NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX – Leaving the NAHL Showcase with seven points in four games is a clear-cut success, however, there is a lot more to be said about the team's third place finish.
On Wednesday, the team opened its four-game stretch with a 5-0 unanimous victory over the Springfield Jr. Blues. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking Springfield is a bad team. The next day the Jr. Blues took down the Austin Bruins, a team that hadn’t lost at the showcase in the previous two years. That same Austin team won their opening game at the event by a ridiculous 8-0 margin. Following the Bruin takedown, the Blues then handed the Brahmas division rival, the Corpus Christi IceRays, a loss. In both games, Springfield goaltender Tommy Nappier only allowed one goal.
Thursday, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs needed 65 minutes plus a six-round shootout to finally dispose of the Brahmas, 1-0. Following the trip to Blaine, the Ice Dogs are now a perfect 8-0 and are averaging an insane nearly five goals per game. For the Brahmas and Conor O’Brien to hold them to mere sudden death shootout victory is a big testament. The buzz around the Schwan Super Rink was that the tilt between the two was the game of the tournament and could easily be a preview of what’s to come in the spring.
It didn’t get easier for the boys after Thursday’s heartbreaker as they then had to line up against the 2015 Robertson Cup Champion Minnesota Wilderness. As if attempting to dethrone the reigning champion wasn’t a big enough task, the only losses they had taken before coming into the game were against Fairbanks, who again, is undefeated. A hot start with three goals in the first wound up to be enough to grasp on to after the Wilderness made a goaltending change to start the second period. The replacement was their number one goaltender, Chase Munroe, who’s size and skill make him one of the most intriguing backstops in the entire league. Munroe (6'4", 215) was honored as the Midwest Division Star of the Week after stopping 74 of 78 shots over the four game stretch.
The last stop of the set was yet another daunting task as the Johnstown Tomahawks came into the matchup with a perfect 3-0 record in Blaine. Their only loss before the showcase came to the New Jersey Titans, who joined Fairbanks as the only team with a flawless 4-0 in Minny. The Tomahawks already have five Division I commits, too.
An overall consensus of the trip north was that the Brahmas took on four quality opponents, took down three of them and gave the other one a deep run for their money. Furthermore, the four opponents the team faced went 10-1-1 overall in the tournament aside from going 1-3-0 against Lone Star. There is very little to complain or worry about overall for Brahma fans.
The next step for the team is to trim the roster down to 23 skaters by Thursday before they leave for Topeka.
Stay tuned to all Brahmas social media networks for updates on the roster moves and previews of the big games this weekend.