Friday, November 20, 2009

Insider Preview: Texas Brahmas @ Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees

Second of three against the Bees this season tonight at the Dodge Center

The Texas Brahmas are in Hidalgo, Texas for tonight's game against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees at the Dodge Center tonight. This is the second of three games against the Bees this season. The last game, as you probably remember, was a 5-2 win for the Bees at NYTEX last Saturday night. The Bees' fortunes have gone South since then with a 3-2 shootout loss to Laredo (on the road) last Sunday and a 3-2 loss to Corpus Christi (at home) on Tuesday.

The Brahmas are coming off last night's huge 7-3 win against Odessa. This is their second of three road game during their "On the Border" tour. They face the Laredo Bucks tomorrow night.

Saturday night's game at NYTEX saw some very aggressive play from a very good Killer Bee team. I don't think they are a better team than the Brahmas, but if they bring their A game, it should be a good contest tonight. The Brahmas definitely need to build off of the momentum created after last night's win. A strong 60 minutes will be needed with every shift played aggressively. Special teams improvement is a must. The Brahmas allowed three power play goals last Saturday. The Tony's need to be on guard tonight.

It's $1.50 beer night at the Dodge Center, so they should have a rowdy crowd.

The Bees' three top scorers are Jesse Bennefield (LW) with 17 points (8 G, 9 A, +2), Daymen Rycroft with 17 points (4 G, 13 A, 0) and Grant Goeckner-Zoeller (F) with 16 points (7 G, 9 A, 0). Goeckner-Zoeller had two goals last Saturday against the Brahmas. Their leading defensive scorer is Nathan Ansell with eight points (1 G, 7 A, -4).

Their leading goon is Daymen Rycroft with 19 penalty minutes and a lot of dirty play. Watch out for Jesse Bennefield also - he took away a nice gash on the cheek at NYTEX last weekend.

The Bees are ranked eighth in the league on the power play with a 16.67 percentage and 11th on the penalty kill with a 80.26 percentage.

I expect we'll see Andy Franck (3-3-2) in goal tonight but Chris Brooks started Wylie Rogers (3-2-0) in the last game against the Brahmas, so we'll see what happens.

Defenseman Stacey Bauman, left wing Justin Kanigan and center Matt Sweazy are all out on injured reserve and expected to be scratches tonight. Former Brahma Topher Scott is back from injury (didn't play last Saturday at NYTEX) and is expected to play tonight. Newly acquired defenseman Jason Seery (from Allen) is also expected to play tonight.

The Brahmas’ top three scorers are AJ Gale (F) with 13 points (7 G, 6 A, +2), Grant Jacobsen (F) with 11 points (6 G, 5 A, 0) and Jordan Cameron (F) with 11 points (4 G, 7 A, 0). 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 10.34 percentage and 10th on the penalty kill with an 80.65 percentage. They lead the league with five short-handed goals.

Brett Jaeger (3-4-0) is my guess to start for the Brahmas.

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

Massey Ratings predicts a Killer Bee win. They were wrong last night. I think they'll be wrong tonight.

The opening face off is at 7:35pm and the game can be seen on CHL-TV. You can also attend the watch party at Zuroma Bar and Grill at NYYEX or listen live on Internet radio here

Image Credit: Robert Keith

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