Saturday, February 27, 2010

Fit to be tied, again

Brahmas drop another on the road, Bucks win 5-1

Terry Ruskowski called it the biggest game of the season thus far and his boys responded with a complete 60 minute effort as the Laredo Bucks defeated the Texas Brahmas in a 5-1 contest tonight at the LEC. For the Brahmas, it will be a long ride home tonight with a lot to think about and little time for rest before they host the expansion Missouri Mavericks at 4:05 pm.

With the loss, the Brahmas record goes to 29-20-5 (9-15-4 on the road). The Bucks once again, have tied the Brahmas with 63 points with an even number of games played (54). With 10 games remaining for both teams in the regular season, the war for third place in the Southern Conference is (in my opinion) the most interesting story in the race for position in the 2009-10 CHL playoffs. How the Brahmas respond to the challenge of retaining third place is anyone's guess - you can't do it all at home you know.

The Brahmas looked sluggish in the first period, perhaps still tired from the seven hour bus ride overnight. The Bucks on the other hand, looked fresh and controlled the entire first period, out shooting the visiting team 14-6.

Todd Griffith scored the first goal of the game after taking a feed from Neil Trimm and sending a bullet that zipped past Brett Jaeger's gloved hand at the 4:28 mark. Evan Schwabe was also credited with the assist.

Just over four minutes later, the Brahmas were victimized by the Bucks' top line of SylvainDeschatelets, Jeff Bes and Neil Smith when Deschatelets sent in a wrister from the bottom of the right circle to make it a 2-0 game at the 4:30 mark.

The Bucks led the shot count 6-1 at this point and forced most of the action in the Brahmas' zone.

With AJ Gale serving a two minute Too Many Men Bench Minor, the Bucks nearly had their third goal when defenseman Jarred Mohr fired a shot which Jaeger initially stopped with his glove as he was falling backwards. The puck bounced up and was about to roll across the goal line when Jaeger gloved it away just in time. However, the goal light came on and fans began throwing corn on the ice, believing the puck went in. Referee Tom Steinel conferred with the goal judge and after he came back on the ice, he waived off the goal.

Later in the period, the Deschatelets/Bes/Smith line scored again with Deschatelets' second strike on the night from right in front of the net at the 17:58 mark. This is just Deschatelets' third game with the Bucks, having come in from Europe, where he played the past four seasons.

That was it for the first frame; the Brahmas went into the visitors locker room to regroup, down by three. It could have been worse, but Jaeger despite missing three, made some great saves.

The second frame began with the Brahmas making a change in net with Joe Palmer taking Jaeger's place. There was no change in the score although the Brahmas came out a bit stronger, but despite 10 shots on goal, they were unable to solve a solid Pier-Olivier Pelletier. Palmer, for his part was also unsolvable, stopping 11 shots in the frame. The Bucks had their best chance to add to the score on the power play in the final minute, when Jeff Bes sent a pass to SylvainDeschatelets, who was wide open on a breakaway, but the hat trick was averted when his shot hit the post. The Bucks kept firing but were unable to score and the period ended with the score remaining at 3-0.

(Roughing) and Kevin The Bucks had an early five-on-three opportunity in the third period, with Tyler SkworchinskiSeibel (Hooking) in the sin bin but they were unable to beat the Brahmas' PK. Unfortunately, Bucks defenseman and team captain Adam Rivet scored with a slap shot from the point at the 3:28 mark. The assists came from Sylvain Deschatelets and Darryl Smith (his fourth assist of the night).

Less than three minutes later, with Igor Agarunov in the bin for Hooking, the Brahmas finally got on the board when Matt Pierce fired a rocket from the top of the slot to make it a 4-1 contest at the 6:13 mark.

The Bucks answered back under three minutes later when Benjamin Dieude-Fauvel beat Palmer with a short-handed tally at the 8:56 mark to secure the final score at 5-1. Darryl Smith and Jeff Bes were in on the assist.

Brett Jaeger made 11 saves on 14 shots faced and takes the loss. His record goes to 18-12-1-2. In relief, Joe Palmer made 22 saves on 24 shots. Pier-Olivier Pelletier made 21 saves on 22 shots and earns the win; his fifth in a row. His record goes to 5-4-1.

The Brahmas went one for five on the power play. Laredo went one for seven. The Brahmas were assessed 14 minutes on seven infractions. The Bucks received 10 minutes on five infractions.

The 3rd Star of the game went to Jeff Bes, who had three assists on the night. The 2nd Star was awarded to Darryl Smith who had four assists and the 1st Star went to Sylvain Deschatelets who had two goals (including the game-winner) and an assist.

You can view the box score here

The scheduling really stinks but you can watch the U.S. and Canada battle for the Olympic gold starting at 2:15 pm (I recommend Zuroma) and then break away (if you can) to watch the Brahmas and the Missouri Mavericks in their first meeting starting at 4:05 pm.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Jordan Cameron put the Brahmas on the board early with this shot over Kevin Beech's shoulder

How about them Brahmas!

Skworchinski scores twice in 4-3 win over Corpus Christi

The Texas Brahmas defeated the Corpus Christi IceRays in a 4-3 thriller tonight at the NYTEX Sports Center. Jordan Cameron scored a goal in his first night back on the ice, Jason Deitsch had three assists and Tyler Skworchinski scored twice, including the game-winner in front of a sold out crowd.

With the win, the Brahmas maintain their hold on the third slot in the Southern Conference with a 29-19-5 record and 63 points. The Laredo Bucks also won tonight, defeating the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees 3-2, and remain two points behind the boys in purple and black.

Prior to the start of the game, the Brahmas announcer gave a spoken tribute to longtime Brahmas and North Texas hockey fan, Gary Stallons. After a moment of silence in remembrance to "Old Bull", who passed away this morning, the game was ready to begin.

The Brahmas came out strong and took an early lead, thanks to a heads up play by Jordan Cameron who took a feed from Jason Deitsch and sent a shot over Kevin Beech's shoulder from the bottom of the right circle. At the 3:26 mark it was a 1-0 game.

The Brahmas and Brett Jaeger seemed in control of the period but things changed unexpectedly in the final minute when the IceRays created a turnover deep in Texas territory. Chris Richards was able to beat Jaeger from the lower right circle to tie the score at the 19:03 mark. Ryan Bennett and Ryan Garbutt were credited with the assist.

After 20 minutes, the Brahmas had a 10-8 shot advantage but went into the locker room tied at one.

The second period began much like the first, but it was the IceRays who scored early, taking a 2-1 lead at the 3:28 mark when Adam Powell converted a two-on-one with a little help from RG Flath and Jason Tessier.

After IceRays defenseman Matt Smyth was called for Board Checking at the 5:39 mark, the Brahmas were able to score on the ensuing power play when Tyler Skworchinski sent in a shot from the slot to make it a 2-2 game at the 7:09 mark. Jason Deitsch and Jordan Cameron were in on the assist.

Just 30 seconds later, Scott Thauwald beat Kevin Beech with a shot from just outside the crease to give the Brahmas the 3-2 lead and the shits came off in Section 303. AJ Gale and Nathan Perrott assisted.

Shots were tied at 10 in the middle frame and the Brahmas defended the lead through 40 minutes.

Heading into the final period, the IceRays stepped up the pressure on the Brahmas but were stymied by the D corps and could not solve Jaeger throughout the frame. The action intensified in the final five minutes and although the Brahmas had the lead, it was still anyone's game.

IceRays coach Brent Hughes pulled Kevin Beech with just over a minute remaining to add an extra attacker and then, with 34 seconds left in regulation, Jordan Cameron was called for Hooking, giving Corpus Christi a decided advantage. But the bounces didn't go their way and just six seconds later, Tyler Skworchinski took a pass from Jason Deitsch skated the puck in to score a shorthanded empty net goal to make it a 4-2 final. Or so we thought. Undeterred and still with the empty net, Ryan Garbutt sent in the FU goal with just over a second left to set the final at 4-3. Chad Woollard and Kyle Peto assisted.

Shots were tied at 11 in the final frame and the Brahmas had the 31-29 advantage in the game.

Brett Jaeger made 26 saves on 29 shots and earns the win. His record goes to 18-11-1-2. Kevin Beech made 27 saves on 30 shots and takes the loss. His record goes to 7-3-1-2 with the IceRays (he began the season with the Mississippi RiverKings).

The Brahmas went one for four on the power play. Corpus Christi went one for two. The Brahmas were assessed four minutes on two infractions. The IceRays received eight minutes on four infractions.

The 3rd Star of the game went to Brett Jaeger for his performance in net. The 2nd Star was awarded to Tyler Skworchinski who scored two goals, including the game-winner and the 1st Star went to Jordan Cameron who had a goal and an assist in his first game back since taking a huge hit during the game against the Allen Americans on February 13th.


You can view the box score here

You can view photos from the game here

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Rest in peace Old Bull

Gary Stallons

It's always hard to deal with the passing of a friend. It's harder, I think, when you didn't expect it. I knew Gary had been in poor health lately. But the news today just floored me. You always think you're going to have another handshake, another conversation, another laugh and suddenly, that's not to be.

Gary was a good old boy, someone who I got to know and respect over the past couple of years. As I often arrive early at NYTEX, I could always count on Gary being there even before me and I always looked forward to the time we spent talking hockey before games. Of course, Gary was known and loved by whole lot of people associated with the Brahmas organization for a long time.

I think Mike Barack said it pretty well:

"There are very few people that followed every single aspect (on and off the ice) about our franchise as well as following all of the happenings throughout the league. There were many times that he was able to pass on information, articles, transactions, etc. from throughout the Internet world (and through word of mouth) because he was so on top of everything."

He truly was the real Texas Brahmas Insider. Suffice it to say, he will most certainly be missed.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Brahmas have three-in-three this weekend

Corpus, Missouri coming to town

So here we are with another three-in-three weekend upon us and for the Brahmas, the only thing that matters as much as how they do this weekend is how the Laredo Bucks do. With a separation of two points between the two teams, the war for third place in the South continues.

The Bucks (25-17-9, 59 points) went 2-1 last weekend earning four out of six points as they completed their fourth straight three-in-three. They have earned points in eight of their last 10 points and are 6-2-2 in that span. They have one game in hand on the Brahmas.

The Bucks are on the road to play the Allen Americans (35-12-4, 74 points) tonight. But the Bucks have yet to earn a win against the Americans against whom they are 0-1-2, including 0-1-1 on the road.

Laredo will host the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees on Friday night and the Brahmas on Saturday night.

Rio has won three of six games played at the LEC this season - all three decided by a shoot out. But of the 12 games played between the two clubs, Laredo has won the remaining nine contests. Here's hoping the game goes to a shoot out, eh?

The Brahmas have played three times at the LEC this season, losing twice. The teams have played four time overall with the series tied 2-2. Both Brahmas wins came by shut out.

Besides traveling to Laredo on Saturday, the Brahmas will host the Corpus Christi Ice Rays on Friday and the Missouri Mavericks on Sunday.

Greg Rajan points out that the IceRays (23-21-7, 53 points) are 4-1-1 in their past six games and are coming off perhaps their best weekend of the season. They swept a pair of home-ice matches, trouncing Laredo 9-4 on Friday and then dismantling Northern Conference leader Rapid City 5-0 on Saturday. In 120 minutes last weekend, the IceRays led for all but three minutes and 15 seconds.

Corpus Christi is hosting Rio Grande Valley tonight.

This is definitely a different team than the Brahmas have faced in the past but they have a slight edge at NYTEX, having one two of three games played between the two teams there this season. The Brahmas also have a 3-1 edge in the series this season.

The Brahmas and the expansion Mavericks have never met before. I'll give the Brahmas the advantage considering Missouri has never experienced the many facets of playing at the NYTEX Sports Centre.

Where will we be on Monday? All things considered - probably right where we are now. My guess (and I hope I'm wrong) is that the Brahmas and the Bucks will take four of six points this weekend.

Coming off two straight losses, the Brahmas have their work cut out for them. Hopefully Cameron and Jacobsen are able to play. Hopefully the boys take three straight games. We have two home games this weekend. Hopefully, you will be there, be loud and believe!

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It was a hard night night for Brett Jaeger who takes his first loss since January 26th

Brahmas drop second straight on the road

Mudbugs score four unanswered goals to win 4-2

After a promising start, the Texas Brahmas had their skates handed to them by the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs at the CenturyTel Center tonight. The Mudbugs came back from a 2-0 deficit to score four unanswered goals, three in the final period, to earn an impressive 4-2 win.

Mistakes hurt the Brahmas, translating to three power play goals for Bossier-Shreveport who solidified their hold on third place in the North. The Mudbugs now have an eight point lead over the Mississippi RiverKings (who lost in a shoot out to the Missouri Mavericks). The win was also the tie-breaker in the I-20 series this season, with the Mudbugs winning four of seven regular season contests.

With the loss, the Brahmas record goes to 28-19-5 with 61 points, maintaining their two point lead over the Laredo Bucks in the Southern Conference. It was a rough night for Brett Jaeger (to say the least) who suffered only the 2nd loss in his last 12 starts.

During the pre-game activities, the Mudbugs held a short ceremony to honor defenseman Dale Lupul, who has retired from the game. Choosing not to speak, Lupul waved to the crowd of 3,612 after receiving a final ovation at the CenturyTel Center. Lupul was presented with one of his game worn sweaters from team owner Tommy Scott.

The Brahmas came out strong to open the game, led by some physical play by Matt Burto. Just 30 seconds in, the Mudbugs found themselves on an early penalty kill after Brett Smith was called for Unsportsmanlike Conduct. Smith had some words with Burto (who had gotten rough with Dave Pszenyczny) and picked up the penalty. 36 second later, the Brahmas were on the board as Ross Rouleau received a feed from Jason Deitsch and sent a bullet in from the point to make it a 1-0 game.

That would be the only score of the first frame in which the Mudbugs had a 10-6 shot advantage. The Brahmas, who would kill off two penalties in the first 20 minutes, were in charge defensively and Brett Jaeger was a brick wall in net.

The Mudbugs came out strong to begin the second period with two early challenges to Jaeger. Joe Blaznek, who had four goals in his last three games, came at the Brahmas net on a breakaway 11 seconds in, but Jaeger caught the puck against his chest for the save. 19 seconds later Brett Smith sent in a slap shot, but Jaeger, unable to make a catch, managed to bat the puck away. A couple of minutes later, Simon Mangos had an opportunity but had a shot and a rebound from just outside the crease stymied by the reigning CHL Goaltender of the Week.

After an equal amount of back and forth, the Brahmas took a 2-0 lead when Matt Burto deflected a shot from Tyrell Mason into the net at the 11:44 mark. Tyler Skworchinski was also credited with the assist.

Later in the period, with Jason Deitch in the sin bin for Hooking (the only penalty in the middle frame), the Mudbugs finally solved Brett Jaeger to get on the board. After a shot by Travis Clayton was blocked by a Brahmas defenseman, Jeff Kyrzakos banked the puck off the post stick side and it rolled over the goal line to make it a 2-1 game at the 15:20 mark. Shawn Limpright was also in on the assist.

Shots were even at nine when the period ended and the Brahmas went into the locker room up by one.

Unfortunately, the Mudbugs took control of the game early into the third frame with a couple of quick strikes. The first came just 45 seconds in as Jeff Kyrzakos tallied his second of the night. Travis Clayton out muscled a couple of Brahmas defenders in the left corner and sent the puck to defenseman Chris St. Croix whose shot was deflected in front of the crease by Kyrzakos to tie the game at two.

Less than two minutes later, a Slashing call on Matt Pierce led to a power play goal by Jim Jorgensen (his first as a Mudbug) from between the hash marks, beating Jaeger just inside the post at the 2:30 mark. Travis Clayton and Shawn Limpright were credited with the assist.

The Mudbugs dominated the period, out shooting the Brahmas 13-4. Shawn Limpright scored the final goal of the night with 2:52 remaining in the game, beating Jaeger high to the glove side from the
hash marks to provide the final 4-2 margin.

Brett Jaeger made 28 saves on 32 shots and takes the loss. His record goes to 17-11-1-0. John DeCaro made 17 saves on 19 shots and earns the win. His record goes to 18-11-1-1.

The Brahmas went one for three on the power play. Bossier-Shreveport went three for six. The Brahmas were assessed 14 minutes on seven infractions. The Mudbugs received 12 minutes on six infractions.

The 3rd Star of the game went to Jim Jorgensen who scored the game winner. The 2nd Star was awarded to Travis Clayton who had three assists on the night and the 1st Star went to Jeff Kyrzakos who had two goals and an assist.

You can view the box score
here

Observations:
  • Notably absent from the line up was Kevin McLeod whose presence was definitely needed tonight. No clue what's up with that.
  • The Brahmas were in it up until the final frame when they seemed to lose all steam and were forced to mitigate any further scoring in a pure defensive mode. Considering the short bench, it was a good effort.
  • Despite the loss, Jaeger remains second in the league with a 2.51 GAA but drops to fifth with a .919 save percentage.
  • That 9-14-4 road record is a killer - the boys are going to need to change that if they expect to go anywhere in the playoffs. Those two points lost to Wichita on Sunday seem all the more important after tonight's effort.
  • The Bucks have an opportunity to tie the Brahmas again on Thursday night when they travel to the AEC for a match up against the Americans, who clinched a playoff berth tonight with a 5-4 overtime win against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees.
The Brahmas return home to prepare for a three in three weekend starting with a home game against the Corpus Christi Ice Rays.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith (Not from tonight's game)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Nobody does it better

Brett Jaeger named Oakley/CHL Goaltender of the Week

It's no surprise to Texas Brahmas fans but for those that don't know, Brett Jaeger was named the Oakley Central Hockey League Goaltender of the Week - for the second consecutive week and the third time this season (he also won the award on December 14th and February 15th).

He joins Odessa's Joel Martin as the only back stoppers to win the weekly award in consecutive weeks.

Jaeger finished the week with three wins, allowing just one goal in each game. His wins included a shootout victory over Allen on February 15th where he stopped 43 of 44 shots and a victory over the league-leading offense of Odessa where he allowed just one goal on 36 shots.

For the week, the Peace River, Alberta native stopped 104 of 107 shots he faced for a save percentage of .972. Jaeger has won eight straight decisions, allowing just 10 goals over that stretch and is 17-10-1 on the season.

Jaeger is currently second in the league with a 2.45 GAA and third with a .921 save percentage. He is fifth in wins with 17, sixth with games played at 29 and now leads all CHL goalies with 42 Star Points.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith
Reliant Energy sweater auction photos posted

Sorry for the delay, but here are 25 pictures from the auction on Saturday night. The auction was moved upstairs (where it was a lot warmer) and the game-worn Reliant Energy sweaters were auctioned off. A couple of people purchased multiple sweaters. Joe Palmer's sweater was purchased by Brahmas owner Stuart Fraser. Brett Jaeger's sweater fetched the highest bid at $700.

The Photos can be viewed here

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Wasted opportunity

Brahmas fall 1-0 in Wichita

Yeah, at this time of the year, this is two points you don't just hand over to a team like the Wichita Thunder. The Brahmas essentially did just that in from of 3,782 Thunder fans at the Intrust Bank Center today in Wichita.

After a tremendous performance against the Odessa Jackalopes last night, this one was hard to watch (and hear, as the broadcast on CHL-TV was terrible). But at least there was Olympic hockey for those who enjoyed watching the U.S. pull off perhaps its biggest Olympic hockey upset since the Miracle on Ice, stunning Team Canada 5-3 on Sunday to advance to the quarterfinals. Slap Shot was on Versus also, so the night wasn't a total loss.

With the loss, the Brahmas record goes to 28-18-5 and their road record goes to 9-13-4 (unfortunately, the worst road record since the team was revived in 2007-08).

On the up side, the Brahmas took four of six points this weekend and remain in third place in the South. Outside of an injury to Luke Sellars (right leg) last night, the boys remained healthy.

As far as today's game, I'm going to keep this brief because there's not too much to say.

First period - Both teams played air-tight defense and the Brahmas out shot the Thunder 10-9. Both teams had two power play opportunities. Neither team scored.

Second period - Wichita out shot the Brahmas 22-6 (a single period season-high). What the hell? Well, Ian Keserich was red hot and prevented the Brahmas from scoring on breakaways by Scott Thauwald and Kevin McLeod.

Rookie forward Brent Ottman scored the only goal of the game, a fluke goal at that. Ottman fired a long shot from behind the blue line that Joe Palmer initially stopped with his stick. But the puck bounced over Palmer's right shoulder and rolled over the goal line to give the Thunder a 1-0 lead at the 12:16 mark. Rookie forward Brent Ottman scored the only goal of the game and a fluke goal at that. OttmanAJ Bozoian and Ian Keserich were credited with the assist.

Later in the period, Keserich denied Tyler Skworchinski on a point blank slap shot after a pass from behind the net.

Wichita made the lead stand up in the third, with Keserich stopping 11 more shots to finish off the 27-save shutout. Wichita killed off two penalties late in the frame and prevented the Brahmas from gaining any quality chances with Palmer pulled in favor of an extra attacker in the final minute of the game.

The win snapped the Thunder's seven-game losing streak and also halted an eight-game winning streak for the Brahmas. The 1-0 loss marks the first time the Brahmas have been shut out this season.

Joe Palmer made 39 saves on 40 shots and takes the loss. His record goes to 11-7-4-3. Ian Keserich made 27 saves on 27 shots and earns the shut out win; his first with the Thunder. His record with Wichita (he started the season with Mississippi) goes to 1-12-1-1.

The Brahmas went zero for four on the power play. Wichita went zero for five. The Brahmas were assessed 14 minutes on seven infractions. The Thunder received 12 minutes on six infractions.

The 3rd Star of the game went to Joe Palmer who had a great performance in net despite the loss. The 2nd Star was awarded to Brent Ottman, who scored the game-winning goal and the 1st Star went to Ian Keserich for his performance in net.

You can view the box score
here

Observations:
  • Back to the wasted opportunity. With a win, the Brahmas could have had a four point lead over the Laredo Bucks which would have been huge. Instead, they remain two points ahead and have an opportunity to add another two points on Tuesday night in Bossier City.
  • The Brahmas power play is second-to-last in the league at 12.78%. The Tony PK remains third in the league (behind Odessa and Rapid City) at 86.08%.
  • Joe Palmer remains in second place among rookies (behind Chris Whitley with 33 Star Points. He is fourth among all goalies.
The Brahmas will return home to prepare for the trip to Bossier City on Tuesday where they will take on the Mudbugs who are coming off fourth straight wins including a 6-0 win over the Tulsa Oilers on the road today at the BOK Center.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lee Jubinville is swamped by his teammates after scoring the game-winning goal - Note the location of the puck
(click to enlarge)


Odessa Who?

Brahmas win eighth straight; down Jackalopes 3-1

Faster than a speeding bullet? No. More powerful than a steaming locomotive? No. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound? No. Look, on the ice, it's a bird, it's a plane, no it's a...Jackalope! So what's all the hubbub about these supposed West Texas Supermen?

The Texas Brahmas reminded the Odessa Jackalopes why they are the league champions tonight with a 3-1 throttling at the NYTEX Sports Center. In front of a standing room only crowd of 2,444, Brett Jaeger stopped 35 of 36 shots faced to win his (and the Brahmas') eighth game in a row.

"The last three or four weeks, [Jaeger has] taken his game to that next level, where he was last year," Brahmas forward Jason Deitsch told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "He gives us a chance to win every night."

With the win, the Brahmas record goes to 28-17-5 with 61 points, good enough for another (endless) two point lead over the Laredo Bucks.

For the audience, the game was everything you would expect from two championship caliber teams. The Brahmas had all the momentum in the first period, out shooting the Jacks 14-6, but Joel Martin was solid in net and their was no score after 20 minutes.

The majority of the penalties were assessed in the second frame and the Jackalopes had the shot advantage at 14-9 but Brett Jaeger could not be solved and after 40 minutes, we were still scoreless.

Things changed in the third period. The Brahmas took a 1-0 lead when Scott Thauwald directed a bad-angle feed from the left wing corner into the net at the 7:16 mark. Nathan Perrott and Matt Pierce were credited with the assists.

Less than two minutes later, Lee Jubinville made it a 2-0 contest after a wild play for the puck in front of the goal crease. Tyler Skworchinski fell down and the puck was shielded by his body. Players for both teams searched feverishly but Jubinville got his stick on the puck first and sent it home for the score at the 9:00 mark. Ross Rouleau and James Hiebert were in on the assist.

With Nathan Perrott in the penalty box for High Sticking, Mike Lesperance cut the Brahmas lead in half, taking the puck the length of the ice and snapping a wrister past Brett Jaeger for Odessa's only score of the game at the 9:38 mark.

Later in the period, with Joel Martin pulled in favor of an extra attacker, Tyler Skworchinski took possession of the puck and to the delight of the crowd, skated in and added the empty net marker at the 19:05 mark to settle the final score at 3-1.

Brett Jaeger made 35 saves on 36 shots and earned the win. His record goes to 17-10-1-2. Joel Martin made 31 saves on 33 shots and takes the loss. His record goes to 19-6-2-1.


The Brahmas went zero for seven on the power play. Odessa went one for six. The Brahmas were assessed 12 minutes on six infractions. The Jackalopes received 14 minutes on seven infractions.

The 3rd Star of the game went to Odessa Goalie Joel Martin who had a great performance in net - for two periods. The 2nd Star was awarded to Lee Jubinville, who scored the game-winning goal and the 1st Star, once again, went to the amazing Brett Jaeger for another stellar performance in net.


You can view the box score
here

You can view my photos from the game here

Observations:
  • The Brahmas are up two points on the Bucks but have the opportunity to go up by six if they win tomorrow at Wichita and Tuesday at Bossier-Shreveport. The Bucks won't play again until Thursday the 25th at Allen.
  • With a 19-5-1 home record, the Brahmas are seven wins away from matching last season's record of 26-5-1 at NYTEX. With six in a row at the shoebox, anything is possible. The remaining home games are against Corpus Christi, Missouri, Laredo, Rapid City, Allen, Laredo and Bossier-Shreveport, in that order.
  • Kevin McLeod is second among all CHL defensemen in goals scored with 14. AJ Gale is third among all rookies in goals with 14 and first with five power play goals.
  • Brett Jaeger is second in the league with a 2.37 GAA and a .921 save percentage. He is fifth in wins with 17, sixth with games played at 29 and now leads all CHL goalies with 42 Star Points.
  • Luke Sellars had an injury to his right leg tonight and is questionable against Wichita tomorrow.
  • The Reliant Energy sweaters were auctioned off upstairs before the boys boarded the bus for Wichita. Brett Jaeger's took the highest bid at $700 and Stuart Fraser used a proxy to buy Joe Palmer's.
The Brahmas are on their way to Wichita as I speak and will play the Thunder for the first time at the new Intrust Bank arena at 5:05pm CST. You can watch it on CHL-TV or check out the Game Live feed on Pointstreak.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Friday, February 19, 2010

It was a long night for Scott Campbell who faced 45 shots - tying a season high for the Thunder

Brahmas, Jaeger notch seventh straight win

Wichita Thunder lose 4-1 at NYTEX

The Texas Brahmas soundly defeated the Wichita Thunder by a score of 4-1 tonight at the NYTEX Sports Center. Brett Jaeger stopped 26 of 27 shots faced and earned the 1st Star of the game for another magnificent performance in net for the bulls.

With the win, the Brahmas record goes to 27-17-5 with 59 points, which bumped the Laredo Bucks back out of third place and provides a two-point lead over Coach Roscoe's boys. The Bucks suffered a wicked 9-4 loss on the road tonight at Corpus Christi.

Each team created offensive chances early in the game, but it was the Brahmas who opened a 1-0 lead at the 11:48 mark in the first period. Defenseman Tyrell Mason made a lateral pass the length of the Thunder zone to Scott Thauwald who ripped a shot from the right boards that made it past Scott Campbell for the score. Matt Pierce was also in on the assist.

The Brahmas out shot the Thunder 22-8 in the first frame (a team high for the season) and took the 1-0 lead into the locker room after 20 minutes of play.

The Brahmas extended their lead 5:29 into the second period on an unassisted goal from Kevin McLeod. McLeod broke up a Thunder odd-man rush with a poke check and then raced up the ice to lead a Texas two-on-one. McLeod then fired a shot that hopped into the net past Scott Campbell.

Wichita had a 10-8 shot advantage in the second but was unable to solve Jaeger. After 40 minutes, the Brahmas led by a score of 2-0.

Early in the final frame, with Nathan Perrott in the penalty box for slashing, the Brahmas scored another short-handed goal, their (league-leading) 18th of the season. Scott Thauwald led a two-on-one and made a cross-slot pass to Ross Rouleau who punched in the goal at the 4:48 mark to make it a 3-0 contest.

Wichita scored its lone goal at the 10:51 mark on the power play. Joel Hanson set up Neil Clark outside of the crease who tipped the puck beyond Brett Jaeger to break up the shutout. Paul Kelly also assisted on the goal.

The Brahmas put the game away at the 18:17 mark when Jason Deitsch walked into a loose puck in the slot and shot it past the left of a defenseless Campbell for the score.

The Brahmas out shot the Thunder 15-9 in the final period and 45-27 in the game, winning their seventh straight game.

Brett Jaeger made 26 saves on 27 shots and earned the win. His record goes to 16-10-1-2. Scott Campbell made 41 saves on 45 shots and takes the loss. His record goes to 6-17-1.

The Brahmas went zero for six on the power play. Wichita went one for seven. The Brahmas were assessed 14 minutes on seven infractions. The Thunder received 12 minutes on six infractions.


The 3rd Star of the game went to Jason Deitsch who scored the final goal of the game. The 2nd Star was awarded to Scott Thauwald who had a goal and an assist on the night and the 1st Star went to Brett Jaeger for a stellar performance in net.


You can view the box score here

Observations:
  • The Brahmas have the best (current) winning streak in the league at seven straight. Their five straight home wins also leads the league.
  • Brett Jaeger's seventh straight win gave him the number one slot in the league with a 2.51 GAA. He is third in the league with a .919 save percentage. He is one point behind Allen's Chris Whitley for goalie Star Points with 37 (11th in the league for all positions).
  • The Brahmas remain in third place in the league with a 85.92% penalty kill. They lead Tulsa by five goals with the league's best 18 short-handed tallies.
The Brahmas will host the Odessa Jackalopes tomorrow night at NYTEX. This will be a good one, so unless you have a good excuse, be there, be loud, believe!

P.S. - The Brahmas will be donning special Reliant Energy sweaters for the game and will host a live game worn auction immediately following the game.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith (Not from tonight's game)
Seibel Activated

Will be on roster tonight versus Wichita

Defenseman Kevin Seibel was activated from Injured Reserve today and is will be on the blue line for this weekends important match ups. Seibel, 26, played in five games with the Brahmas and tallied a goal and an assist before being sidelined during the January 8th game against the Allen Americans.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Juice called up

Kinnunen returns to the Rampage


Brahmas defenseman Justin Kinnunen was called up by the San Antonio Rampage (AHL) Thursday afternoon. Kinnunen has tallied 19 points (5 G, 14 A, +12) and 38 penalty minutes this season. Last year, Kinnunen played 11 games with the Rampage.

Sure, this leaves the team short a man on the blue line, but the defense has previously been assisted by forwards Matt Burto and Tyler Skworchinski and will certainly make do.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Pulling for Rio, Corpus

Brahmas have huge weekend ahead

With three games this weekend, the Brahmas have an opportunity to really pull away from the Laredo Bucks in the standings.

As of now, the Brahmas sit in the third place in the Southern Conference with a 26-17-5 record and 57 points. They will not play again until Friday night.

The Bucks are in fourth place with a 23-16-9 record and 55 points. They host the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees on Thursday and have the opportunity to tie the Brahmas once again for third. They are coming off a 3-2 shoot out loss to Rio on Sunday. The series record is 3-2; advantage Rio when playing at the Laredo Entertainment Center this season. Each has been a one point contest. But Laredo has won seven of the 11 games played between the two teams this season overall and obviously has just as much at stake as the Brahmas when it comes to ending the season in third place.

Laredo is 12-6-6 at home. Rio is 9-11-4 on the road and battling Corpus Christi for the fifth and final playoff berth.

On Friday night the Brahmas host the Wichita Thunder (7-35-4, 18 points) at the NYTEX Sports Center. A probable win? Sure. But don’t count the Thunder out completely. They’ve managed to upset Tulsa, Bossier-Shreveport and Mississippi this month with their new roster. The teams have played just once this season, a 2-0 win for the Brahmas at NYTEX on December 27th.

The real test comes with one of the biggest games of the season, when the Brahmas host the Odessa Jackalopes on Saturday night. With a 37-9-4 record and 78 points, the Jacks lead the league in many categories and are probable Governor’s Cup shoe-ins.

The Brahmas have played Odessa once at NYTEX this season (November 25th), losing 5-3. The two teams have played twice at the Ector County Coliseum splitting wins. The Brahmas won the first meeting on November 19th, 7-3. The Jacks won on December 31st, 4-2. But while it’s the same Odessa team we’ve seen before, this is a new and improved Brahmas squad that, with a little discipline, can take down the Bucks at home.

After the game, the Brahmas head north to face Wichita on Sunday afternoon for the first time at the new Intrust Bank Center.

The Bucks meanwhile, will go on the road to face the Corpus Christi Ice Rays on Friday night and the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees on Saturday Afternoon. Corpus is 4-1 when hosting Laredo this season but Rio is 0-5 when hosting the Bucks this season.

In the end, there are six points up for grabs this weekend for the Brahmas. A huge six points. Three games in three days.

There are 16 games left in the regular season; half versus Northern Conference teams and half versus Southern Conference teams. Nine games at home and seven on the road. And once again, it all starts with this weekend. C'mon Brahmas - take six!

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Monday, February 15, 2010

Matt Pierce scores the game-winning goal in the eighth round of a shoot out (Click on photo to enlarge)

Boo-yah!

Brahmas earn first win at the Allen Events Center in 2-1 shoot out

The Texas Brahmas defeated the Allen Americans 2-1 in the eighth round of a shootout this afternoon at the Allen Event Center. The game was the final regular season meeting between the clubs at the AEC and marked the first time that the visiting team won a contest in the season series. The teams will play their final regular season contest on March 10th at the NYTEX Sports Centre.

With the win (the Brahmas sixth in a row), the Brahmas record goes to 26-17-5 and with 57 points, the Brahmas re-take sole possession of third place in the Southern Conference (Laredo had tied the Brahmas in points after earning a point in their shoot out loss to Rio Grande Valley yesterday).

It was a much calmer affair than we witnessed on Saturday night (understatement). And there was a pretty fair sized crowd (3,189) in house for a Monday afternoon. The Americans had the upper hand in the first frame, stifling the Brahmas' offense and out shooting the visiting team 19-5.

A five-on-three opportunity led to the first score of the game. With AJ Gale (Roughing) and Jason Deitsch (Tripping) in the penalty box, former Fort Worth Brahmas defenseman Ryan Fairbarn fired a shot from the point, beating Brett Jaeger at the 12:22 mark. Colton Yellow Horn and Erik Adams were in on the assist.

The on-ice officials seemed to be targeting Matt Burto in the middle frame, assessing three minors (Roughing, Hooking, Hooking) on the Brahmas forward but the Americans were unable to convert any of the resulting power plays.

Near the end of the period, with Allen defenseman Erik Adams in the sin bin for Interference, the Brahmas scored the equalizer. Luke Sellars got the tally after sneaking in on Chris Whitley and releasing a wrister into the back of the net at the 19:21 mark. Jason Deitsch and Tyler Skworchinski and Jason Deitsch were credited with the assist.

Shots were even at 10 in the second and the period ended with the 1-1 tie.
Allen out shot the Brahmas 12-6 in the third period but were unable to beat Brett Jaeger for a second time. Likewise, Chris Whitley remained solid in net and stymied the visitors, forcing the game into overtime.

Both goalies held the opposing teams scoreless in overtime, and the clubs headed to a shootout for the third time this season, each team winning one a piece in the extra period before today.

Colton Yellow Horn and Nino Musitelli scored in the shootout for Allen, while Luke Sellars and Lee Jubinville had tallies for Texas. Forced into three extra rounds, the newest Brahma, Matt Pierce broke the tie after his shot went by Whitley in the eighth round, giving the Brahmas a 2-1 win.

Brett Jaeger made 43 saves on 44 shots and earned the win. His record goes to 15-10-1-2. Chris Whitley made 22 saves on 23 shots and takes the shoot out loss. His record goes to 25-7-3-1.

The Brahmas went one for five on the power play. Allen went one for 10. The Brahmas were assessed 25 minutes on 11 infractions. The Americans received 12 minutes on six infractions.

The 3rd Star of the game went to Brett Jaeger for his stellar performance in net. The 2nd Star was awarded to Chris Whitley, probably because someone felt sorry for him and the 1st Star went to Matt Pierce who scored the game-winning goal in the shoot out.

You can view the box score here

You can view my photos from the game here and here

Observations:

  • Brett Jaeger earned his sixth win in a row and is now ranked fourth in the league with a 2.57 GAA and seventh with a .917 save percentage. In those six games, he allowed only eight goals and made 204 saves. He has won eight of his last 10 starts and has only four losses in his last 16 starts. He's moved into second place in goalie three star leaders and 16th place in all positions.
  • Do you ever get tired of watching the heart and hustle of Matt Burto? I don't. Just amazing. In 41 games played, He's tallied 21 points (8 G, 13 A, +5) and has logged 82 penalty minutes - fourth on the team behind Hiebert, Sellars and Perrott. Take a look at my favorite photo of Burto from today's game here.
  • Might as well mention how amazed I was that there were no suspensions announced today. Not sure how that happened - I was sure at the very least Chris Kaufman would sit for a few games for his hit on Jordan Cameron on Saturday. Is it possible the league decided it was a clean hit?
The Brahmas will have the night off to celebrate the win but will be back at NYTEX tomorrow to begin preparing for Friday night's game against the Wichita Thunder.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith
Jaeger wins Oakley/CHL Goaltender of the Week

Only one goal allowed in two games

The Central Hockey League announced today that Brett Jaeger is the recipient of the Oakley Central Hockey League Goaltender of the Week for the period ending February 14, 2010.

The Peace River, Alberta native had a great Valentine’s Day weekend allowing just one goal in his two games played, both victories. The 5-10, 190-pound net minder stopped 58 of the 59 shots he faced beating both Laredo and Allen. His win versus the Bucks came via a 28-save shutout (his second of the season) and in the victory versus Allen he turned away 30 of 31 shots.

On the season, Jaeger is 14-10-1 with a 2.65 goals against average and a .914 save percentage. Jaeger won the weekly honor back on December 14th as well.

Oakley CHL Goaltender of the Week

Brett Jaeger, Texas Brahmas
(Weekly Totals)
Games Played: 2
Record: 2-0-0
GAA: 0.50
Save %: 0.993
Saves: 58 of 59
Shutouts: 1

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Brahmas defeat the Americans 4-1 at NYTEX

Well, we've come to expect chicken moves by the Allen Americans and tonight was no different, but once again the Brahmas showed them that you don't mess with Texas with a 4-1 win in front of a sold out crowd at the NYTEX Sports Centre.


Brett Jaeger was simply magnificent in goal, stopping 30 of 31 shots faced to earn his fifth straight win. Chris Kaufman proved once again that if you put a turd in an Allen Americans sweater, it's still a turd. As for Allen's coaching staff - well, if you need me to explain the difference between sh*t and Shinola, let me know. Don't even get me started about the officiating.

With the win, the Brahmas record goes to 25-17-5 and with 55 points they remain in third place in the Southern Conference, a point ahead of the Laredo Bucks who also won tonight.

I was late arriving to the game but with no score on the board, I felt I had time to grab a hot dog and a Diet Coke - my first meal of a busy day. Minutes after settling in upstairs in Section K, both teams had a defenseman in the sin bin and the Brahmas were threatening when Allen defenseman Chris Kaufman took a cheap shot on Jordan Cameron, rendering him unconscious on the ice.

Skating in on Cameron, who probably never saw it coming, Kaufman hit him just under the chin and neck with his shoulder. Kaufman then cowered like he was the victim when Tyler Skworchinski skated in to explain that that wasn't cool. Bruce Graham came to Kaufman's rescue and then Kevin McLeod quickly dropped Graham while Tom Hart made his way over to check on Cameron's condition.

Here's how the Americans later wrote it up in their press release: "
Players on both teams got fired up early in the game after a clean hit from Chris Kaufman left Brahma Jordan Cameron knocked out temporarily. Cameron skated off the ice to the applause from players and fans alike."

With the mini brawl broken up by the on-ice officials, Hart and other Brahmas medical staffers continued to check on Cameron, who remained unconscious. A couple of minutes later, Cam was able to get up and was able to make it to the locker room, assisted by Hart and Jason Deitsch. Paramedics had been summoned and he was taken to the hospital to be checked out.

Meanwhile, the penalties were handed out. Kaufman and Graham were each assessed two minutes for roughing as was Kevin McLeod. Skworchinski was assessed two minutes for Cross Checking.

As a result of all of this, the Brahmas resumed play as fired up as ever and made Allen pay in more ways than one.

On the power play, James Hiebert sent a shot through the five hole of Alexandre Vincent to put the Brahmas up 1-0 at the 9:30 mark, with the assists coming from Craig Minard and Jason Deitsch.

On the ensuing face off, Tyler Skworchinski settled some unfinished business with Chris Kaufman, earning both Five Minute Fighting Majors.

32 seconds later, Nathan Perrott and Brandon Straub got into it in front of the Allen net. The short bout earned the two of them Five Minute Fighting Majors.

Oh, and then about 8 1/2 minutes later, Perrott and Liam Hukulak duked it out and yes, you guessed it - Five Minute Fighting Majors for both.

The Brahmas had the 14-10 shot advantage and the 1-0 lead after 20 minutes but all thoughts in the barn were on teammate Jordan Cameron.

The second period was tame by comparison to the first. Although the play remained fast and physical, there were only two penalties called on each bench and neither team would capitalize on the man advantage. At even strength, things were different.

With Tyrell Mason and Ryan Fairbarn in the penalty box, the teams were playing four-on-four when AJ Gale sent a pass across the crease to Jason Deitsch who took advantage of an out-of-position Alexandre Vincent, sending the puck into the back of the net for the 2-0 lead at the 7:31 mark. Kevin McLeod was also in on the assist.

Later in the period, Matt Burto scored on Vincent after picking up a loose puck at the blue line and sending his shot from the bottom of the left circle behind the Allen goalie, who had skated in front of the crease. The puck hit net just inside the right corner and just like that, the Brahmas were up 3-0 at the 12:29 mark.

Allen out shot the Brahmas 11-8 in the middle frame but they were unable to solve Brett Jaeger, who was in top form tonight. after 40 minutes, Jaegs had stopped all 22 shots faced and the Brahmas went into the locker room with the game under control and a 3-0 lead.

The final frame was full of intensity which erupted into another fight at the 4:11 mark when Luke Sellars dropped Liam Huculak for some reason or another. Sellars didn't get a chance to do as much damage as I'm sure he would have liked before he was removed from the Allen winger. For his effort, Sellars received a Five Minute Fighting Major, a Two Minute Fighting (Instigator), a 10 Minute No Category Misconduct and a 10 Minute Game Misconduct. And off to an early shower he went.

Allen stymied Brett Jaeger's bid for a second consecutive shut out with a power play goal at the 9:10 mark by defenseman Tyler Wooddisse. Erik Adams and Jarret Lukin were in on the assist.

Tyler Skworchinski and defenseman Mike Salekin (who was an SOB all night) mixed it up in front of the Brahmas' net at the 11:13 mark and in the aftermath, Salekin was assessed two minutes for Slashing and two minutes for Roughing. Skworchinski also received two minutes for Roughing.

In the final minute of the game, with Jason Deitsch in the penalty box fro Tripping, Alexandre Vincent was pulled in favor of the extra attacker to give the Americans a two man advantage. But Matt Burto was able to take control of the puck and skated it in for a shorthanded unassisted empty net goal at the 19:41 mark to secure the final score at 4-1.

With three seconds left on the clock, Nathan Perrott and Mike Salekin got into the final fight of the evening. Perrott took Salekin down pretty quickly and both were assessed Five Minute Fighting majors. Perrott also received a 10 minute No Category Game Misconduct and with his three fights tonight, may get a one game suspension from the league. I could be wrong but I'll have to check the rule book on that one.

The Brahmas had a 12-10 shot advantage in the final frame and a 34-31 shot advantage in the game.

Brett Jaeger made 30 saves on 31 shots and earned the win. His record goes to 14-10-1-2. Alexandre Vincent made 30 saves on 33 shots and takes the loss, his first as an American.

The Brahmas went one for seven on the power play. Allen went one for nine. The Brahmas were assessed 75 minutes on 17 infractions. The Americans received 42 minutes on 15 infractions.

The 3rd Star of the game went to Jason Deitsch who scored the game winner and also had an assist on the night. The 2nd Star was awarded to Matt Burto who scored two goals and the 1st Star went to Brett Jaeger for another amazing evening in net.

You can view the box score here

You can view my photos from the game here (Not edited yet)

The Brahmas and the Americans will continue their war with another battle on Monday afternoon at the Allen Event Center with a 1:00 pm face off. There should be a fair number of Brahmas fans there - if you have the time, be there, be loud, believe!

Photo Credit: Robert Keith
Jubinville in, Jacobsen out

Roster moves announced


Lee Jubinville has been taken off of Injured Reserve and is expected to play in tonight's game against the Allen Americans. Jubinville was hurt on December 13th on the road against the Arizona Sundogs.

Grant Jacobsen has been granted leave by the league.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith
Rough night in goal - Jason Deitsch's unassisted power play goal was one of four that got past Kevin DesFosses

Back in third place!

Brahmas dominate; defeat Laredo 4-0

The Texas Brahmas were in top form tonight as they wrestled third place in the Southern Conference away from the Laredo Bucks in an entertaining Friday night contest at the NYTEX Sports Center. Three unanswered goals in the first period highlighted a game that the Brahmas absolutely needed to win and win they did, shutting out the Bucks 4-0.

The Brahmas showed the intensity expected of a reigning CHL championship team and never let up for 60 minutes.

With the win, the Brahmas record goes to 24-17-5 and with 53 points, they reclaim the crucial third place slot in the Southern Conference.

Newly acquired forward Matt Pierce put the Brahmas up 1-0 at the 2:05 mark after picking off a pass in Bucks territory and then sending a quick shot past Kevin Desfosses from the slot. The unassisted goal was Pierce's eighth of the season and first as a Brahma.

A High-Sticking call on Bucks defenseman Paul Elliot gave the Brahmas their first power play opportunity of the night and Jason Deitsch made the most of it, scoring an unassisted tally from the top of the slot at the 11:44 mark. It was Deitsch's ninth goal of the season.

Continuing his amazing scoring streak, Jordan Cameron struck with 6:27 left in the first period to put the Brahmas up 3-0. Tyler Skworchinski was in on the assist. Cam now has seven straight games with a goal, including a power play goal, a game-winner and three short-handed goals.

On the ensuing face-off, the Bucks' Robin Richards and Nathan Perrott squared off for the first of three big fights on the night. As a result, both received Five-Minute Fighting Majors and Perrott got an early trip to the showers with a 10-Minute Fighting (No Tie Down) Game Misconduct. In other words, he had an unstrapped fight strap on his sweater.

Laredo out shot the Brahmas 7-6 in the first period but with 50% of the Brahmas shots leading to goals, the Bucks went into the locker room with a lot to think about.

Shots were even at nine in the middle frame but neither team was able to score in the middle frame.

An interference call on Benjamin Dieude-Fauvel led to Brahmas defenseman Luke Sellars putting up the only score in the final period, coming at the 13:42 mark with the assists from Matt Pierce and Grant Jacobsen.

Jacobsen later came off the ice after being slashed by Maxime Lincourt (I think). Lincourt was not assessed a penalty and Dan Wildfong was livid. I'm not sure of the exact nature of the injury but it didn't look good. Jacobsen was in obvious pain as he left to be attended to by Tom Hart.

Tempers flared and Luke Sellars later duked it out with Lincourt at the 19:48 mark, leading to Five Minute Fighting Majors and early ejections for both. 10 seconds later, Matt Burto Brawled with Ryan Ford resulting in the same penalty for both. The game ended two seconds later.

Laredo had a 12-4 shot advantage in the final frame and a 28-19 shot advantage in the game but with the loss, boarded the bus for 11 hour bus ride to Hidalgo, where they will face the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees tonight.

Brett Jaeger made 38 saves on 28 shots and earned the shoot out win; his fourth win in a row. His record goes to 13-10-1-2. Kevin Desfosses made 15 saves on 19 shots and takes the loss. His record with Laredo goes to 5-3-1-1.

The Brahmas went two for six on the power play. Laredo went zero for three. The Brahmas were assessed 33 minutes on eight infractions. The Bucks received 29 minutes on 10 infractions.

The 3rd Star of the game went to Jason Deitsch who had an unassisted power play goal. The 2nd Star was awarded to Matt Pierce who scored what was essentially the game-winning goal in his first game as a Brahma (he also had an assist) and the 1st Star went to Brett Jaeger for an amazing evening in net.

You can view the box score here

You can view my photos from the game here and here (I'll have all the photos edited and up for viewing later today)

The Brahmas will host the Allen Americans tonight at the NYTEX Sports Center for the seventh meeting between the two teams this season. The series is tied 3-3 and neither team has won in the others building thus far...this one is going to be good! I liked this line from my previous post, so I'm going to say it again - Be there, be loud, believe!

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Thursday, February 11, 2010

White knuckle time

Brahmas battle on for playoff position


With 19 games remaining in the 2009-10 season, the Texas Brahmas are still in a major fight for position in the upcoming playoffs.

The numbers one and two spots in the Southern Conference are pretty much already decided. The Odessa Jackalopes have first place and the league’s Governor’s Cup all but won with a 36-7-4 record and 76 points. The expansion Allen Americans appear to have a lock on second place with a 31-10-3 record and 65 points. They host the Tulsa Oilers tonight at the AEC.


The race for third place is the big story, with the Brahmas up against the Laredo Bucks. The Brahmas have had a tenuous hold on third place for the better part of the season but with Tuesday afternoon’s (controversial) 4-3 win over the Corpus Christi Ice Rays, the Bucks have not only caught up to the Brahmas in games played (45) but they’ve also taken over the third slot with a one point lead (52 points).


Here’s what Bucks head coach Terry Ruskowski had to say about tomorrow night’s game:


“It’s a very tough place to play. It’s a small building, a cramped building, an older building, and it’s a tough place to play against them. What we have to do is weather the storm right off the bat because I know they’ll be coming out strong. Weather the storm, then get back into what we have to do to be successful and take the puck to them as much as we can and try to force them to make errors. And obviously when we do get opportunities, because we don’t get many good opportunities there, when we do get opportunities, we have to make them count.”


Also, regarding the starting goaltender:
“I would probably would go with (Kevin) Desfosses on Friday…”

Side note: DesFosses is 9-7-1 this season with Laredo (and Corpus Christi, where he started the season). He earned a win the last time the Brahmas and the Bucks played, stopping 37 of 38 shots in the 3-1 Laredo win on January 29th.


Thanks to Joy Lindsay of the Laredo Morning Times for those quotes.


We all know both teams had had their share of struggles this season. Injuries, roster changes, inconsistent play, you name it, they’ve dealt with it.


The two teams will meet on Friday night at the NYTEX Sports Centre and for the Brahmas, no cliché intended, it’s a must win. An overtime or shootout will result in another tie for third between the two teams, while a regulation win will put the Brahmas back ahead by a point.


Side note: The Brahmas are 15-5-1 at home this season.

Here’s the thing - whoever holds third place at the end of the season avoids the three-game opening round and instead will likely play a seven-game series against the Allen Americans. The Brahmas and Americans split wins in the pre-season and are 3-3 in the regular season. The Americans will visit NYTEX on Saturday night and the Brahmas will travel to the Allen Event Center on Monday for an afternoon game (1:00 pm start).


Side note: Neither team has won in the other’s building thus far.


A playoff round between the Brahmas and Americans would be beneficial obviously to the teams but also to the fans considering the short travel time between each rink. In addition, it would be a great way to cap off the intense rivalry that has developed between the two teams.


Back to the must win thing. The Brahmas last 19 games look like this:


11 home games remaining (seven conference games) - Three against Laredo, two against Allen, one each against Wichita, Odessa, Bossier-Shreveport, Corpus Christi, Missouri and Rapid City.


Eight road games remaining (three conference games) – Two against Rapid City and one each against Allen, Bossier-Shreveport, Corpus Christi, Wichita, Laredo and Mississippi.
None of it looks easy.

You can’t even count the Wichita game as a sure win because, well, there are no sure wins, but this is a new Wichita team playing for respect in their new building.


Obviously, every point counts but taking back third place in the South and holding on to it is crucial. No one wants to see the Brahmas have to take on either Rio Grande Valley or Corpus Christi in the first round.


Friday night is the first game of the rest of the season. Be there. Be loud. Believe.


Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ladies Hockey 101 a big success

Over 100 participants learn the ins and outs of Brahmas hockey

Texas Brahmas Hockey club held their second annual Ladies Hockey 101 event tonight at the NYTEX Sports Center and let me tell you, from the start, it was a lot of fun. My understanding was that there were 115 participants, nearly doubling the crowd from last year.

The evening began at the Zuroma Bar and Grill where Brahmas players mingled and served their guests food and drinks. Then Dan Wildfong and Ron Vogel stepped up to the microphone to begin with some team building exercises which focused on practice, teamwork and perseverance, all important for a hockey player.

I'm not sure where the chug and shot contest fit in, but it was fun. Drawings for prizes including team signed hockey sticks and even autographed photos of the players rounded out the beginning of the evening.

Next, the ladies made their way to the ice for a presentation which included an explanation of the rules of the game, including demonstrations of icing, offsides, board checking, etc. Several ladies got the opportunity to "dress" AJ Gale and Scott Thauwald while learning about the various gear the players wear.

Joe Palmer explained goal tending basics, there was a race in which Brahmas players pushed goal nets loaded with two riders and several players took part in a hardest shot contest. Many questions were answered and there was a lot of laughter.

Finally, the group was given the opportunity to tour the locker room and watch a highlight film from last season before breaking away for the evening. The Brahmas bus was open to those who wanted to take a look inside.

You can view photos from the event here and here

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Monday, February 8, 2010

Brahmas acquire Pierce, trade Godoy to Mississippi

CHL trade deadline today

The Texas Brahmas announced today that they have traded Elias Godoy to the Mississippi RiverKings in exchange for Matt Pierce.

The exchange of forwards capped off a day that saw the Allen Americans' Charlie Effinger dealt to Missouri and the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs' Neil Clark sent to the Wichita Thunder.

Godoy, 28, tallied 19 points (6 G, 13 A, +1) and 20 penalty minutes through 23 games with the Brahmas. He has two power play goals and one game-winner.

Pierce, 24, leaves the RiverKings after playing in 39 games this season, scoring 21 points (7 G, 14 A, +2) with 38 penalty minutes. He had a one-game call up to the Houston Aeros (AHL) earlier this season.

Head Coach Dan Wildfong believes the acquisition of Pierce will benefit the team in the last two months of the regular season.

“We picked up a big physical presence who also has the ability to score. Matt’s style of play is what we need at this point in the season,” Wildfong said.

Pierce has 57 points (22 G, 35 A, +16) and 97 penalty minutes in 101 games played with the RiverKings since joining the team for the 2008-09 season.


The 6', 205-pound native of Arnprior, Ontario went pro in 2007-08, playing 49 games with the Knoxville Ice Bears (SPHL) and four games with the Charlotte Checkers (ECHL). He had 36 points (22 G, 14 A) and 84 penalty minutes during his time with the Ice Bears.

Photo Credit: Les Stockton

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Kevin McLeod and Grant Jacobsen congratulate Jordan Cameron after the Brahmas victory

Brahmas win again!

Cameron's late score defeats Mudbugs 3-2

The Texas Brahmas won their second consecutive road game tonight at the CenturyTel Center in Bossier City. Two special teams goals, nine straight penalty-kills and a late strike by Jordan Cameron was enough to give the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs their second loss in as many nights.

With the win, the Brahmas' record goes to 23-17-5 with 52 points but they remain just a point ahead of the Laredo Bucks in the third place position in the Southern Conference (the Bucks beat Amarillo 4-2 tonight).

The quality of play tonight versus what we saw last night in Corpus Christi was refreshing to say the least. Yet, like last night the Brahmas spent the better part of the first frame defending their zone.

The Mudbugs got on the board first with a man-advantage due to a Hooking call on Elias Godoy. David Rutherford skated strong into the high slot and then sent the puck to Justin Aikins, who buried it into the net at the 13:46 mark. Tyrel Lucas was also credited with the assist.

On the ensuing face-off, Nathan Perrott and Neil Clark had some words and then came to blows. Or more like hugs. The two danced around a bit with Perrott maybe landing a blow to Clark before taking him down to the ice. Both received Five-Minute Fighting Majors for their efforts.

The Mudbugs led the shot count 15-7 and took the 1-0 lead into the locker room after 20 minutes.

Scott Thauwald was called for Slashing 3:41 into the middle frame but it took just nine seconds for the Brahmas to sour the Mudbugs power play opportunity with an unassisted tally by Tyler Skworchinski. It was the Brahmas’ 16th short-handed goal of the season; best in the league (Odessa and Tulsa are tied with 11 each). It was Skworchinski’s fourth of the season.

The Mudbugs failed to take advantage of four straight power plays and a five-on-three for 49 seconds late in the second period. The out shot the Brahmas 15-12 but were unable to solve Jaeger, who looked to be in championship form. After 40 minutes, the game would remain tied at 1-1.

The third period saw some early four-on-four action after Elias Godoy and Mudbugs defenseman Scott Kalinchuk were each assessed two minutes for Roughing and sent to the sin bin at the 3:34 mark. 14 seconds later, David Pszenyczny beat Brett Jaeger and gave the lead back to Bossier-Shreveport with a little help from Shawn Limpright and Simon Mangos at the 3:48 mark.

Less than four minutes later, Pszenyczny was in the box for Holding and the Brahmas evened it up with a power play goal by Justin Kinnunen. Jason Deitsch and Tyler Skworchinski assisted.

Later in the period, the Mudbugs had a 5-on-3 for 27 seconds and a four-minute 5-on-4 after Tyler Skworchinski was called for a High Sticking double minor, but they failed to convert.

The game appeared to be heading into overtime when Kevin McLeod sent a high pass from center ice to Jordan Cameron, who was skating along the boards near the Mudbugs bench. Cameron gloved the puck and quickly dropped it to the ice, skating into the Mudbugs zone. He avoided two defenders and ripped a quick shot over DeCaro’s shoulder with only 15 seconds left in the game for his third game-winning goal of the season.

You can view a video of the play here

The Brahmas had a 13-10 shot advantage in the final frame. Bossier-Shreveport had a 40-32 shot advantage in the game.

Brett Jaeger made 38 saves on 40 shots and earned the win. His record goes to 12-10-1-1. John DeCaro made 29 saves on 32 shots and takes the loss. His record goes to 14-10-1.

The Brahmas went one for six on the power play. Bossier-Shreveport went one for 10. The Brahmas were assessed 27 minutes on 12 infractions. The Mudbugs received 19 minutes on eight infractions.

The 3rd Star of the game went to the Mudbugs’ David Rutherford who only had an assist but was a home player in a close game (WTF?). The 2nd Star was awarded to Brett Jaeger for his performance in net and the 1st Star went to Jordan Cameron, who scored the game-winning goal.

You can view the box score here

You can view my photos from the game here

Observations:

• The Brahmas’ 16 short-handed tallies put them on pace to beat last season’s total of 19 (tied with Colorado for the highest number of SHG’s).

The Brahmas head home tonight (with a special guest on the bus) and will get a day of rest before preparing for three games in four days beginning with a visit from the Laredo Bucks on Friday, February 12th. The Brahmas will host the Allen Americans on Saturday night and then will travel to Allen for a Monday afternoon game.

Image Credit: Robert Keith