This was easily one of the best performances by the Texas Brahmas this season. Unfortunately, it ended in a shootout loss to the Allen Americans on Saturday night at the Allen Events Center.
First of all, a round of applause for Brahmas defenseman Kevin McLeod who scored his first professional hat trick with a goal in each period in regulation. McLeod now leads all defensemen in goals scored (9) this season. Then, in the overtime period, he was struck in the ear by a puck and would end up with over 80 stitches. Let's not forget that "Marv" was the Brahmas leading defensive scorer last season and was the number nine scoring defenseman in the league with 50 points (20 G, 30 A, +19).
The first period set the tone for the game - lots of action, physical play and great defense on both sides.
The Brahmas got on the scoreboard first after a High Sticking call on Mick Berge gave them a man advantage. Kevin McLeod, assisted by Craig Minard and Jordan Cameron, beat Charlie Effinger to the back of the net at the 8:56 mark.
The Americans, who would have five power plays in the first frame, capitalized on a tripping call on Tyrell Mason to score the equalizer at the 14:25 mark. Nino Musitelli and Erik Adams combined to set up a play for Justin Bowers who was able to beat Brett Jaeger with a shot from the right circle.
A couple of minutes later, a collision with Charlie Effinger would leave the Brahmas down a man for the remainder of the game.
James Hiebert took possession of the buck near center ice and was on a breakaway when Effinger came way out of the crease to challenge him. And I mean way out of the crease. As Hiebert approached with very little time to react to Effinger's journey, Effinger dropped his shoulder and the two met shoulder to shoulder. Effinger dropped to the ice in dramatic fashion and slipped off his helmet while Hiebert was molested by Ryan Fairbarn. After a few minutes with the trainer, Effinger regained his composure and continued in net. Hiebert was assessed a five minute Charging Major and a 10 minute Charging Game Misconduct. Fairbarn was given two minutes for roughing.
The Brahmas had the 10-8 shot advantage in the first. Although he finished out the period, Charlie Effinger went to the locker room and did not return to the game. Chris Whitley would finish out the game in net for the Americans.
Kurtis Dulle scored at the 1:48 mark of the second period to give Allen a 2-1 lead. He was assisted by Justin Bowers and Bruce Graham.
Kevin McLeod would net his second goal of the game off a pass from Jordan Cameron to tie the game at two at the 6:11 mark.
There would be no further scoring in the second frame and the Brahmas special teams would kill off the only Allen power play of the period. The Brahmas led the shot count again in the second, this time 12-8.
The third period was almost completely dominated by the Brahmas who had a 14-4 shot advantage but it was Allen's Nino Musitelli who struck first, giving the American a 3-2 lead at the 1:06 mark. Justin Bowers and Ryan Fairbarn were credited with the assist.
A little over six minutes later, Kevin McLeod would score his third of the night to tie the game again at the 7:17 mark. Ross Rouleau and Jordan Cameron assisted.
The game went into overtime but there was no scoring and the winner would be decided by shootout. Allen would score with their first three shots (Bruce Graham, Justin Bowers and Ryan Fairbarn. Jason Reese and then Anders Strome were unsuccessful but Jordan Cameron and Matt Burto beat Chris Whitley to get the Brahmas back into contention. It was up to Grant Jacobsen but Whitley slid across the crease to make the save and this one was over, 5-4 Americans. The Brahmas at least took home a point for their effort.
Chris Whitley made 26 saves on 28 shots and earned the win. His record goes to 8-2-1. Charlie Effinger finished the 1st period and made nine saves on 10 shots. Brett Jaeger had 18 saves on 21 shots and takes the loss. His record goes to 3-6-1.
The Brahmas went 1 for 4 on the power play. Allen went 1 for 7. The Brahmas were assessed 26 minutes on 7 infractions; Allen received 10 minutes on 5 infractions.
The 3rd Star of the game went to Kevin McLeod for the hat trick. The 2nd Star was awarded to Chris Whitley for his efforts in goal and the 1st Star went to Nino Musitelli with a goal and an assist on the night.
Photo Credit: Robert Keith