front and put the rebound past the Jackalopes’ netminder at 5:31.
With the teams skating 4 on 4 in the second period, they set up for a faceoff to Jake Kupsky’s left. Christian Hausinger won the draw back to Derek Brown at the point for a wrister that was redirected in front by Kenny Hausinger and over Kupsky’s left pad at 16:10.
Peter Kessel put the Brahmas back on top early in the third following a draw to Creel’s right and a scramble in front. Kessel swooped in and put the puck through the pile unassisted. Time of the goal was 3:19.
The Jackalopes pulled even with a power play goal following a delay of game call against Kupsky when he knocked the net off while sliding across to make a save. The whistle surprised everyone in the building including the Voice of the Jackalopes Joey Battaino. “Boy that’s zero tolerance right there” said Battaino. “Dan Wildfong is not going to be happy about that one. Usually the goaltender gets a warning, but that’s not the case here.” Once play resumed, Daniel Kiraly move the puck point to point for a one timer from Razmuz Waxin-Engback just under the crossbar. Corey Hoffman was credited with the secondary assist on the goal that came at 7:46.
After a scoreless overtime period, the game went to a shootout. Neither team had been lights out in the skills competition with Odessa being 1 – 2 and the Brahmas 1 – 4.
Anton Santesson got the first goal in the second round of the shootout when he pulled it wide right, faked a blast from the top of the right circle to get Creel moving then went back across the grain to score short side.
Corey Hoffman evened it up for the Jackalopes in the bottom of the second round. He skated it slowly to the right hash and put it over the blocker of Kupsky.
Sebastian Vidmar jumped over the boards for a chance in the top of the third. After circling in his own zone, he picked up the puck on the move skated to the left. He drove to the front of the crease and slammed on the brakes and in the midst of a cloud of snow went backhand – forehand to put it over the right pad.
From there Kupsky made the one goal lead stand up making a big save against former Brahmas Eric Carreras in the bottom of round three and Zach Zech in the bottom of round five to seal the victory.
The Brahmas outshot the Jackalopes 38 – 27 in the contest while Odessa had the only power play goal going 1 – 7. Lone Star was 0 – 3 with the man advantage.
Elsewhere Around The NAHL South Div.
Wichita Falls – Topeka
Tokyo native Yu Hikosaka scored twice in the opening period to stake the Roadrunners to a two goal lead heading into the first intermission. The Wildcats got two in the second and one in the third to before Cam Strong found the back of the net on the power play. With no further scoring, the game went to overtime where Dominic Lutz came through for the home team with just 25 ticks left on the clock. Drew Vogler made 25 saves in a winning effort.
Corpus Christi – Rio Grande
The Killer Bees trailed by one entering the second period, but Elliot Lorraine pulled them even early in the frame only to see the Icerays retake the lead later in the period. Evan Bell, Stathis Soumelidis and Dallas Gerads had third period goals for Rio Grande to put the game out of reach. Ben Johansson faced 21 shots for the win.
Current NAHL South Div. Standings
x – Clinched Playoff Berth
With the Topeka win, the Brahmas were unable to get any closer to the top spot in the division, but did put a little more distance between themselves and third place Wichita Falls. With the one point, Wichita Falls became the third team in the division to clench a playoff spot.