NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX — Eight games into the season, the Brahmas sit at a 3-3-2 record. Goaltending has been a plus, with Mitchell Gibson’s stellar start to the season carrying Lone Star on most nights, but the Brahmas have also failed to find the back of the net in three games so far. That’s not the start they might have wanted — expectations are high around here among the NAHL defending champions.
With that in mind, Brahmas fans shouldn’t be surprised to see a few new faces in the lineup this weekend as the team searches for more offense and hopefully four points this weekend against Topeka (3-5-0).
The Brahmas have been historically dominant against the RoadRunners. Last season, they went 7-1-0 against Topeka and were undefeated at the Kansas Expocentre. They’ll hope to continue that trend this season.
Topeka did visit the Brahmas in the preseason. It was a chippy affair, with the Brahmas coming out on top by a score of 4-2. However, both teams’ lineups will be fairly different this weekend than they were in that meeting.
The bulk of the RoadRunners’ offense will be coming from NAHL veterans Nick Granowicz and Will Schlagenhauf and rookie Chad Hillebrand, who was impressive in that preseason tilt against the Brahmas.
Granowicz has gotten off to a strong start this season after a solid 2016-17 campaign (7-17–24), and is currently leading the team in points with four goals and five assists. Schlagenhauf (2-5–7) and Hillebrand (2-3–5) aren’t far behind, so the Brahmas will be looking to shut down that trio of forwards this weekend.
Meanwhile, despite their offensive difficulties, the Brahmas do have some forwards who have been making an impact on the scoresheet. Foremost among them are returning Brahmas Julian Biondo (3-5–8) and Austin O’Rourke (4-2–6). O’Rourke in particular had an excellent game last weekend, registering his first NAHL hat trick against Amarillo.
The challenge for the Brahmas will be to find some consistency. So far, they’ve had a knack of coming out strong in the first game of a series, then falling flat the following night. That’s something they’ll be looking to fix, and Coach Dan Wildfong will be hoping that some new faces in the lineup will liven things up.
Goaltender Harrison Feeney will be joining Mitchell Gibson on this trip, and newly-acquired defensemen Jakub Sirota and Connor Stuart should be making their Brahmas debuts this weekend as well.
Puck drop in Topeka will be at 7:05 PM on both nights. As always, games will be streamed live on Hockey TV. You can also follow along by keeping an eye on our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat accounts.