A trio of early strikes by the Texas Brahmas provided the momentum needed to defeat the Arizona Sundogs in a 6-4 contest tonight at the NYTEX Sports Centre.
With the win, the Brahmas improved to 19-13-5 with 43 points. They remain in third place in the Southern Conference, seven points behind Allen and four points ahead of Laredo.
The Brahmas took an early 1-0 lead Saturday night with Elias Godoy connecting for his fourth of the season from James Hiebert and Jason Deitsch. Arizona goalie Doug Groenestege left the crease to play the puck allowing Godoy to convert on a Hiebert centering feed from behind the cage at the 1:16 mark.
The two teams went back and forth without scoring until Torren Delforte circled out of the offensive zone and left a pass for Chris Bartolone near center ice before re-entering the zone and shelving a wrist shot over the glove of Joe Palmer from the near circle with just 45 seconds left in the period. It was the first of four assists for Bartolone on the night.
Arizona had the 11-10 shot lead in the first frame and the game was left tied at one as the period ended.
Matt Burto reclaimed a one-goal lead for the Brahmas with his sixth goal of the season at the :19 second mark with a little help from Justin Kinnunen and Tyler Skworchinski.
The Brahmas took a 3-1 lead with AJ Gale’s marker at the 4:47 mark. Elias Godoy and Ross Rouleau were credited with the assist.
Later in the period, Godoy combined with Hiebert and Deitsch for his second goal of the night and a 4-1 Brahmas lead at the 13:05 mark.
32 seconds later, Kevin Garner caught Joe Palmer off guard and sent in a pass from Chris Bartolone to cut the Texas lead to two.
A scary moment for Arizona forward Torren Delforte came after he took a shoulder in the face from (I believe) Luke Sellars. It was a clean hit, but Delforte got his bell rung and fell flat on his back and needed a couple of minutes (and some sniffers) before he got his legs under him and was able to make it back to the bench.
Arizona had an 11-9 shot advantage in the second and a 22-19 advantage shots after 40 minutes of play, but trailed heading into the second intermission.
The Brahmas Texas stretched their lead to 5-2 just six seconds into the third period as Nathan Perrott netted his second goal since joining the team. Arizona defenseman Mike Nesdill slipped after a period-opening face off win by Rob Lehtinen, allowing Perrott to converge on the loose puck, firing a slap shot stick side past Groenestege from the top of the near circle. Just like that, everyone in the house got free chicken and a haircut - thanks, sponsors!
Grant Jacobsen pushed the lead to 6-2 at the third period’s 2:01 mark, slipping a rebound past Groenestege as the net minder lost his stick on the initial save. Perrott and AJ gale assisted.
Arizona battled back and managed a pair of power play tallies, the first coming on a 5-on-3 opportunity with Matt Burto (Board Checking) and Luke Sellars (Cross Checking) in the box. Defenseman John Landry, off the set-up from Chris Bartolone and Konrad Reeder, blasted a slap shot past Joe Palmer from between the circles to make it a 6-3 game at the 14:51 mark.
Still on the man-advantage, Konrad Reeder scored on a feed from from Kevin Gardner and Chris Bartolone at the 16:18 mark to make it a 6-4 contest.
Although they were out shot 20-8 in the final frame, the Brahmas and Palmer were able to weather the pressure, holding on for the win with Groenestege pulled in favor of an extra attacker in the closing minute of the game.
Things got ugly at the end after Konrad Reeder threw an elbow into Elias Godoy's head, eliciting a strong response from Luke Sellars. After a melee broke out, Reeder copped two minutes for the elbow and Sellars received a four-minute Double Roughing Minor, a five-minute Fighting Major, a two Minute Fighting (Instigator) and a 10-minute No Category Game Misconduct. A rabid Linus Fagemo had to be man-handled (maybe the wrong term for a guy named Fagemo) by Nathan Perrott after he tried to come to Reeder's aid. Godoy looked pretty shook up after the incident. No word on his condition.
Joe Palmer made 38 saves on 42 shots and earned the win. His record goes to 11-4-4-3. Doug Groenstege made 21 saves on 27 shots and took the loss, his first as a Sundog. That makes two goalie debuts in a row ruined by the Brahmas. here
The Brahmas went zero for four on the power play. Arizona went two for eight. The Brahmas were assessed 33 minutes on 11 infractions; the Sundogs received 10 minutes on five infractions.
The 3rd Star of the game went to AJ Gale, who had a goal and an assist. The 2nd Star was awarded to Elias Godoy who had two goals and an assist and the 1st Star went to Nathan Perrott who had a goal and an assist and was in general, a badass on the ice.
You can view the box score
You can view my photos from the game here and here
The Brahmas get a day off to rest before spending the week preparing for a two-game set against the Corpus Christi Ice Rays on Friday and Saturday nights. Friday is Youth Jersey Night; the first 1000 kids 12 and under will receive a free Brahmas youth jersey.
Photo Credit: Robert Keith