Laredo scores three goals in three minutes; holds on for 3-1 win
The Texas Brahmas lost their fifth consecutive road game tonight in front of a crowd of 5,126 at the Laredo Entertainment Center. The Bucks scored all three of their goals within three minutes during the first period and never relinquished the lead. With the win, Laredo earned two points to tie the Brahmas with 45 points and with three games in hand, took over the third place slot in the Southern Conference.
If there's a positive to the night, Corpus Christi and Rio Grande Valley both lost tonight, keeping the Brahmas five points ahead of both Amarillo and Rio who are tied with 40 points for the fifth and final playoff berth.
The first period began with a battle for puck possession, with neither team holding on long enough to make anything happen. The Brahmas initially led the shot count, at one point 5-1. Nathan Perrott had an early opportunity when he found himself all alone skating in toward the Bucks' rookie goaltender Kevin Desfosses from along the right wall, but he took a bad-angle shot that Desfosses was able to stop easily.
Consecutive calls on Grant Jacobsen (hooking) and Jason Deitsch (Tripping) gave the Bucks a five-on-three opportunity for nearly a minute-and-a-half but the Tony PK was able to kill that and the five-on-four heading into the middle of the frame.
The second half of the period was a train wreck for the Brahmas with the Bucks scoring three goals in less than three minutes.
The first tally came shorthanded with Mike Looby in the box for Stick Holding. Todd Griffith picked up a loose puck at center ice and skated in on a two-on-one with Darryl Smith. Griffith kept the puck and sent in a backhander past Joe Palmer at the 16:45 mark to give Laredo the 1-0 lead.
Unfortunate statistic #1: Laredo is 13-3-4 when scoring first this season.
77 seconds later, the Bucks took a 2-0 lead when Eric Giosa picked up a loose puck at center and skated in, taking a shot on Palmer. Neil Trimm picked up a long rebound and sent it in past Palmer, who left a lot of net exposed. Robin Richards was also credited with the assist.
Jordan Cameron got the Brahmas on the board 58 seconds later with a shorthanded tally after Elias Godoy was sent to the sin bin on an Interference call. Cameron got a break on a mistake by the rookie goaltender, picking up the puck sent out by Desfosses after a shot by Tyler Skworchinski. Cameron backhanded it through the five hole to make it a 2-1 game. It was the league-leading 12th short-handed tally for the Brahmas this season.
Unfortunately, the Brahmas had no time to build on the momentum of Cameron's score. With Godoy still in the penalty box, Todd Griffith took a pass from Eric Giosa and skated the outside of the near circle before sending in a wrister past Palmer for his second of the night and a 3-1 lead for the Bucks.
Laredo led the shot count 16-11 in the first period and sent the Brahmas to the locker room, down by two goals.
The Brahmas got an early power play opportunity just eight seconds into the middle frame with the Bucks' Curtis Billsten called for High Sticking. Laredo's penalty killer stopped the Brahmas from converting on the first of two man-advantages for Texas in the period. The Brahmas would give the Bucks four power play opportunities in the period with calls on Luke Sellars (Hooking), Ross Rouleau (Unsportsmanlike Conduct), Nathan Perrott (High Sticking) and Jordan Cameron (Cross Checking) but managed to kill all four.
Shots were even in the second at 11 each. Both rookie goaltenders got the opportunity to display their prowess in net, stopping all shots faced. Palmer got lucky late in the period when a shot hit the crossbar. The Bucks thought it caught net but it was quickly waived off by the officials.
After 40 minutes, the Bucks led the shot count 27-22 and took their 3-1 lead into the locker room for the second intermission.
Unfortunate statistic #2: Laredo is 14-0-3 when leading after two periods.
Neither team was able to score in the third. The Brahmas kept up a strong attack and led the shot count 16-6 but were unable to beat Desfosses again. The Bucks' special teams were able to kill off a four-minute power play and a two-minute five-on-three Brahmas advantage and held on to their lead for the win. The final shot count was 38-33, Brahmas - about the only advantage they had tonight.
Joe Palmer made 30 saves on 33 shots and takes the loss. His record goes to 11-6-4-3. Kevin Desfosses made 37 saves on 38 shots and earns the win. His record goes to 4-1-0 with Laredo (He was 3-5-0 with Corpus Christi prior to joining the Bucks).
The Brahmas went zero for 11 on the power play. Laredo went one for 10. Both teams were assessed 20 minutes on ten infractions.
The 3rd Star of the game went to Neil Trimm, who scored the game winning goal. The 2nd Star was awarded to Kevin Desfosses for his performance in net and the 1st Star went to Todd Griffith, who had two goals on the night.
You can view the box score here
The Brahmas continue their road trip on Saturday, travelling to Hidalgo to take on the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees.