NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX — The Brahmas entered this past weekend having lost two straight games and were looking to get back on track, pick up some points against the Odessa Jackalopes, and clinch a playoff berth.
Key offensive contributors were once again missing from the lineup, with Drake Glover, Troy York, Hunter Stanley, and Simon Loof all missing at least one game. It appears that the Brahmas are rightly playing it safe with all parties, as there’s no benefit to rushing a player back — especially with the comfortable lead Lone Star has built in the NAHL South Division.
Nonetheless, that’s a combined 131 points absent from the lineup, and it certainly showed this weekend, as the Brahmas scored three goals in two games (and only two in regulation).
Of course, that was good enough for two out of four possible points, as the team battled through injuries and played good, sound hockey for much of the weekend.
Friday yielded a 2-1 loss and extended the Brahmas’ losing streak to three games — their longest of the year. However, there were positives to take away from the game.
The Brahmas turned in yet another strong defensive effort. Lone Star is second in the league in shots against per game, and lived up to the reputation Friday night, allowing only 18 shots on goal. Alec Calvaruso was strong in net, and of the two goals he allowed, one was a flukey bounce that ended up rolling in from his shoulder, and the other was a tip in the crease.
Additionally, while the Brahmas scored only once, that had more to do with a dominant performance from Jackalopes goaltender Jonny Hogue than a lack of effort on the Brahmas’ part. They fired 33 shots over the course of sixty minutes, and Hogue was forced to make some spectacular saves.
Saturday was much of the same, with Hogue and Calvaruso each turning in a strong performance on both ends. Hogue was once again the busier of the two, as the Brahmas shut down the Jackalopes, allowing just 15 shots while dominating offensive zone time and getting 30 shots off.
This time, the outcome landed in the Brahmas’ favor.
The newly formed line of Peter Kessel, Carson Kelley, and Austin Kamer was also a bright spot, with shifts that included scoring chances more often than not. That line accounted for the Brahmas’ lone goal in regulation, with Kessel forcing a sloppy pass that Kelley picked off. He beat Hogue cleanly over the glove to tie the game, and the score remained 1-1 through the full sixty to send the game to overtime.
With the overtime point, the Brahmas secured their spot in the playoffs, but Lone Star was searching for a win.
Overtime format has been kind to the Brahmas, who came into Saturday with a 5-1 record in 3-on-3 and a 3-0 record in the shootout. They continued that success on Saturday, with Blake Evennou playing the part of OT hero.
After receiving a pass from Justin Addamo in the Brahmas’ zone, Evennou carried the puck up through the neutral and offensive zone, beating all three Jackalopes skaters and scoring on Hogue off the rush to give the Brahmas the win and the two points.
The Brahmas will look to build off that momentum as they head to Corpus Christi for a weekend series before sending seven players and Head Coach Dan Wildfong to the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament.
All Top Prospects games will be streamed on Hockey TV.
Following the Top Prospects Tournament, the Brahmas will begin a season-long seven-game homestand with a three-game series against the Amarillo Bulls.