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Hockeyville Voting Now Open!

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX – Voting for Kraft Hockeyville USA is now open and NYTEX Sports Centre needs your help.

Between now and Thursday, every fan is able to vote 100 times per day, 50 via text message and 50 on KraftHockeyville.com.

To vote via text, send the word NYTEX to 35350.

To vote online, go to KraftHockeyville.com, scroll down to NYTEX Sports Centre, enter your email adress, and click VOTE and VOTE AGAIN.

First round of voting runs until Thursday night at 11 P.M. Central.  If the Brahmas advance to the next round, the process will then be repeated next week.  Ultimately, NYTEX has the chance to win $150,000 in arena upgrades from Kraft.

Let’s help make NYTEX an even better place.

Finished Strong

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX – Despite an undisciplined effort the Brahmas powered out a 2-1 win over the Topeka RoadRunners on Saturday night.

Thankfully for the Brahmas sake, Saturday night’s first period was vastly different from that of Friday’s.  Martin Mellberg scored his 16th of the season to first flicker the goal light at the 6:09 mark of the first, with an assist coming from Tomas Brejcha.  It wouldn’t be the last time the two would hook up but it would be the only scoring of the first frame.

The second period flew by with no scoring as well but just three minutes into the third, that’s when the Euro-tandem hooked up again.  Brejcha’s eighth of the year came off of a rebound in front of the net, which he beat Tyler Johnson on a second effort.  A 2-0 Brahmas lead lasted for just a few minutes until Quinn Preston sliced it in half for the ‘Runners.  With over half the third period to play, the Brahmas relied heavily on the shoulders of Corbin Kaczperski, who withstood the storm.

“Kaz” stopped 24 of 25 in the win, his 25th of the season.

The two teams will square off next weekend once again at NYTEX Sports Centre in Round One of the South Division Playoffs.  The North American Hockey League will announce official dates and times on Sunday or Monday.

In the mean time, be sure to help out NYTEX in this year’s Kraft Hockeyville contest.  Voting opens on Tuesday and the Brahmas will share all necessary steps to vote on their social media networks and websites.  If the Brahmas were to win, they’d receive $150,000 from Kraft for rink renovations.

Fatal First Five

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX – The Topeka RoadRunners put up a five spot in the first period, spoiling the Brahmas Blue Out early en route to a 6-1 win.

The first 20 minutes were the worst one of the season for the team, allowing the five goals.  That number not only was the highest they have allowed in a period this season, but additionally the most goals they’ve allowed in a single game thus far this season.  Dominic Lutz opened the scoring just two minutes in and before the first five were over, JB Baker and Shawn Brennan joined the club as well.  Conor O’Brien’s night ended just 4:56 in and unfortunately Corbin Kaczperski didn’t fair much better in the remainder.

Leading scorer Alex Berardinelli couldn’t help his team in the scoring department through the contest because he was awarded a double-minor and game ejection for checking from behind late in the first.  On the ensuing two power play chances for the Runners, both Dom Lutz and Marshall Bowery cashed in, extending their team’s lead to 5-0 to conclude the first.

In a more stereotypical second frame, both teams picked up a goal but to start, Andrew Hart put Topeka up by half a dozen.  The “bleeding” was stopped when Tomas Brejcha tallied his seventh of the season after cleaning up Tyler Drevitch’s scraps, making it 6-1.

The third period was covered more so by physicality than scoring, seeing a plethora of flights from the two sides.  Carson Kelley and Johnny Walker got tangled up after a whistle late in the frame, thus resulting in the first fight and within the same sequence Bud Madej and Andrew Hart went at it as well.  All four men were sent to the dressing room, thus largely concluding the action for the evening.

Conor O’Brien suffers the loss for the Brahmas in his sixth of the season.

Tomorrow night the two teams will square off yet again in the final home game of the regular season.  Tickets are still available on LoneStarBrahmas.com, over the phone at 817-336-4ICE, or at the box office beginning at 10 A.M.  Prior to tomorrow's puck drop, come join the Brahmas at ZuRoma inside NYTEX Sports Centre for the unvileing of the Kraft Hockeyville 2016 finalists, a contest in which NYTEX has potential to be named.

No Jokes Tonight, Brahmas Win

ODESSA, TX – No April Fools jokes this time as the Brahmas took care of business against the Jackalopes on Friday night, beating the ‘Jacks 4-1.

In Lone Star’s second consecutive road trip, they found early success on the power play.  Tyler Drevitch worked the puck into the zone and opted to set up the offense rather than taking a shot in the high slot.  His patience paid off as he fed it to Cam Clarke at the blueline who rang a slap shot off the post.   Alex Berardinelli buried the easy rebound to put Lone Star on top 1-0.

With under two minutes to go in the period, Derek Brown evened the game at one and increased his point streak to seven straight games.  Fortunately for the Brahmas, it was all Lone Star after the first frame.

Cam Clarke sniped his ninth goal of the season less than three minutes into the second period and Corbin Kaczperski turned aside a season-high 38 shots en route to his 24th win of the season.

Special teams play paid dividends tonight as the Brahmas were 4-for-4 on the penalty kill and Martin Mellberg’s early third period goal cam seconds after the power play chance.

Hogan Davidson sealed the team’s 38th win of the season with a empty net goal.  The Brahmas and Jackalopes face-off for the 12th and final time this regular season on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. CST.  The Brahmas lead the head-to-head match-up 8-3-0 this year.

Limited tickets are still available for next weekend’s regular season finale.  There is a full line-up on deck with Family Night, Fan Appreciation Night, and Autism Awareness Weekend.  Order tickets online at lonestarbrahmas.com or by calling the box office at (817) 336-4423.

Weekend Preview: Odessa

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX – For the final time this season the Brahmas are off to Odessa and judging by the previous team’s meeting, it’s going to be a doozie.

 

THE OPPOSITION: With four games left in the regular season, the Jacks are still in the midst of a battle for the fourth and final playoff spot with the Corpus Christi IceRays.  Odessa just leapfrogged the ‘Rays this past weekend when they swept them down on the beach, thus placing them two points ahead and in the drivers seat.  However, the Jackalopes are far from finished, and will attempt to pick up some more wins on their home ice this weekend against the Brahmas.

Who could forget the last time these two teams met?  Hundreds of penalty minutes in a line brawl, accompanied by suspensions to a handful of players and head coach Greg Gatto.  Gatto has since returned and this weekend both Connor Wood and Matthew Rypien will get back to game action for the first time since the incident.  The vibe is that the weekend could go one of two ways; mass fireworks and carryover or a clean sheet, with neither side willing to risk suspensions as the teams inch closer to playoffs.

Due to the suspensions, Odessa was forced to call up some of their affiliate players to fill spots.  One of them, Noah Poindexter has been a real bright point for the team since his debut, posting nearly a point-per-game in his lineup appearances.   Even with Rypien and Wood returning, Poindexter may have solidified a post in the lineup yet and could be a player to watch this weekend.

While it’s nothing new, the two players who are always must-see are Hampus Sjodahl and Derek Brown.  Both have 12 points in 10 games against the Brahmas this year, far and away leading the team.  Additionally, Sjodahl has points in 17 of his last 18 games and has made a case for league MVP.  It will be tough to beat the leading scorers of the Fairbanks IceDogs but it is hard to fathom where the Jacks would be without their top dog.

 

THE BRAHMAS: Unsurprising to most the team handled their business in Amarillo, beating the Bulls for the tenth and eleventh times this season.  With the Bulls in the rearview mirror, it’s back to the Jacks, a team who the Brahmas have gone 7-3 against this season.

Last weekend’s wins were welcomed from a point perspective as well as a health standpoint.  For the first time in a month, the Brahmas did not lose a player to injury and as of now, suspension.  Matt Christian, Joey Fallon, and Jakob Romo have all missed extended time now due to three separate injuries and Bud Madej missed this entire past weekend with a lower-body injury.  While at least two of them are going to try and return this weekend, it will depend on how they progress through the week.

Even through it all, it’s all systems go for the Brahmas, who haven’t suffered a regulation loss in a month in a half.  Saturday, February 20th against Odessa was the last time it took place, and the Brahmas will look to rectify that by picking up two wins this weekend.  To further fuel that fire, the last time the boys were in the Permian Basin, they split with the Jacks there as well.

In order to pick up those wins, it’s likely both netminders Conor O’Brien and Corbin Kaczperski will be relied upon.  It was a rough holiday season for O’Brien, but he’s since gotten back to his old ways, winning six of his last eight.  While that’s been a welcomed sign for Brahmaland, Corbin Kaczperski has held down the fort, winning seven of his last eight, and earning a point even in the loss.  Similar to last year, it’s nothing but good problems in the crease right now.

 

PUCK DROP: Both contests this weekend get underway at 7:05 in the Ector County Coliseum.   If you can’t make the trip west, be sure to catch the action with Nick Marek on FastHockey.com.

Battle of the Cattle: Over

AMARILLO, TX – The Brahmas picked up their 11th “Battle of the Cattle” victory over the Amarillo Bulls on Saturday, 6-3.

Plano, TX native Troy York kicked off the scoring 8:50 into the opening frame when he took a Bull defender one-on-one into the zone and snapped a wrist shot past netminder Anton Martinsson.  Minutes later Martinsson’s fellow Swede Martin Mellberg beat him in a similar scenario, with a low and hard wrister.  2-0 remained the score until with under a second left in the first the Bulls buried a controversial goal courtesy of Liam Ferguson.  The Brahmas bench and Corbin Kaczperski were sent into an uproar, believing that time had expired in the period but the goal stood.

The second period consisted of just one goal and it was York’s second of the evening.  #20 was hit from the defensive zone on a streaking pass as he sprung out of the penalty box, then deking out the Bulls netminder and going backhand top shelf.  York had been serving the minor penalty for Tomas Brejcha, who had been assessed a checking from behind minor and misconduct moments earlier.   Prior to the conclusion of the second period the Bulls decided to spike some theatrics in the form of Joey Molinaro ramming Corbin Kaczperski, who had come out of his net to play the puck.  Molinaro was assessed a charging major and a game misconduct, and additionally, Samu Suominen and Michael Forman begin a fight during the scrum as well, both receiving the fighting majors and misconducts.

When the third period began the Brahmas started cooking on their major power play advantage, getting goals from Peter Kessel and Tyler Drevitch.  With a 5-1 Brahmas lead, the Bulls did bounce back, netting tallies from Nicholas Santoro and Phil Fromberger.  However, the Brahmas would get the last one of the night, courtesy of Carson Kelley.

Despite the hit, Kaczperski earns his 23rd win of the season.  He stopped 30 of 33 in the winning effort.

The team will now head back to North Richland Hills, but then depart for Odessa later in the week.  Following the weekend series in the Permian Basin, the team will return home for the final weekend of the regular season against the Topeka RoadRunners.  That weekend is Autism Awareness and Fan Appreciation Nights, two events you won’t want to miss.  Tickets are available atop your screen under TICKETS, over the phone at 817-336-4ICE, and at the NYTEX Sports Centre Box Office.

Three In The Third

AMARILLO, TX – The Brahmas needed three goals in the final period of regulation to beat the Amarillo Bulls on Friday, 4-3.

In the opening minutes of the contest Tyler Drevitch buried a rebound that jumped off of the paraphernalia of Bulls netminder Brian Baker to give his team an early 1-0 advantage.  Very quickly the home team responded though, evening the game up thanks to Coale Norris.  Jeff Solow and Joey Molinaro picked up the assists on what would be the final goal of the first period.

Just 73 seconds in to the second Charlie Singerhouse beat Conor O’Brien shorthanded to give his team the lead for the first time.  The magnificent hands of the Hudson, Wisconsin native would contribute the solo goal of the second, thus giving his team a 2-1 place heading into the third.

The third period was the most explosive one though, as both teams went back and forth with goals until an eventual Sean Giles game-winner.  Brandon Estes earned his first career North American Hockey League goal to kick it off, but just minutes later was matched by Norris’ second of the night, thus giving Amarillo the lead once again.  However, that would be the last goal for the Bulls as Alex Berardinelli earned his 32nd of the season just 3:15 later.  Two minutes after that, the captain laced a power play drive home from the point to put his team on top, a position they would hold for the remainder of the contest.

Conor O’Brien earned the win in net, stopping 26 of 29.  His record for the campaign is now 13-5-5.

The Battle of the Cattle concludes tomorrow at the Civic Center, opening with a 7:05 puck drop.  If you can’t make the trip to the Panhandle, be sure to catch all the action on FastHockey.com.

Weekend Preview: Amarillo

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX – The Battle of the Cattle season series wraps up this weekend as the Brahmas hit the road to take on the Amarillo Bulls.

 

THE OPPOSITION: It’s been a tough year for the divisional rival, who currently holds the second-worst record in the North American Hockey League.  In their first year of direction under head coach Matt Nicholson, the team has felt the growing pains, parting ways with 13 different players over the course of the season.  With that being said, those who are still on the roster are looking to finish strong, especially against a team that has held their number decisively this season. 

Despite the team’s standing, goaltender Anton Martinsson has been the high point for the squad all year long.  Ranked in the top ten in the league in save percentage, the Swede just returned to the lineup last weekend after being on the shelf with an injury.  The last time the two teams met, he stole a 41 save, 2-1 victory for his team at the Amarillo Civic Center.

Since that December 5th game, the Bulls have added several new faces who have not faced the Brahmas yet this season.  Jake Rosenbaum, Tyler Gernhofer, Jeff Solow and now former-Brahmas Mykyta Sheptytsky will all be facing Lone Star for the first time this season.  Additionally, Coale Norris will be facing the Brahmas for the first time as a Bull, but saw the team back at the North American Hockey League Showcase in Blaine, MN as a member of the Springfield Jr. Blues.

 

THE BRAHMAS: Saturday’s overtime loss was a tough one to swallow but it’s back to business as the team looks to continue their momentum into the direction of the playoffs.  One obstacle that’s stood in the Brahmas way of doing so has been the inability to field a full lineup.  Forwards Matt Christian, Joey Fallon, and Jakob Romo all missed the entirety of last weekend due to injury.  John Zimmerman served two of his three game suspension and in Saturday night’s contest, defensemen Bud Madej was hurt as well.  While that opened the door for newcomer Joseph Berg to create history on Friday night, it leaves the Brahmas with two open spots in the lineup for the first contest of the weekend.  Zimmerman is expected to return when eligible, on Saturday, to alleviate one of those problems, however, Christian, Fallon, and Romo are all still listed as questionable.

Last weekend Corbin Kaczperski weathered the storm through both starts, a rare occasion in which one netminder started back-to-back games for the team.  The Michigan native has earned the Brahmas a point in his last seven starts, but Conor O’Brien may be worked back into the mix this weekend, as he holds a perfect 5-0 record against Amarillo this season.

Additionally, it’s a homecoming of sorts for Johan Lundgren.  #19 spent the first half of the season in Amarillo before being acquired in a December trade.  Prior to the deal, the Swede was the Bulls leading scorer in games against the Brahmas this season, recording four points in 10 games.  This time, he’ll be on the opposite side of the battle.

 

PUCK DROP: Both Friday and Saturday’s tilts begin at 7:05 at the Amarillo Civic Center.  If you’re unable to make the trek, be sure to catch all the action on FastHockey.com! 

Brahmas Alumni Update: NCAA Tournament Edition

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX – Tournament time is officially underway for NCAA Division I and Division III hockey.  This weekend, 16 Division I programs will begin the quest for the 2016 National Championship and four Division III programs will compete in Lake Placid, New York in the Frozen Four.  Six former Brahmas are competing for the National Championship.

Top ranked Quinnipiac will ride their 29-3-7 record into post-season play.  Former Brahma forward Thomas Aldworth will look to help the Bobcats capture their first ever hockey National Championship.   This is the team’s fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and they finished as runner-ups during the 2013 season.   Quinnipiac will face-off against Rochester Institute of Technology on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. EST (ESPNU).  The winner will move on to the quarterfinals on Sunday and take on either Yale University or the University of Massachusetts – Lowell.

Oskar Andren’s Boston Terriers play the University of Denver Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m. EST (ESPNU).  Andren will try to help BU capture its first men’s ice hockey National Championship since 2009.  The Danderyd, Sweden native has five points in 20 games this season.  If the Terriers advance, they will play the winner of the St. Cloud State and Ferris State game on Sunday.

Be sure to take a look at the full NCAA Division I bracket.

St. Norbert College was one of the favorites to win it all this season and they are two wins away from their fifth Division III title.  TJ Black, Storm Wahlrab, and Roman Uchyn will take on former Brahma Drew Gannon’s University of Massachusetts – Boston team.

Gannon, a native of Plano, Texas, has five goals, seven assists, and a plus-13 rating in 28 games this season as a freshman.  Green Knights’ Wahlrab (12 points), Uchyn (19 points), and Black (1.45 GAA, .934 save percentage) are looking to cap off their freshman campaigns with a trip to the National Championship Game.

The winner or Friday night’s 7:30 p.m. EST game will advance to the championship game on Saturday night.

Here is a look at the NCAA Division III bracket.