Friday, November 20, 2009

Brahmas take down the Jackalopes in Ector County

Spirited play leads to 7-3 road win

Paul Gillis and the Odessa Jackalopes were brought back down to earth after their recent eight game winning streak by the Texas Brahmas last night at the Ector County Coliseum. Forwards Grant Jacobsen, James Hiebert, Matt Burto and Jordan Cameron finished the night with three points apiece and Brett Jaeger stopped 15 of 18 shots for his third victory of the season.

The Brahmas record improves to 6-6-2 (.500) tying them with Rio Grande Valley with 14 points for fourth place in the Southern Conference. This was a huge win for the Brahmas and a huge loss for the Jackalopes (from a psychological standpoint, if not in the standings), who probably thought this was going to be their ninth consecutive win.

The Brahmas opened up the scoring when a wrist shot by Elias Godoy from the left circle deflected into the air and hit the body of Jason Deitsch. Deitsch sent the puck into the back of the net past a stunned Juha Toivonen for the 1-0 lead at the 5:27 mark.

James Hiebert made it 2-0 after his redirection effort bounced into the air and past Toivonen at the 16:22 mark.

The first period ended with a 8-5 shot advantage for the Brahmas. Odessa special teams killed off two power plays but their offense was unable to get anything going.

The Brahmas didn't take long to find the back of the net again in the opening minutes of the middle frame. AJ Gale and Grant Jacobsen set up a goal by Jordan Cameron to make it a 3-0 game at the 2:31 mark.

Defenseman Luke Sellars dropped the gloves with Odessa thug Garrett Gruenke eight minutes into the period. I'm wondering if it's a pre-requisite for Gruenke to fight a Brahma in every match up. Both would of course receive five-minute Fighting Majors for their efforts.

Odessa finally caught a break after a hooking call on Justin Kinnunen led to their first goal as Alex Dunn slapped a shot from the point through traffic and past Brett Jaeger to make it a 3-1 game at the 14:25 mark. Dominic Leveille and Kory Karlander were in on the assist.

A few minutes later, Odessa scored another power play goal off a wrister by Kory Karlander to bring them within one at the 17:52 mark. Mike Lesperance and Juha Toivonen were credited with the assist.

Odessa's surge would be cut short just 14 seconds later when a turnover picked up by Grant Jacobsen led to a quick strike by Jordan Cameron to make it 4-2 at the 18:06 mark. AJ Gale was also in on the assist. Less than a minute later, the Brahmas struck again when James Hiebert took possession of the puck and sent it to Kevin McLeod who took it up the ice. A pass to Matt Burto led to his second goal of the season and the 5-2 lead at the 18:57 mark.

Once again, the Brahmas led the shot count with a 11-9 advantage in the middle frame and 19-14 through 40 minutes. They failed to convert on several power play opportunities but that would soon change.

The Brahmas dominated the third period which saw aggressive play from the frustrated Jackalopes (who were called for three infractions in the opening minutes of the period), but the Brahmas didn't back down. Odessa defenseman Michael Grenzy took on James Hiebert at the 9:56 mark which led to a two-minute Fighting (Instigator), a five-minute Fighting Major and a 10-minute Fighting (Instigator) Game Misconduct. Hiebert received two minutes for Charging.

The resulting power play led to a Grant Jacobsen goal, his sixth of the year. Jordan Cameron and Kevin Mcleod assisted to give the Brahmas a 6-2 lead at the 10:31 mark.

An interference call on James Hiebert led to a power play tally for Odessa when Paul Kelly scored off the assist from Mike Ramsay and Alex Dunn at the 16:34 mark but it was too little, too late for the Jackalopes.

After Alex Dunn was called for slashing, the Brahmas scored the final goal on the power play when Matt Burto, assisted by Kevin McLeod and James Hiebert, sent the puck past Toivonen to make it a 7-3 final score and a decisive victory for the Brahmas.

The Brahmas had an astounding 22-4 shot advantage in the final period and a 41-18 final shot count to hand the Jackalopes their worst loss of the season.

Brett Jaeger stopped 15 of 18 shots for his third victory of the season. His record is now 3-4-0. Juha Toivonen made 34 saves on 41 shots and took the loss, his worst since facing the Brahmas in the Southern Conference Finals. His record goes to 6-1-0.

The Brahmas went 2 for 10 on the power play. Odessa went 3 for 5. The Brahmas were assessed 21 minutes on 9 infractions; Odessa received 40 minutes on 13 infractions.

The 3rd Star of the game went to Odessa's Kory Karlander (crock)for a goal and an assist (big whoop). The 2nd Star was awarded to Grant Jacobsen who had a goal and and two assists and the 1st Star went to Jordan Cameron who had two goals and an assist on the night.

You can view the box score here


  • Wow, now that's the Brahmas team we remember from last season. What looked like a difficult road trip now looks like a possible three win venture if the boys can feed off of the energy of that win and take down the Killer Bees tonight (they lost to Corpus Christi on Tuesday) and the Bucks (who have been off since Sunday night, when they won their second in a row against Rio) tomorrow night.
  • AJ Gale's two assists brought his point count to 13 (7 G, 3 A). He still leads all rookies in the CHL in goals, assists (tied with Rio's Sean Muncy) and points. He also leads in power play goals (2) and shots (39).
  • The Brahmas two power play tallies lifted them off the cellar floor (just above Wichita) to a 10.34 percentage.

Honorable mention - Rookie Mike Willemsen, who was picked up by the Allen Americans after being waived by the Brahmas on Wednesday, scored a hat trick against the Arizona Sundogs last night at the Allen Events Center. Way to go, Mike!

The Brahmas are at the Dodge Arena in Hidalgo, Texas where they will Take on the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees tonight with a 7:05pm opening face-off.

Fans can catch all the action pay-per-view through CHL-TV (Rio has a nice feed) or can attend the game watching party at ZuRoma Bar and Grill at the NYTEX Sports Centre.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

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