NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX — We’re closing in on the final games of the first half of the season before the team heads home for a much-needed and well-deserved holiday break. This weekend, the Brahmas will go toe to toe with Odessa for just the third time this season.
The Brahmas have fared well against Odessa in all four games they’ve played thus far, sweeping the Jackalopes both at home and on the road.
Since the Brahmas played them last, though, the Jackalopes have made two notable roster changes.
NAHL South veteran Ricky Carballo is back, acquired from the Aberdeen Wings in a one-for-one trade with forward Evan Rochowiak going the other way. Carballo was excellent in his first weekend with Odessa, putting up four points (2-2–4) in two games.
The Jackalopes also added a USHL drop-down in UMass-Lowell commit Matt Brown. The diminutive forward has put up a point-per-game pace in the NAHL with four points in four games.
Odessa has been mediocre in their last ten games, posting a 4-5-1 record, but they are coming off of a weekend sweep against Corpus Christi and will no doubt be looking to keep that momentum going.
For their part, the Brahmas will be looking to finish strong in the final five games before a long winter break. The first step will be these two games against the Jackalopes.
The Brahmas are currently battling some injuries, but the team is confident that players will be able to step up and handle the load.
It helps that the Jackalopes haven’t been good on the road, and are winless in their last four road games. Conversely, the Brahmas have been strong on home ice, posting a 7-1-1 record here at the NYTEX Sports Centre.
Brahmas points leader Julian Biondo will certainly be looking to galvanize the team into a strong offensive performance. With several forwards missing from action — including Justin Addamo, who has joined the U20 French National Team for the remainder of the month — Biondo and company will need to come out fast.
Last weekend, the team struggled to find their legs early in the game, and that will certainly be something to avoid this time around, as the Brahmas found themselves in a hole in both games against Amarillo.
Another facet of the game the Brahmas will be focusing on is special teams: The penalty kill unit been a little leakier than normal, although it looked to get back on track last weekend. The power play has been a source of frustration all season for Lone Star, who have converted on just 18 of 120 opportunities. A good performance from the special teams units this weekend would go a long way.
Puck drop both Friday and Saturday at the NYTEX Sports Centre will be at the customary 7:30 PM. Don’t forget to arrive early on Friday for an ornament giveaway, as there are a very limited number available!