NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX — The Brahmas didn’t expect the South Division playoff title to come easily. Sure enough, the division final between Lone Star and Corpus Christi went the full five games before the Brahmas emerged victorious — with three overtime wins, no less.
After splitting the first two games — a 4-3 win in Game 1 for the Brahmas and a 3-0 win in Game 2 for the IceRays — the teams headed to Dr. Pepper StarCenter McKinney for two games.
Corpus Christi took the first game in that set, winning 4-1 in Game 3. The score was more lopsided than the game itself, thanks to two IceRay empty netters late in the third. Lone Star outshot Corpus Christi in the game 35-24 and played a solid possession game. However, Corpus Christi goaltender Tomáš Vomáčka stole the show, allowing just one goal to put the IceRays up 2-1 in the series.
That forced the Brahmas to the brink of elimination for the first time this postseason. The team responded accordingly, with two Lone Star veterans coming up big. Peter Kessel put the Brahmas on the board first with one-timer from the left circle.
The IceRays then scored two unanswered, but Carson Kelley tied the game early in the third to send the game to overtime.
The Brahmas have excelled all year in post-regulation play, and that’s continued through the playoffs. They clinched their first round sweep with a Game 3 overtime win against the Wildcats and went on to win Game 1 against the IceRays in overtime as well.
It took Drake Glover just 32 seconds to give the Brahmas their third overtime win of the playoffs. Brahmas Captain John Zimmerman caught Glover off the bench with a stretch pass to give him a partial breakaway. Glover took the initial shot and then gloved down an attempt by a crashing Austin O’Rourke before dropping the puck at his feet and burying the game-winner.
Those heroics sent the Brahmas and IceRays to a winner-takes-all Game 5 back at the NYTEX Sports Centre, where the Brahmaland faithful showed up in full force to support their team for the final home game of the season.
The Brahmas came out flying in the first two periods, but Vomáčka was at his very best. The IceRays were vastly outmatched in terms of shots and possession, but Vomáčka kept them in the game, which eventually went to overtime in a 0-0 tie.
Once again, it was the Brahmas who prevailed in the extra frame. This time, the winning goal came courtesy of Troy York, who took a perfect pass from Carson Kelley and finally beat Vomáčka about five minutes into overtime to send the Brahmas to the Final Four in Duluth, Minnnesota.
The Brahmas’ Robertson Cup Semifinal match-up is set. They will face the number one seed Janesville Jets out of the Midwest Division on Thursday, May 11 and Friday, May 12. Puck drop will be 7:30 PM CST.
If needed, the Brahmas and Jets will play the deciding Game 3 on Saturday, May 13 at 6:00 PM CST.
The Official Brahmas Watch Party will be located at ZuRoma inside the NYTEX Sports Centre for every game the Brahmas play in Duluth.