Saturday, November 21, 2009

Insider Preview: Texas Brahmas at Laredo Bucks

Brahmas seek first win against the Bucks this season

The Texas Brahmas are in Laredo for the third and final stop on the "On the Border" road trip which has resulted in a 7-3 win over Odessa on Thursday night and a 5-2 loss to Rio Grande Valley last night.

The Bucks had their season-high four game winning streak snapped in Friday’s 4-3 shootout loss to Odessa, but picked a point to remain in third place in the Southern Conference (Laredo enters tonight two points behind Allen for second). The Brahmas (6-7-2, 14 points) are in fifth place (two points behind Rio Grande Valley for fourth place) in the Southern Conference.

Six of the Bucks last seven games have been decided by one goal, including the last five straight. Overall this season the Bucks are 4-0-3 in one-goal contests.

The Bucks went 4-4 against the Brahmas last season, winning three of the four games in either overtime or a shootout.

Tonight marks the return of former Buck James Hiebert, but the first time he has worn visiting colors in the LEC. Hiebert was a fan favorite in Laredo, and has played parts of six seasons in the Gateway City helping the Bucks win two President’s Cup Championships. Hiebert’s name is scattered across the Bucks record books, as he is third in Bucks history in goals (87), third in assists (164) and fourth in points (228).

"I'm definitely looking forward to it," Hiebert told the Laredo Morning Times' Joy Lindsay. "Any time you play against a team you played for, you want to get a win. Obviously, it's important for our team to do that and get on the horse to get into the race for first place. That's our goal right now...I'm not too sure how the fans will react. Hopefully they'll receive me well."

Get on the horse indeed. The Brahmas have generally had success after a loss this season. They can definitely use a win tonight, lest they fall further in the rankings.

The Bucks' three top scorers are Jeff Bes (F) with 17 points (5 G, 12 A, -2), Maxime Lincourt with 12 points (6 G, 6 A, +4) and Darryl Smith (F) with 11 points (5 G, 6 A, 0). Their leading defensive scorer is Mike Looby with eleven points (4 G, 7 A, -5).

Their leading goon is Robin Richards (F) with 39 penalty minutes.

The Bucks are ranked second in the league on the power play with a 27.69 percentage and fifth on the penalty kill with a 85.29 percentage.

I expect we'll see Jean-Phillipe Levasseur (6-0-2) in goal tonight.

Neil Trimm (F) is out on injured reserve but the Bucks are otherwise healthy.

The Brahmas’ top three scorers are AJ Gale (F) with 14 points (8 G, 6 A, +2), Grant Jacobsen (F) with 11 points (7 G, 5 A, -1) and Jordan Cameron (F) with 11 points (4 G, 7 A, -1). Their leading defensive scorer remains Kevin McLeod with 10 points (5 G, 5 A, -1).

They are ranked 14th in the league on the power play with an 10.75 percentage and 12th on the penalty kill with an 79.80 percentage. They lead the league with five short-handed goals.

Joe Palmer (3-2-2) is my guess to start for the Brahmas.

Anders Strome (F) is still out on injured reserve (foot) but the Brahmas are otherwise healthy.

Massey Ratings predicts a Bucks win. They were right last night about the Bees winning. They were wrong on Thursday about the Jacks winning. We'll see what happens tonight at the LEC.

You can watch the game on CHL-TV or listen on Internet radio here. Either way, you will get a great play-by-play by Bucks' media guy, Brian Benway.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

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