What started out as a dull game slowly progressed into a bona fide nail biter and in the end, the Texas Brahmas' seven-game road losing streak was over, thanks to a 3-2 win at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi.
The Brahmas scored three unanswered goals (Cameron, Jacobsen, Deitsch) in the 23 1/2 minutes to earn the win, their first road victory since December 19th at Arizona.
With the victory, the Brahmas record goes to 22-17-5 (7-12-4 on the road) and with 49 points, they maintain a tenuous one-point hold on third place in the Southern Conference (due to Laredo's come-from behind win over the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees).
Spoiler alert: The first period really pissed me off.
WTF? That's all I could think watching a frickin' pathetic first period. The Brahmas were out shot 11-1 at the 10 minute mark and 15-5 in 20 minutes of play. Obviously, most of the action took place in the Brahmas zone and really, I'm amazed it was only a 1-0 game heading into the first intermission. Brett Jaeger made a couple of good saves and got lucky a few times. Kevin Beech might as well have brought a lawn chair to lounge in, considering the lack of scoring threats he faced.
It's not that the Ice Rays looked that good. But it seemed that there was an overall lack of hustle by the Brahmas. Like watching a bunch of flies on a stale turd on a hot Summer day. Or at best, what I imagine the SPHL looks like.
The big thrill of the first frame was Chad Woollard's goal at the 10:38 mark. Taking a feed from Kurtis Dulle, Woolly sent in a writer from the right circle, just over the gloved hand of Brett Jaeger, to make it a 1-0 game.
And that was about it for the first frame. A real stinker. Again, the Brahmas were out shot 15-5! It was the Hooking period as the Brahmas were called for the penalty three times and the Ice Rays, twice. Add a Holding call on Tyrell Mason and there is your penalty summary for the first frame.
The second period didn't start out that much better, but slowly, this evolved into a game.
Unfortunately for the Brahmas, Chris Richards put up the Ice Rays' second marker with a backhander at the 7:15 mark with the assists coming from Chad Costello and Kyle Peto.
It took the Brahmas over nine minutes to answer and get on the board, but once they did, things began to change.
Back on the penalty kill with Tyler Skworchinski in the sin bin for Hooking, Jordan Cameron scored the Brahmas' CHL best 15th short-handed goal at the 16:25 mark with a little help from Jason Deitsch and Kevin McLeod. Cam's backhand shot beat Kevin Beech as he was crowded in the net by McLeod and Justin Quenneville. There was no interference call and the goal was allowed. Fantastic!
The Brahmas seemed to feed off the momentum of Cameron's goal and their physical play began to pick up. The period would end with the Ice Rays up 2-1 but the Brahmas had the 10-5 shot advantage and a new lease on the game after 40 minutes.
The third period began with two minutes of four-on-four hockey with Elias Godoy (unsportsmanlike conduct) and Steven Later (slashing) in the penalty box for a little trouble at the 20:00 mark of the middle frame.
Grant Jacobsen scored the equalizer off a feed from Nathan Perrott at the 4:41 mark. Perrott sent his shot in from the left point but it appeared to deflect off of Kurtis Dulle's stick and then Jacobsen sent it in. Beech tryed to make the save with his gloved hand but the puck just bounce up and into the back of the net, making it a 2-2 game.
Play continued penalty-free for over 13 minutes before the Brahmas were able to take the first lead of the night with a score by Jason Deitsch at the 18:27 mark. Deitsch's shot from the right circle went through the five hole - Kevin Beech didn't have a chance. Tyler Skworchinski and Tyrell Mason were in on the assist.
The Ice Rays stayed in it, but couldn't get past a Brahmas defense (that had improved exponentially since the first period) and Brett Jaeger, who was magnificent in the final frame.
The Ice Rays final shot, with about eight seconds left in the game, was stopped by an acrobatic move by Jaeger and with that, it was all over.
A little nastiness to end the game - after the final save by Jaeger, Kyle Peto gave a shove to Skworchinski who was trying to get up from the ice and then Jason Deitsch came in and attacked Peto. After a brief tussle behind the net, the two separated and the game ended. For the record, Peto was given a Roughing Double Minor. Deitsch was given a Roughing Double Minor and a Spearing Double Minor.
The Brahmas had a narrow 13-12 shot lead in the final frame. Corpus Christi had a 32-28 shot advantage in the game.
Brett Jaeger made 30 saves on 32 shots and earned the win. His record goes to 11-10-1-1. Kevin Beech made 25 saves on 28 shots and takes the loss. His record with the Ice Rays goes to 2-2-0-1.
The Brahmas went zero for three on the power play. Corpus Christi went zero for six. The Brahmas were assessed 20 minutes on 10 infractions. The Ice Rays received 12 minutes on six infractions.
The 3rd Star of the game went to Chad Woollard who scored the first goal of the night. The 2nd Star was awarded to Brett Jaeger for his performance in net and the 1st Star went to Jason Deitsch, who scored the game winning goal and also had an assist on the night.
You can view the box score here
The Brahmas continue their two-game road trip with a Saturday night game against the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs at the CenturyTel Center. The Mudbugs were embarrassed at home in a 4-2 loss to the Wichita Thunder tonight.
Image Credit: Warface by Design