Saturday, November 14, 2009

Matt Burto scores the game winner during the second period

Reversal of fortune

Brahmas defeat the Amarillo Gorillas 3-1

From the first seconds of the game, you could feel an energy and a drive he haven't seen thus far this season. That energy drive propelled the Brahmas to a 3-1 victory over a talented and physical Amarillo Gorillas team on a Friday the 13th at the NYTEX Sports Centre.

The two points earned moves the Brahmas to a tie with the Gorillas for fourth place in the Southern Conference with 12 points. The Brahmas are now one point behind Allen (who play the Colorado Eagles tonight) and two points behind Laredo (who doesn't play tonight). The Gorillas play the Odessa Jackalopes tonight. With a regulation win tonight (and losses by Allen and Amarillo), the boys can tie Laredo for second place. What a difference a win makes.

"It was a huge win especially because we’ve already lost two games here," forward Matt Burto told the Star-Telegram. "It brings up the energy in the building."

The crowd at NYTEX was a little thin (although it was announced as a sellout) but those who were there made themselves heard, led on by the infamous 303 Rowdies, who came to party. The Amarillo bench got an earful throughout the game - and you can see by the reaction on their faces, they weren't liking it.

The game opened up with the explosiveness of a roman candle, with both teams playing some of the fastest, most physical hockey we've seen this season. My initial thoughts were that someone was going out on IR after this game.

The mood was set :49 seconds into the game when Brahmas defenseman dropped the gloves with Gorillas d-man Neil Smith. The two fought to a draw before being separated and handed out five minute Fighting Majors.

Amarillo, who coming into the game was 6-0 after scoring first, did just that with a wrist shot from Chris Cloud at the 4:50 mark. He was assisted by Jason Beeman and Gordon Bell.

A slightly dislodged net resulted in a disallowed Brahmas goal that would have tied the game which infuriated Dan Wildfong who summoned referee Dan Dreger over to the bench to express his displeasure. From my vantage point it appeared Amarillo goalie Mike Brown lifted it off the mooring with his back as he was trying to defend the play, but I'm sure it was inadvertent (you never want to accuse an opposing goalie of doing it intentially, do you?).

Things heated up in the Amarillo zone when James Hiebert and James Jernberg mixed it up after a bit of dirty play on the Gorillas defenseman's part. The two eventually hit the ice and you can call this one a draw. Jernberg was called for roughing and both would receive the customary five minute Fighting Majors.

Amarillo took a 12-9 shot advantage and the 1-0 lead into the locker room.

The second period opened with a Delay of Game Bench Minor that gave the Brahmas a man-advantage at the 0:00 mark. Both teams penalty-killers were in top form and neither would allow a power play goal all night.

Jordan Cameron electrified the crowd with his second goal of the season at the 4:46 mark. The puck took a generous bounce off the pad of Mike Brown and hit the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1. Lee Jubinville and Kevin Mcleod were credited with the assist.

After an elbowing call sent Jason Deitsch to the penalty box at the 13:07 mark. Despite the man disadvantage, the Brahmas displayed their penalty killing skills and for the fifth time this season, they scored a short-handed goal. As the Gorillas set up in front of Joe Palmer, Kevin McLeod Luke Sellars forced a turnover and delivered the puck to the blade of Matt Burto who went in one-on-one with Mike Brown and came out with the 2-1 lead.

The Brahmas reversed the shot count in the second period (13-9) and after 40 minutes had the 22-21 advantage and the 2-1 lead.

The third period was no less entertaining than the first two but scoring was limited to a shot by Lee Jubinville, his second goal of the season with the assist by Jordan Cameron to finish things off at the 16:20 mark and send Amarillo home with their third consecutive loss.

The Brahmas outshot the Gorillas 9-5 in the third frame and 31 to 26 in the game.

Joe Palmer stopped 25 of 26 shots for his third victory of the season (3-1-2). Mike Brown stopped 28 of 31 and took the loss despite a good effort in net. His record goes to 4-4-0.

Note: Both starting goalies are from the same part of New York. Palmer from Yorkville and Brown from Baldwinsville, an hour to the west on the road to Rochester.

The Brahmas went 0 for 4 on the power play. The Gorillas went 0 for 3.

The Brahmas were assessed 16 minutes on five infractions; the Gorillas received 18 minutes on six infractions.

The 3rd Star of the game went to Amarillos Chris Cloud for the sole score of the game (Jordan Cameron was robbed; this star should have been his with a goal and an assist - +2 on three shots). The 2nd Star was awarded to Joe Palmer for his performance in net and the 1st Star went to Matt Burto for his game winning goal.

You can view the box score here

You can view my photos from the game here


  • Easily the most entertaining game of the season. Bar none.
  • Seeing Matt Burto's goal and his reaction afterward was priceless. That kid has a lot of heart.
  • The noise level at NYTEX was back to playoff fervor. More of the same is part of what makes NYTEX a great venue to watch pro hockey.
  • Hiebert and Sellars have added a significant amount of toughness to the Brahmas. It's fortunate that they were added this early.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

No comments: