Friday, October 31, 2008

Brahmas take the sting out of the Scorpions

Win 5-2 on Halloween night

Despite New Mexico outshooting Texas 33-23, goalie David Cacciola earned his first win of the season over his former team as the Brahmas dominated the Scorpions in a 5-2 road win. The Brahmas improved to 4-1-1 while the Scorpions fell to 2-3-1.

The game opened up with physical play on both sides. New Mexico outshot the Brahmas 9-5 but David Cacciola was strong in the net. New Mexico center Sam Bowles had the first opportunity to score for the Scorpions when he raced past Craig Minard to make a shot, only to have the puck hit the post. Sniper Scott Sheppard put Texas up 1-0 with a shorthanded goal 6:37 into the game with the assist from Pete Rouleau.

New Mexico tied the game up with Craig Macdonald's unassisted goal at the 8:41 mark in the second period. Macdonald skated into the zone, beat the defenseman and slid the puck right past Cacciola. The Brahmas took control of the game on consecutive powerplays courtesy of Neil Trimm. Craig Minard gave the Brahmas the lead at the 10:23 mark with a powerplay goal on Jason Wolfe, assisted by Scott Sheppard and Tyler Skworchinski. Lance Galbraith extended the lead 83 seconds later with a feed from Grant Jacobsen, ripping one past Wolfe who didn't have a chance of making the save.

New Mexico outshot the Brahmas 13-9 in the second period but were no match for the Texas offense. Matt Quinn closed the period in the Brahmas overwhelming favor when he came out of the penalty box in time to make a clean breakaway and take a pass set up by Pete Rouleau and Tyler Skworchinski to score on Wolfe, giving the Brahmas a 4-1 lead. It was Quinn's fourth goal of the season.

The third period was physical affair on both sides. Seven seconds after the Scorpions' Russell Smith was sent to the box for hooking, Tyler Skworchinski gave the Brahmas a 5-1 lead when he redirected a Craig Minard shot and placed it behind Jason Wolfe. Five minutes into the period, enforcer Lance Galbraith, tired of the shenanigans by Scorpions defenseman Tyler Fuller, dropped his gloves and gave him a Texas-sized whooping before both were sent off to the penalty boxes to serve five-minute majors for fighting.

Once again, New Mexico outshot the Brahmas in the third 12-9 but could not undo the damage done by the bulls in the second period. With less than a minute remaining in the game, rookie forward Neil Trimm pushed home a rebound, stuffing the puck and Cacciola into the net, scoring his first goal as a professional. The game ended with a final score of 5-2. Lance Galbraith and Craig McDonald nearly came to blows after the final horn sounded but both left the ice peacefully after trading some harsh words.

For the Brahmas, the game went much better than Thursday night's affair in Amarillo. Texas scored three unanswered goals, two on the powerplay, on Scorpion's goaltender Jason Wolfe. They scored three goals on five shots in the second period. They were 3-for-4 on the power play and killed all six New Mexico power-play attempts. Five different Brahmas scored goals (Scott Sheppard, Craig Minard, Lance Galbraith, Matt Quinn, Tyler Skworchinski) while four Brahmas finished with two points for the night (Pete Rouleau, Tyler Skworchinski, Scott Sheppard and Craig Minard).

The Brahmas head home in preparation for their next road game against the Oklahoma City Blazers on Friday night. The Game starts at 7:10pm and can bee seen on Nifty-TV.

You can view the box score here

Photo Credit: New Mexico Scorpions

Brahmas road trip continues in New Mexico

Bulls look to rebound from last nights loss in Amarillo

The Brahmas are coming off of last night's overtime loss in Amarillo but looking to get back on track with a divisional win against the 2-2-1 New Mexico Scorpions who are also coming off of an overtime loss.

The two teams are scheduled to meet twice this season. Last season, the Brahmas and Scorpions met once with Texas winning 4-1. David Cacciola was in net for the Brahmas to face his former team (Cacciola played for the Scorpions in 2006-07). Cacciola is expected to start for the Brahmas tonight.

The game starts at 7:15pm and can be watched on Nifty-TV.

Image Credit: New Mexico Scorpions
Brahmas struggle in overtime loss

Amarillo Gorillas get their first victory of the season

The Amarillo Gorillas earned their first victory of the season with a 2-1 overtime win against the Texas Brahmas. It was the second meeting of the two teams in as many weeks and the Brahmas once again struggled at Cal Farley Coliseum..

The Gorillas came out strong and played aggressively, outshooting the Brahmas 13-6 in the fast-paced first period but both teams were held scoreless due to excellent play by netminders Brett Jaeger for Texas and Ryan Scott for Amarillo.

The defensive play picked up for both sides in the second period. There was a lot of even- strength play in the first two periods with few penalties called on either team. Gorillas coach Tom Coolen rotated his lines often, keeping his offense fresh but despite two early powerplays and a 38-second two-man advantage, the Gorillas couldn't get past Jaeger although they outshot the Brahmas again, this time 9-6. The period ended with a 0-0 tie; the first time this season the Gorillas held an opponent scoreless through two periods.

Things livened up in the final period and although the Gorillas outshot the Brahmas 19-10, the bulls were aggressive and some very physical play ensued.

Four minutes in, Amarillo's Jake Morissette set up Jason Weitzel for a pair of chances at the top of the crease and both were turned aside by Jaeger. Moments later, the first goal of the game came when newly signed forward Jonathan Ornelas took a rebound and whipped a wrist shot past Jaeger from the left faceoff circle, scoring his first goal of the season. Ornelas had just joined the team in the morning after a 19-hour drive from West Virginia.

Seven minutes later, following a double-minor on Justin Kinnunen, Brahmas forward Matt Quinn took a pass from Greg McConnell at center and raced in on Ryan Scott, forcing the puck underneath his blocker arm to tie the game with a short-handed goal at the 11:37 mark.

Scott was solid for the remainder of the period which included him defending against a five-on-three Brahmas powerplay in the last four minutes. Scott's play helped send the game into overtime.

In the extra session, the Gorillas took advantage of a four-on-three powerplay opportunity when Joe Guenther made a backhand pass to Sam Ftorek in the high slot. Cautiously, Ftorek skated in and ripped a slapshot over Jaeger's shoulder and into the net to give the Gorillas' their first win of the season.

The Gorillas' defense was superb and their penalty kill was the best of the young season, forcing the Brahmas to go 0 for 5 on powerplay opportunities.

Brett Jaeger finished the night with 40 saves and Ryan Scott made 23 saves to earn his second win as a professional and his first in a Gorillas uniform.

The victory moves Amarillo to a 1-5-0 record and into a tie for third in the Southwest Division standings. The Brahmas record is now 3-1-1. They head for the Santa Ana Center to play the New Mexico Scorpions tomorrow.

You can view the box score here

Photo Credit: Matt Strasen, Amarillo Globe-News

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Texas Brahmas travel to Amarillo to take on the winless Gorillas

Gorillas, new coach Tom Coolen face tough challenges after 0-5 start

Dan Wildfong's Texas Brahmas are at the Cal Farley Coliseum to play Tom Coolen's Gorillas who have the unfortunate distinction of being the only team in the CHL without a point and an 0-5-0 record.

Although the Gorillas outshot the Bulls 42-32 in last Friday's meeting in Amarillo, Texas came out on top, 4-3 with all of the Brahmas' goals coming on powerplay opportunities.

In five games, the Gorillas have been outscored 29-9, yet they have outshot their opponents 176-147. They are an abysmal 4 for 48 on power play opportunities and have been scored against 15 times on the powerplay.

The Gorillas have yet to show stability at goaltender. They currently have Ryan Scott (0-3-0) as their starter after placing Sebastian Jonsson and Simon Nielsen on waivers. Each took a loss to start the season. Derek Dolson (Odessa Jackalopes) and Mike Gorman (Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees) were claimed off waivers this week. Pierre-Olivier Girouard signed a contract today. Girouard, 25, a native of Mascouche, Qu├ębec, played for ASG Tours in France the past three seasons. He will be the backup for Scott in tonight's game.

Since their last meeting against the Brahmas on the 24th, the Gorillas have waived forwards Paul Caponigri and Brett McConnachie and signed rookies Domenic Maiani (Ohio State) and Jonathan Ornelas (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). Both will play tonight.

Right wing Sam Ftorek will switch to defense this evening to take the place of Alex Greig who has been placed on the 14-day injured reserve.

The Brahmas (3-1-0) are looking for their fourth win in a row tonight and will start Brett Jaeger at goaltender.

The game starts at 7:05pm and can be seen on Nifty-TV.

Image Credit: Amarillo Gorillas

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A few minutes with...Paul Gillis

The Odessa Jackalopes head coach talks about the start of the season and coaching against the Texas Brahmas

Paul Gillis is in his second year as head coach of the Jackalopes. Last season, the Jacks finished 32-25-7 in the Southwest Division and won the opening-round playoff series against the Austin Ice Bats two games to one, only to be swept in four games by the Laredo Bucks.

This season, the Jacks have come out swinging, winning four of five games, losing only to the Texas Brahmas who also took the win in their pre-season match. The Jacks will host the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees at home on Ocober 31st.

Gillis, 44, has an overall coaching record of 495-349-70. During his 14 years as a head coach, Gillis has been behind the bench for eight different teams in the AHL, OHL, UHL and now the CHL. He spent nine of those years in the United Hockey League where he took Quad City Mallards to the playoffs five times, winning the championship in his first appearance after the 1997-98 season. He took three other UHL teams to the playoffs as well. Gillis holds the UHL coaching record for post-season games and wins and ranks 2nd all-time in the UHL in regular season wins and games coached.

Before he began coaching in 1994, Gillis had a successful career as a center in the National Hockey League. He was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques in the 2nd round (#34 overall) of the 1982 NHL Entry Draft. He made his debut with the Nordiques during the 1982-83 season and played with them for nine seasons, making the playoffs four seasons in a row from 1983-1987. He also played for the Chicago Blackhawks and the Hartford Whalers prior to retiring after the 1992-93 season. During his 11-year NHL career, Gillis accumulated 242 points (88 G, 154 A) and 1,498 penalty minutes in 624 career games played.

I spoke with coach Gillis at the NYTEX Sports Centre just prior to last Saturdays 7-3 loss to the Brahmas.

Q: How do you feel about the start of the season?

A: Well, we got off to a good start but there's a long way to go. Right now I think every team in the league is just finding out about their players and what they have and how they're going to play under pressure. I think it's good for us because we have started on the road and you really get a good indication of what your guys are all about and if they're going to compete in some tough buildings. So far so good but we know we have a lot of work ahead of us.

Q: So far, the team seems pretty well-rounded. You've made a few changes here this past week; what do you see as the best opportunity for improvement at this point?

A: Well I think we've just got to improve in all areas. It's early; we only have close to 10 days I think in training camp which isn't enough to really get your team organized. I don't think we've even identified our issues yet. We're quite pleased with our team but there's always going to be hiccups along the way or poor play or injuries or something you have to deal with. Right now, we're just trying to get everything in place and figure out our team and our boys and see what they're all about and we'll make any adjustment we have to after that.

Q: What do you think are the keys to beating the Brahmas?

A: The thing about Texas, from my standpoint, and Dan did a fantastic job with the team last year, is that they work extremely hard. They're very physical in this building. You've got be able to deal with their puck pressure and their physical play and in turn, you've got to return it to them. You've got to play physical against them. The other issue early in the season is staying out of the penalty box, Everybody's getting used to these new rules a little bit and there's been a lot of penalties called in all these games and special teams are a huge issue.

Q: Coming from the Ector County Coliseum and playing in some of the other venues, compared to NYTEX, do you think that playing in a smaller facility like this offers any advantages or disadvantages for the players?

A: I don't think there's any difference. If it's different for your players, you don't have the right players. You've got to go places and play on different ice surfaces, different surroundings and that can't affect what you do.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith
Insider player profile - Topher Scott

Former Cornell University co-captain begins first full rookie season with the Texas Brahmas

Topher Scott was a surprise to many fans when he appeared on the ice for the Texas Brahmas at last night's game against the Odessa Jackalopes. The speedy forward was all over the ice in several shifts during the bulls' rout of the Jackalopes. Signed on Friday, Scott fills the vacancy left by Left Wing Brad Bonello, who was traded to the Mississippi RiverKings.

Scott made his professional hockey debut in March with the Elmira Jackals (ECHL). He played in seven regular season games and four in the post-season, tallying five points (1 G, 4 A). Jackals head coach Steve Martinson called Scott an excellent passer with great vision and hockey sense. Scott was to return to the Jackals this season, but the opportunity to play with Dan Wildfong's Brahmas took precedent.

Scott played for Cornell University (ECAC) for four seasons while pursuing a degree in Sociology. During his career with the Big Red, he appeared in all 137 games (playing through a broken wrist in his sophomore year), notching 107 points (25 G, 82 A) and only 52 penalty minutes. was the team's leading scorer as a Junior after tying for the second-highest point total as a sophomore.

As a senior, Scott was elected by his teammates as a co-captain after being elected to serve as the team's lone alternate captain as a junior. Scott was also a two-time winner of the team's Bill Doran Sportsmanship Award, presented annually to the player combining all of the best attributes that mean sportsmanship, both on and off the ice, as well as being an excellent, competitive player. He was also named Honorable Mention All-Ivy League for his play as a senior.

He helped the team win one ECAC Tournament Championship and two trips to the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the national quarterfinals each time. He played alongside former Brahma Doug Krantz and current Brahma Kevin McLeod.

Brahmas head coach Dan Wildfong mentioned Scott's Cornell roots in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

"I just know that every guy that I've either played against or coached against from Cornell has been really good."

Prior to attending Cornell, Scott played for the Chicago Steel (USHL). Over four seasons, the Buffalo Grove, Illinois native amassed 104 points (38 G, 66 A) and 89 penalty minutes in 194 games played. Scott's big year came in 2003-04 when he scored 21 goals and 52 points as he captained the Steel to their first-ever East Division title. Scott won the USHL's Curt Hammer Award in 2003-04. While playing for the Steel, he was named team MVP and selected to the USHL all-star team.

Photo Credit: elynah.com
Texas Brahmas trample the Odessa Jackalopes

Scott Sheppard, Grant Jacobsen lead scoring in 7-3 victory

The Texas Brahmas, backed by a rowdy home crowd, erased the word "undefeated" from the Odessa Jackalopes in a sound 7-3 victory that saw terrific efforts on both offense and defense for the bulls.

The first period was a defensive battle, ripe with penalties on both benches. The Brahmas outshot the Jacks 11-5 but both goaltenders were perfect and the period ended without a score.

The Brahmas came out gunning just 28 seconds into the 2nd period when Grant Jacobsen raced the puck down the ice on a three-on-one breakaway. Jacobsen passed it to Scott Sheppard who fed it to Justin Kinnunen. Kinnunen slapped it behind Jacks netminder Juha Toivonen before he knew what hit him and the Brahmas took a 1-0 lead. They held that lead for the remainder of the game.

Six minutes later, Scott Sheppard scored on the powerplay with the assist by Grant Jacobsen and Tyler Skworchinski, giving the Brahmas a 2-0 lead. Odessa, not ready to surrender, scored on a 4-on-3 powerplay when Sebastien Thinel put a pass from Jeff Pierce by Jaeger.

Sheppard and Jacobsen teamed up again to put the puck in Tyler Skworchinski's path for another powerplay score at the 15:06 mark. Craig Minard and Justin Kinnunen fed a pass to Marc Belanger for another powerplay goal less than two minutes later. The Jacks' Kory Karlander cut into the Brahmas' three-goal lead with three seconds remaining in the period, scoring his second goal of the season off an assist from Jeff Pierce and Dave Van Drunen.

The third period belonged to the Brahmas who added three goals starting with Scott Sheppard’s second of the game, unassisted at the 4:09 mark. Matt Quinn scored next for Texas on the assist from Pete Rouleau and Marc Belanger at 12:37. Dominic Leveille would add one more for Odessa on assists from Brian Swiniarski and Russ Moyer at 17:38. The Brahmas led 6-3 when Grant Jacobsen scored a shorthanded goal at 16:54 on an assist from Sheppard.

The Brahmas record improved to 3-1-0 and they are now tied with Rio Grande Valley to lead the Southeast Division with 6 points each.

The key contributors to the game were Scott Sheppard and Grant Jacobsen. Both re-signed with the team on Thursday and played their first game together on Friday in Amarillo. Sheppard’s five point (2 G, 3 A) night earned him the first star. Jacobsen earned the second star with his four point (1 G, 3 A) performance. Each forward was a +3 in the game.

Sheppard sounds content with the way the team has come together in such a short time together.

“The first couple of games guys were just trying to feel each other out,” Sheppard told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “I think our line played well today and our power play has been semi-fair. When you get those chances you need to take advantage of them.”

The Brahmas were sound on the penalty kill, stopping eight of nine opportunities for the Jacks on the man-advantage. The bulls scored three goals in seven power play opportunities.

Brett Jaeger stopped 25 of 28 shots to improve his record to 3-0.

“Our defense has logged a lot of ice time the past two nights,” Brahmas coach Dan Wildfong told the Star-Telegram. “They did an exceptional job this weekend. They came out with a lot of energy.”

The Brahmas travel to Amarillo on Thursday to face the Gorillas for the second time this season at the Amarillo Civic Center. The game starts at 7:05pm.

See the box score here

See photos from the game here

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Texas Brahmas face undefeated Odessa team tonight

Bulls face a different animal than the pre-season Jackalopes

The Brahmas are coming off of a 4-3 victory in Amarillo last night where goaltender Brett Jaeger saved the win and defenseman Kevin McLeod added three assists to make him Texas' point leader with five so far this season.

The Brahmas have signed forward Topher Scott who will play in tonight's game. Forwards Mark Carragher, on IR with a groin pull, and Greg McConnell will sit this one out. Left Wing Brad Bonello has been traded to the Mississippi RiverKings.

Odessa comes into NYTEX with a 3-0-0 record. They lead all Southern Conference teams in wins to date.

The Jackalopes are a different animal than the Brahmas met in the pre-season. Odessa may have been the most impressive team on opening weekend, defeating the reigning CHL Champion Arizona Sundogs twice. Last night they defeated the New Mexico Scorpions 9-2 and they are hoping to make it four straight tonight. They have three forwards with seven points each (Collin Circelli, Sebastien Thinel and Jeff Pierce).

Rookie right wing Jean Bourbeau was called up to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL) on the 20th. In his two games played with the Jacks, Bourbeau scored three points (2 G, 1 A).

On Friday, the Jacks put goaltender Derek Dolson on waivers and signed forward Mike Ramsay and goaltender Alexandre Vincent. Ramsay played for the Jacks two in 2006-07 and put up 44 points (24 G, 20 A). He played for the Fresno Falcons (ECHL) last season, scoring 35 points (18 G, 17 A). Vincent will back up the red hot Juha Toivonen. The 6' 4", 214 pound Vincent was selected by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft (round 4, #114 overall). He played in 39 games for the Jacks last season and had a 2.79 goals against average and a .921 save percentage.

Rookie goaltender Juha Toivonen is the big story for Odessa. After 3 games, Toivonen, 21, has a 3-0-0 record with a 1.67 goals against average and a .946 save percentage. He's faced 92 shots and saved 87. Toivonen was the Oakley CHL Goaltender of the Week after his 46 saves beat the Arizona Sundogs on opening weekend.

Goaltending and penalty killing will be the key for the Brahmas tonight. Is that an understatement? I'll have more info, interviews and photos after tonight's game.

The game begins at 7:05pm. If you have a good reason not to be there, then catch it on Nifty-TV.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith
Texas Brahmas pull out a win against Amarillo

Defense, Jaeger hold off Gorillas in third period to secure 4-3 win

The Texas Brahmas won a close contest against the Amarillo Gorillas last night, taking a 4-3 win despite a strong effort by the Gorillas throughout the evening.

The Gorillas took the first lead in the game at the 2:05 mark when defenseman Nick Theriault, assisted by Jason Weitzel and Sam Ftorek, ripped a slapshot over Brett Jaeger's shoulder, taking advantage of the first Amarillo powerplay due to a hooking call against the Brahmas' Aaron Davis. Hooking was the penalty of the night as both teams combined were called 10 times for the infraction.

The Brahmas evened the score when forward Scott Sheppard, just activated for tonight's game, deflected a Justin Kinnunen centering pass behind Amarillo goaltender Ryan Scott to tie the game at one at the 5:43 mark. Kevin McLeod was also in on the assist during the power play.

Halfway through the period, the Brahmas went back on the powerplay and with just two seconds left on the man-advantage, forward Marc Belanger rushed the puck behind Scott to give the Brahmas a 2-1 lead. It was Belanger's third goal of the season. The Gorillas answered with another powerplay goal of their own when forward Joe Guenther took a cross-crease pass from Luke Lynes and placed it behind Brett Jaeger to even the score at 2-2. All four goals in the first period were made on the powerplay. The Brahmas were outshot 16-11 but despite allowing two goals, Brett Jaeger managed some great saves.

The Gorillas took the lead early in the third period when center Stuart MacRae, waived by the Brahmas after training camp, took a feed from Nick Theriault off the right wing boards and punched a backhand just under the outstretched arm of Brett Jaeger to give the Gorillas their final lead of the game at 3-2.

The Brahmas scored on a powerplay less than two minutes later when forward Aaron Davis netted his first goal of the season off of an assist by Gran Jacobsen and Kevin McLeod. Brett Jaeger fended off the attacking Gorillas for 16 minutes until Brahmas forward Pete Rouleau scored his first of the season with the assist by Mike Vellinga and Lance Galbraith.

It was all Brett Jaeger in the third period, despite a valiant effort by the Gorillas to try and even the game up. Jaeger stopped all 16 shots, including three that would've gone in in the last minute or so were it not for the athletic and sometimes miraculous play of the Brahmas netminder.

Brett Jaeger had 39 saves in a night when the Gorillas outshot the Brahmas 42-32. The win moves Jaeger to 2-0-0 on the season.

Defenseman Kevin McLeod was dynamic throughout the contest and added three more assists to bring him to five in three games played.

The Gorillas fall to 0-3-0 and face the undefeated Colorado Eagles tonight at home.

The Brahmas, 2-1-0, travel back to North Richland Hills for a re-match against their pre-season foe, the Odessa Jackalopes. The Game starts at 7:05pm.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Texas Brahmas looking for a win on the road

Bulls face winless Amarillo Gorillas at Cal Farley Coliseum

The Texas Brahmas are on the road for tonight's game against the Amarillo Gorillas. They are 1-1-0 after losing last Friday's season opener 5-1 on the road against the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs and then winning their home opener against the Mississippi RiverKings 4-2 on Saturday.

The Brahmas have made some roster changes prior to tonight's game. Defenseman Alex Grieg was traded to Amarillo on Saturday and the Brahmas acquired Ryan Waldner today from the Gorillas to take his place. Another defenseman, Ross Rouleau was put on waivers on Thurday.

Two of last season's prolific scoring forwards, Scott Sheppard and Grant Jacobsen have re-signed and now clear of immigration issues, are expected to play tonight. Forwards Marc Carragher and Greg McConnell will sit out tonight.

On defense, the Brahmas will look to improve on penalty killing after starting the season 15th in the league, allowing four powerplay goals in 12 chances (66.7% on the PK). Brett Jaeger, coming off the win against Mississippi, will start at goaltender.

The Gorillas lost a two-game series against the New Mexico Scorpions last weekend to open their season, including a 6-0 shutout at their home opener on Saturday. This after the Gorillas beat New Mexico twice in the pre-season.

With an 0-2-0 start, the Gorillas head coach Tom Coolen is hoping for a better game against the Brahmas.

"Texas has good goaltending and good scoring. We are going to have to play better, obviously, than we did last weekend, " Coolen told Amarillo.com's Dave Henry. "There were a lot of positives for us last week," Coolen said. "If our goaltending would have been better, we definitely would have won one of those games, without a question in my mind.

After Sebastien Jonsson and Simon Nielsen gave up 6 goals each in the first two games, Coolen will start rookie goaltender Ryan Scott tonight. Scott was in training camp with the NHL's Buffalo Sabres and was 1-1-0 with a 4.45 goals against average in three games played last season with the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL). He played for four years at SUNY-Oswego. On March 18, 2007, the Lakers won the 2006-07 NCAA Division III National Championship, the first NCAA championship ever for the school.

Amarillo has also made some roster changes, putting forwards Mark Black and Pat Lee and defenseman Jaime Wright on waivers this week. Forward Brett McConnachie, who was released before the season opener has re-signed and will play tonight. Left Wing Luke Lynes was assigned to the Gorillas on Wednesday by the Springfield Falcons (AHL). He is also expected to suit up against the Brahmas.

Coolen is hoping for some improvement from his defense and not just from goaltending.

"I'm more concerned about stopping goals, Coolen said. "We gave up too many soft goals. We broke down a few times defensively in our own zone that led to goals. That's what I'm more concerned with."

The game begins at 7:05 CST and can be watched on Nifty-TV
The final cut

Defenseman Ross Rouleau put on waivers

The Insider learned today that defenseman Ross Rouleau has been released and placed on waivers. Rouleau, 20, was the first member of "Making the Cut" to earn a spot on the Brahmas roster.

He is the second defenseman to depart the Brahmas. On the 18th, Alex Grieg was traded to the Amarillo Gorillas for future considerations.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A few minutes with...Kevin Kaminsky

The Mississippi RiverKings head coach talks about his new position, recruiting and the Texas Brahmas

Kevin Kaminsky was named head coach of the Mississippi RiverKings on July 2nd. Kaminski, 39, won a combined 73 regular-season games during the past two years with the Youngstown SteelHounds. He went 73-40-15 and advanced to the playoffs over the past two seasons he coached there.

When the SteelHounds were expelled from the Central Hockey League this past summer, Kaminsky found himself without a job for the 2008-09 season.

“Jobs are very scarce,” Kaminsky told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “Things in Youngstown were very, very good. (SteelHounds owner) Herb Washington treated me and my family unbelievably. Unfortunately, things kind of turned and here was an opportunity to stay in the CHL…I look forward to bringing a tradition that's demanding with the work ethic, demanding to get better as a person and as a hockey player each and every day," he said, "but also come to the rink with a great attitude and to have some fun. That's what I want to bring to Mississippi."

For Kaminski, a native of Churchbridge, Saskatchewan, this is his sixth season behind the bench. Kaminski was an assistant coach for the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks (AHL) from 2000-02, and he later coached the Long Beach Ice Dogs (ECHL) and the Missouri River Otters (UHL).

I spoke to Coach Kaminsky just before the Texas Brahmas home opener on October 18th.

Q: How has everything been with the RiverKings ownership group; are they giving you everything you need to build a winning program?

A: Everything's been good so far. We've got a salary cap and we have to be within it. I feel we've got our core veterans and we've got some very good young rookies to try and get that right chemistry, the right mixture to be successful. Everything's great. The ownership's been great to me and my family and we're excited to be there.

Q: There was a glut of players that headed to Europe during the off-season, including Ryan Campbell. Did you have any difficulty recruiting for the team this year versus last year?

A: We got three guys signed that were from last year. Obviously, I brought a handful of guys from Youngstown. I guess it would've been nice to get the job a little bit earlier and go after Ryan Held and Campbell. I think those were a couple of key guys that really had career years last year. I don't know how much negotiations there were between Mississippi and those two players. But they're overseas so what do you do? You work all your angles that you know; you're on the computer, you're on the phone working your connections. You know, I feel like we've got a pretty solid group here, like I said, with the veterans, the guys who've been around a few years and some of the rookies that have made the team. We look forward to having a good year, a very successful outcome and hopefully do some damage in the playoffs.

Q: Last season, the RiverKings had a three-game series against the Brahmas and we all know how that ended. How do you feel about your guys playing against the Brahmas this season?

A: Dan Wildfong puts together a good group. His team competes. He's molded it probably to his style of play. He's got two very solid goaltenders and some good D and forward-wise, leadership with Lance Galbraith. I think they've got some guys coming in yet, so you know it's a work in progress all the time but we expect to have our hands full for 60 minutes. We're going to try to be our road warriors ourselves and try and steal two points out of here.

Q: You've coached here before with Youngstown. How is it coming from a larger facility to a smaller venue like NYTEX to play, given the loudness of the crowd and the closeness and everything like that? Do you think that puts the spook on your players versus having a larger arena to play in?

A: Well obviously you've got to adjust quick. It does seem like a little smaller building but the game's played the same. You've got to execute your systems; you've got to execute the passing. Every game is played the same, so whoever works hard and crashes the net and gets to loose pucks; whoever wins the one-on-one battles throughout the night is usually going to win. But coming in here, it's a cold rink. I'll tell you that (laughing). One of the coldest in the league. It's hockey. It is what it is and our job here is to come in and take the two points and get back home to Mississippi.

The Brahmas won the home opener against Mississippi 4-2, giving both teams a 1-1-0 start to their seasons. The two teams will meet four more times this season at Mississippi for a two-game series on December 12-13 and on January 10th and then back at NYTEX on January 30th.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Insider Player Profile - Matt Quinn

Joins Texas Brahmas for his second pro season

Center Matt Quinn is one of the newest members of the Texas Brahmas offense. Quinn, 27, scored his first goal as a Brahma in the home opener against the Mississippi RiverKings and is listed among the CHL's 3 Star leaders on Pointstreak.com.

Last season, Quinn, a native of Timmons, Ontario, played with the Fresno Falcons (ECHL). In 63 games played, he scored 22 points (12 G, 10 A) with 63 penalty minutes served. He also played four games in the playoffs adding a goal to his total for the year. The Falcons lost in six games against the Utah Grizzlies.

Quinn played five seasons at Acadia University (CIS) in Wolfville, Nova Scotia and tallied 84 points (33 G, 41 A) and 75 penalty minutes during his career with the Axemen.

Prior to enrolling at Acadia, Quinn played two years of junior hockey with Rouyn-Noranda of the QMJHL, registering 51 points (26 G, 25 A) and 77 penalty minutes in 141 games played.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Insider Interview - Scott Sheppard

The high-scoring forward talks about returning for his fifth professional season with the Texas Brahmas

Scott Sheppard recently returned to North Richland Hills and will be re-joining the team as soon as some immigration details are finalized.

Sheppard, 25, began his career playing in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) for four seasons with the Kitchener Rangers, Ottawa 67’s and London Knights. In 262 games, he tallied 239 points (91 G, 148 A) and a mere 162 penalty minutes.

The Selkirk, Ontario native went pro and joined the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs for the 2004-05 season, scoring 50 points (27 G, 23 A) in 58 regular season games and adding 3 assists in 7 post-season contests. During the season, he also played in two games with the Rochester Americans (AHL).

Sheppard split the 2005-06 season between the Mudbugs and the Americans. He played 38 games with the Mudbugs and notched an amazing 57 points (38 G, 19 A) and 50 penalty minutes. He averaged a goal per game and led the team in power play goals with 17. Returning to the Americans, Sheppard played in 21 games and added another 12 points (5 G, 7 A) to his tally for the regular season. He re-joined the Mudbugs for their post-season , played in 15 games and scored 15 points (7 G, 8 A).

During the 2006-07 season, Sheppard moved to the ECHL, splitting time between the Trenton Titans and the Columbia Inferno. He tallied 18 points (5 G, 13 A) in 31 games played.

After the season ended, he went back to farming in Ontario. Persuaded by Blair Manning who had joined the resurgent Texas Brahmas, Sheppard was persuaded to sign on, re-uniting with several former Mudbugs and becoming a major contributor to the teams' success last season. In 48 regular season games, Sheppard scored 54 points (28 G, 26 A) with just 48 penalty minutes. He also recorded his 100th CHL goal during the season. During the playoff run, he played in all 14 games adding 15 points (13 G, 2 A) to his total for the year.

Sheppard returned to farming in the off-season, unsure if he would play for the Brahmas again this season but in the end, he decided to re-sign and has returned to NYTEX and is expected to begin playing again soon.

I spoke to Scott by phone on his farm in Canada just before he returned to North Richland Hills to re-join the team.

Q: Who brought you in with the Brahmas organization originally?

A: I played with Dan Wildfong and Forbes MacPherson so I was in contact with them but the main guy that I always talked to, and still do on a daily basis, is Blair Manning, the captain there last year. I was at a point where I was frustrated and I kind of had a tough go of it in the ECHL. I came home and started farming and was getting more involved and was starting to like it and he convinced me to come and play last year. It’s like anything, you have a good year and you get so close to go back to the finals. This year, I got the itch again and I came to terms with Coach Wildfong.

Q: How was the transition from the OHL to the CHL when you came to play for Bossier-Shreveport?

A: It wasn’t too bad. I felt like I prepared myself pretty well. I went to Rochester’s camp to begin with and went in good shape. It’s funny; I thought it would be a lot faster. I guess the only adjustment I really found was I always played for coaches that stressed offense, offense, offense. When I got to the professional level, all they stress is defense, defense, defense. That was really for me the biggest adjustment. Musky in Shreveport there was always known as a defensive coach. His record shows it, as you know his goalie averages, the penalty kills and stuff like that. Fonger is not too far behind. He has the same mentality. As you can see, defense wins hockey games. Musky is usually a 40-game winner every year and last year, in Fonger’s first year, he won 40, too.

Q: Coming in with the Brahmas last season, you had a few guys that you played with that were also former Mudbugs. Minard, Manning and Cacciola to name a few. Did that make the transition easier, coming on board with guys that you have known and played with before?

A: It does. I think that kind of helped us get off to our start too. You had a new coach, a new assistant coach and those few guys, and this new team that took a year off and you have to bring 20 new guys in. You can kind of start and core yourself around six or seven guys like Dan did. I thought we were big contributors the year we were with Bossier-Shreveport. But we went to the finals. We had Cash in the net who came on in the end of the season and won us a lot of hockey games and won us a lot through the playoff stretch that year. That was a big signing for Fonger last year. When you start your defense out with one of the best goalies in the league, it makes your team stronger to begin with. It was definitely an easy transition when you get guys like that on board and are able to start with that kind of group of guys.

Q: Was it a big adjustment looking at Fonger as a head coach rather than a fellow player?

A: It was at first because your still of that mentality that you guys are buddy buddy and you hang out all the time, as players are used to and now you have to draw a line. You still can have fun and enjoy the game, be able to joke around with him. When it comes down to the final say, he’s the boss; he’s got to make the decisions. Also, he’s the one that has everything riding on his back; he’s the head guy. As friends, you only want to see him succeed.

Q: Were you surprised that you guys did so well last year or did you have a pretty good level of confidence coming in to the season?

A: Its’ tough. You never really know. You can have a good team on paper and then you get going and there’s just stuff that just doesn’t get clicking or you don’t get any balance. I thought we might not have had the best team on paper, but we all had a good work ethic and we worked hard every night and you keep going for 60 minutes. It frustrates the other team more than anything. When they get frustrated, they’re taking penalties. We had our skill guys like Jordan Cameron and Jacobsen and Stromer. They were 30-goal guys and when given the opportunity on the power play, they would come through. That’s what won us a lot of our hockey games.

Q: Going through the season and through the playoffs, obviously it wasn’t the desired outcome for the Brahmas last season, but did you feel pretty good about what you all had accomplished?

A: Yeah, You’ve got to feel good every year at the end of the season. You have to try and pull as many positives out of it as you can. Looking back, we went up to Colorado and we lost the first two and then came back and split wins and then we win game five and we go back to one of the toughest arenas to play in and we won game six and then we lost 3-2 in game seven. It’s a heartbreaker, but you have to take the positives out of it. We played well as a team and we stuck together. We stuck to our guns and our game plan. It was a frustrating way to end the season but that’s why there’s 08-09. We’ve got to go back out and get back on the horse and start riding again and see how we make out.

Q: The team has a different face this year obviously with Anders over in Denmark and Jordan over in Germany. Blair’s not coming back aboard this year. Are you going to miss having him to play alongside this season?

A: Oh yeah, we’ve always played well together. He’s not a guy to like to shoot the puck a lot and I’m not a guy that really likes to skate and carry the puck much, so it worked out good that way and I always liked to shoot the puck, so we were a pretty duo to keep together. It’ll be an adjustment. I’ll miss the guy, that’s for sure. There are lots of other good hockey players out there too and we’ll just have to make adjustments and go from there.

Q: Looks like Chris Thompson is not coming back this season either. Do you keep in touch with Chris?

A: No. Last year at the end of the season I heard he was going was going home to Saskatchewan. I think he’s tied in with the oil industry out there. To know exactly what he’s doing, I’d be lying to tell you something. I’m sure he said something to do with the oil rigs anyway, whether it’s repairing them or drilling…I’m 90% sure he was doing something with the oil business out west.

Q: Are you familiar with some of the new players Fonger has brought onto the team this season?

A: Lance Galbraith, I played against in the ECHL so I’m familiar with him. Brad Bonello, guys like that that I played in the OHL. Then we got our D corps back and we got our two tenders which is a really good start again. Some of the other guys, you hear the names in the league but I don’t know too much about them.

Q: What did you think of the Brahmas fans and playing at NYTEX?

A: It’s like any city you go into. It’s always the same I find, when you go city to city. When you play in the OHL, you go to Ottawa and you think that they are the best fans you could ever play in front of. You get 8-10,000 fans out to a game and they’re yelling and going crazy and then I got traded to London and you’re thinking you don’t know how it’s going to end up and you know we’re getting 9,200 fans there yelling – it’s the same in Texas, you have your same fans that are really loyal and they’re there every game win or lose.

It would be nice if we played in a larger arena like in Shreveport or Colorado but our rink’s got its own signature to it. There’s a lot of teams that didn’t like coming to play us last year at our arena because we were a big group of guys that could skate. We were really good with the puck and we didn’t lay off any hits and it makes it tough game for a team coming into a barn that they already don’t want to come to because it’s a smaller facility. I definitely think it played to our advantage last year.

Q: Are you going to be able to handle the bus rides this year?

A: I hope so. I made a few purchases to see if we can make bus trips a little shorter. I usually like to stay up and harass guys and give them a hard time.

Q: A number of Brahmas fans I’ve spoken to were happy to know that you were coming back. Do you have anything in particular you’d like to tell the fans?

A: I’m excited to see them all and get the season rolling. Hopefully everything goes good here and we get off to a good start and we can start winning some hockey games and get back on the roll we finished on last year. Hopefully they’ll all be there to support us.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith
Insider Player Profile - Marc Belanger

St. Norbert College star forward making an early impression on Texas Brahmas fans

Just two games into the season, rookie forward Marc Belanger is making a positive impact on the Brahmas offense with 2 goals on nine shots.

Belanger, 25, made his first impression on Brahmas fans during the pre-season match against the Odessa Jackalopes. When a slashing penalty against Odessa :45 into overtime put the Brahmas on the power play, Belanger took advantage of the situation and scored the game winner on the Brahmas only shot of the overtime period.

He had six shots in the Brahmas season opening match against the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs. In the home opener against the Mississippi RiverKings, Belanger had three shots, scoring a pair of third period goals, including the game-winner at 15:05 of the final period, to go with an empty-netter with three-seconds remaining in the game.

The 6' 2" 200 pound forward played for the St. Norbert College Green Knights (NCAA) during the past four years. Belanger, a Nanaimo, British Columbia native, played a key role in St. Norbert capturing their first NCAA Division III ice hockey championship this past March. The Green Knights finished the season with a 27-1-4 overall record and ended the year with a 29-game unbeaten streak.

The Green Knights, who beat Norwich University 3-0 in the national semifinals, became the first team in NCAA Division III history to post shutouts in both games in the NCAA Frozen Four. St. Norbert finished the year allowing just 43 goals in 32 games, with its scoring defense of 1.34 goals allowed per game setting a new NCAA Division III record.

Playing in all 32 games, Belanger scored in 28 of them, tallying 45 points (23 G, 22 A). A two-time first-team All-Northern Collegiate Hockey Association selection, Belanger scored a point in 37 of his past 41 collegiate games (52 points on 29 G, 23 A). His 132 career points ranks seventh and his 62 career goals fourth all-time in school history.

He scored game winning goals and produced 10 powerplay goals during the season. Belanger also scored 13 goals and 13 assists for 26 points during a 16-game streak from November 11th through January 26th.

He was a first-team All-America selection in 2007 and 2008 by the American Hockey Coaches Association, and was a first-team All-America honoree in 2008 by U.S. College Hockey Online.

In June, Belanger was named to the 2008 College Division Academic All-America at-large second team as sponsored by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) and ESPN The Magazine.

Before attending St. Norbert, Belanger played in the British Columbia Hockey League for both the Nanaimo Clippers and Penticton Panthers.

His younger brother, Erick Belanger, 21, played four years with the Clippers and is now a defenceman at Ohio State (NCAA Division I).

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Forward Mark Belanger celebrates the game-winning goal with Tyler Skworchinski and Kevin McLeod

Texas Brahmas win home opener

Welcome the Mississippi RiverKings back to NYTEX with a 4-2 victory

The Texas Brahmas shook off the monkey off their backs from Friday night's loss to the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs and thrilled the hometown crowd of 2,104 with a win over the Mississippi RiverKings.

It was the first meeting between the two teams since the Brahmas defeated the RiverKings two games to one in the first round of last seasons playoffs. Under new head coach Kevin Kaminsky and coming off a season opening victory over the Wichita Thunder, the RiverKings could not put it together on either offense or defense.

The Brahmas came out swinging in a physical first period that saw 12 penalties including three on the Brahmas' enforcer Lance Galbraith for 17 minutes. Taking advantage of the powerplay after Mississippi defenseman Dane Marshall drew their fifth penalty, Galbraith drew first blood on the powerplay with a wrap-around goal at the 14:10 mark, assisted by Aaron Davis and Brad Bonello. The rough play continued and Galbraith was penalized for a board checking major at the horn and received a game misconduct. The Brahmas outshot the RiverKings 15-3 in the first period.

The RiverKings' Garrett Larson, assisted by Jeff Nelson and David Simoes, finally put one past Brett Jaeger at the 13:57 mark in the second to even the score at 1-1. Matt Quinn gave the Brahmas the lead back with four seconds to go in the second, putting one past RiverKings goaltender Kevin Beech off of a feed by Mark Carragher. It was Quinn's first goal as a Texas Brahma.

The RiverKings' Garret Larson evened the score again with the assist from Stephan Margeson and Davis Simoes but their defense had no answer for Marc Belanger, who provided the Brahmas' firepower in the third period. Belanger scored a pair goals, including the game-winner at 15:05 of the final period, assisted by Tyler Skworchinski and Kevin McLeod. He finished the RiverKings off with an unassisted empty-netter with three seconds remaining.

"I was trying to make a second effort to go after it," Belanger told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "...but I watched it roll in at about half a mile per hour. It just went off my stick enough and the goalie, I don’t know how he didn’t recover."

Both teams had a single powerplay in the second and third periods but failed to convert.

Mississippi special teams failed to convert on all five of their powerplay opportunities. Kevin Beech took the loss for the RiverKings with 31-save effort.

Brett Jaeger stopped 18 of 20 shots and recorded his first victory of the season.

The Brahmas stayed after the game to sign autographs and meet with fans in the lobby of the NYTEX Sports Centre. The Brahmas will go on the road for their next game against the Amarillo Gorillas on Friday, October 24th. The team will return to NYTEX on Saturday the 25th for a re-match against their pre-season foe, the Odessa Jackalopes.

Photos from the game can be viewed here

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Jason Deitsch recalled by the Houston Aeros

Texas Brahmas forward Jason Deitsch will not play in tonight's home opener as he has been recalled by the Houston Aeros (AHL). The Aeros are looking for their third win in a row as they take on the San Antonio Rampage tonight.

The Aeros Krys Kolanos was recalled by the Minnesota Wild (NHL) yeaterday creating the need for Deitsch's return. Deitsch attended the Aeros' training camp and played in a pre-season game on October 3rd.

Update from the Houston Aeros website:

Houston took a one goal lead when Jason Deitsch - who joined the club only hours before the puck dropped – scored on a breakaway as he faked forehand and flipped a backhand past Rampage netminder Josh Tordjman.

Houston won the game in an 8-6 scoring frenzy and have now won four staright to start the season.

Image Credit: Houston Aeros

Friday, October 17, 2008

Texas Brahmas steamrolled in 2008-09 season opener

Mudbugs special teams score four powerplay goals in 5-1 win dedicated to a special fan

"Flat out, we don't like them. We don't like that we lost out to them in the playoffs. I can't think of a better team to start out with because we don't like them and we want to beat them."

- Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs Head Coach Scott Muscutt (to the Shreveport Times' Kelly Morris before the game)

With 5,201 fans in attendance at the CenturyTel Center, the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs dominated the Texas Brahmas in a lop-sided 5-1 victory to open up the 2008-09 season. It was a big win for the Mudbugs who fell hard in a four game sweep by the Brahmas in last seasons Northern Conference semifinals.

But the win had another facet. An emotionally charged pregame tribute to 12-year old George Cloutier and other Mudbugs fans who passed in the off-season gave the night some perspective and the Mudbugs another motive for a win with some of Cloutier's family members in attendance. After the game, the Mudbugs awarded the game puck to his father, Chuck.

"I can't describe the feelings and the emotions," George's dad, Chuck Cloutier told the Shreveport Times. "I thank God for every minute my family has spent around the Mudbugs."

The Mudbugs looked shaky in the first period until defenseman Dale Lupul opened up the scoring with a powerplay goal at the 12:27 mark with the assist from Simon Mangos and Kevin Cooper. Three minutes later, Tyler Skworchinski tied it up with a feed from Kevin McLeod and Pete Rouleau.

The play in the first remained aggressive and several Mudbugs seemed to target Brahmas enforcer Lance Galbraith; especially team captain Chris Brassard who seemed to be looking for a new foe on the Brahmas squad with Chris Thompson gone.

Penalties had the Brahmas in trouble in the second period, in which Bossier was able to convert on two powerplays. The first was an unassisted wrap around by Kevin Cooper at the 6:51 mark followed by an impressive set up by Evgeny Saidachev in which he put the puck behind the net and then hassled Brahmas goaltender David Cacciola long enough to leave an open net for Chris Brassard to slap the puck in.

The Brahmas could not find a way to beat Ken Carroll in the second period despite out shooting the Mudbugs 26-16. Cacciola stopped 13 of 15 shots in the second before Head Coach Dan Wildfong made a change, bringing in Brett Jaeger. Despite the change, Texas gave up one more goal in the period and went back into the locker room for the second intermission down 4-1.

Frustration continued to build for Texas and it began to show as the physical play picked up in the final period. 6-foot-2, 203-pound forward Neil Clark, who was just signed and activated by the Mudbugs on Friday afternoon, dropped the gloves and mauled the Brahmas’ Greg McConnell.

One of the biggest hits came in the third period. Mudbugs defenseman Quade Lightbody hit Brahmas alternate captain Lance Galbraith along the boards. A penalty against Galbraith for interference set up the final powerplay that allowed Neil Poulsen to seal the win with his first career professional goal at the 18:22 mark with an assist from Brett Smith and Chris Brassard.

Although the penalty numbers were equal for both teams (19 minutes on 8 infractions each) the Mudbugs special teams were the sters of the night, scoring on 4 of 7 powerplay opportunities and killing off 6 of 7 Brahmas powerplay chances.

Mudbugs goaltender Ken Carroll was solid all night, stopping 37 of 38 shots to earn the win. It was a bittersweet win for Carroll who not only gave lessons to George Cloutier, the youngster also wore his number 34 as a goaltender for the Cajun Catahoulas. He even used Carroll's stick.

"I don't even know how to put it into words. To have his dad come down; he's an inspiration for us right now," Carroll told the Shreveport Times. "There is no sense holding (the tears) back. Tonight was his night. It wasn't our night."

"We kind of patted ourselves on the back after the first period," Brahmas coach Dan Wildfong told the Times. "We didn't play within our systems and got away from a lot of things. They have a great team. If you don't come to compete against them on every shift every night, that's what's going to happen to you."

The Brahmas boarded the bus for the ride back to the NYTEX Sports Centre and will begin preparing in the morning for their home opener against the Mississippi RiverKings who are coming off a 3-2 opening night win against the Wichita Thunder.

Photo credit: Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs
Texas Brahmas opening day roster set

Eleven forwards and six defensemen listed for Friday's season opener

The Texas Brahmas Hockey Club has released its' opening day roster for the 2008-09 season.

Listed at goaltender are David Cacciola and Brett Jaeger.

The defense will consist of veterans Craig Minard and Mike Vellinga joined by Justin Kinnunen, Kevin McLeod, Matt Hanson and newcomer Ross Rouleau.

The offense will include veterans Lance Galbraith and Aaron Davis joined by Jason Deitsch, Tyler Skworchinski, Greg McConnell, Mark Carragher, Brad Bonello, Pete Rouleau, Marc Belanger, Matt Quinn and Matt Burto.

The roster will change when forwards Scott Sheppard and Grant Jacobsen and defenseman Chris Mann re-join the team.

"I believe we have assembled a team with great depth this season. We have set our expectations for this year very high." Brahmas Head Coach Dan Wildfong told the Dallas Morning News.

This season the Texas Brahmas will be under the leadership of newly appointed captain, veteran defenseman Craig Minard. Wearing the "A" for the purple and black will be defenseman Justin Kinnunen and forward Lance Galbraith.

In order for the fans to be acquainted to the 2008-09 team, all Texas Brahmas players will be available for a special autograph session in the main lobby following Saturday night’s game.

You can download a copy of the opening day roster here

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Former Texas Brahma Blair Manning to play in South Dakota

Veteran forward traded to the expansion Rapid City Rush

It had been rumoured that Blair Manning was to play in Rapid City this season but there was no confirmation until today when his name appeared on the roster on Pointstreak.com and also on the Internet Hockey Database website. In a press release today, the Brahmas announced that they had traded Manning to the Rush for future considerations.

Manning, 33, will be entering his 13th season as a professional this year.

Manning tallied 63 points (11 G, 52 A) and 60 penalty minutes, playing in all 64 regular season matches as team captain for the Brahmas last year. Manning also played in all 14 post-season matches, adding another 14 points (3 G, 11 A) to his numbers on the year.

Throughout the off-season, all indications were that Manning would not be returning to the Brahmas for the 2008-09 season and may be hanging up his skates for good.

There have been no press releases, news stories or mention of Manning's role with the Rapid City Rush on the teams' website to date. Additional information will be reported once it has been obtained.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Brahmas Notes
  • The 2008-09 Texas Brahmas program and a separate media guide will be available for sale at Saturday's season opener.

  • 200,000 new pocket schedules have begun to be distributed throughout Tarrant County as well as new posters which will be visible throughout Northeast Tarrant County during the next week.

  • You will soon see Texas Brahmas banners in North Richland Hills on both Mid Cities Boulevard and North Tarrant Parkway.

  • KRLD, ESPN, and The Ticket will give Brahmas scores generally. The Ticket will be doing a live remote all day in late November at one of the Brahmas home games and at the NYTEX facility.

    Image Credit: Texas Brahmas

Defenseman Ross Rouleau enjoys a Texas Renegades game on Sunday

The Waiting is the hardest part

With the league deadline for the final roster coming tomorrow, Texas Brahmas prospects wait to hear if they will make the team

Texas Brahmas Head Coach Dan Wildfong is waiting until the last moment to release his final roster of 19 players - the number required by the league's deadline of tomorrow, October 16.

Wildfong made four cuts from the training camp roster last Friday, releasing forwards Zech Klann, Mark Van Vliet, Andrew Scampoli and defenseman Sheldon Wing.

I spoke with defenseman Ross Rouleau at the Texas Renegades game on Sunday and he seemed anxious to learn his fate but at the same time understood that there was nothing he could do but wait.

"I'm just going to keep going to practice and hope for the best" Rouleau said.

With what little information is available, the Insider believes the following will occur:

The Brahmas have the goaltending tandem of David Cacciola and Brett Jaeger set and will waive Matt Ezzy who has already left for Ottawa.

The Brahmas defensive corps will be anchored by veterans Craig Minard and Mike Vellinga and will include Chris Mann, Justin Kinnunen, Matt Hanson and Kevin McLeod. Wildfong will decide between Ross Rouleau and Alex Grieg unless Chris Mann is unable to play this season (He did not report to training camp). Then both may remain with the team.

The Insider's pick: Ross Rouleau

The offense will be anchored by Veterans Lance Galbraith and Aaron Davis and will include Jason Deitsch, Scott Sheppard, Greg McConnell, Mark Carragher, Tyler Skworchinski and Pete Rouleau. Marc Belanger, Brad Bonello, Matt Quinn and Matt Burto and Stuart Macrae will compete for the remaining spots.

The Insider's picks: Brad Bonello, Stuart MacRae

Once the final cuts are announced, the Brahmas will make ready for the 3 1/2 hour bus ride to the CenturyTel Center in Bossier City, Louisiana where they will open their season this Friday against the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs, followed by the home opener Saturday at the NYTEX Sports Center against the Mississippi RiverKings.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith