Friday, March 5, 2010

Matt Pierce scores on a penalty shot to give the Brahmas a 2-0 lead in the first period (Click photo to enlarge)

Back in third place!

Matt Pierce's hat trick leads the Brahmas to a 5-2 win over Laredo

A sold out crowd of 2,369 definitely got the most out of their entertainment dollar tonight at the NYTEX Sports Centre as the Brahmas put a sour note on the Laredo Bucks' 500th game as a franchise and skated back into third place with a 5-2 win.

This game had it all - a hat trick by Matt Pierce (including a penalty shot goal), a Gordie Howe hat trick by James Hiebert, two fights between Nathan Perrott and Robin Richards, three assists by Jason Deitsch, 78 minutes worth of penalties; about the only thing missing was Tyler Skworchinski killing a bat.

With the win, the Brahmas have once again tied the Bucks for third place in the Southern Conference with a 30-22-5 record and 65 points.

The game started out fast and furious with very physical play and good scoring opportunities for both teams.

The Brahmas jumped out in front early when Jordan Cameron stuffed in a rebound on a Matt Burto shot to make it 1-0 at the 4:50 mark. It was his 20th goal of the season.

There were only two penalties in the first frame, both on Laredo. Nearly 10 minutes after the first score and with Todd Griffith in the sin bin for Goalie Interference, Matt Pierce charged toward the Bucks net on a breakaway and attempted to take a shot before being taken down, calling for penalty shot at the 14:41 mark. Pierce took advantage of his rare penalty shot opportunity when he beat Kevin Desfosses to make it a 2-0 game.

After 20 minutes, the Brahmas had a narrow 13-12 shot advantage but took the lead into the locker room, appearing to be in control of the contest.

A Roughing call on Kevin Seibel early in the second frame would set up a Laredo power play goal which cut the Brahmas lead in half. Todd Griffith tipped in Benjamin Dieude-Fauvel’s shot before Joe Palmer could re-position himself at the 1:38 mark. Evan Schwabe was also in on the assist.

Nathan Perrott and Laredo goon Robin Richards dropped the gloves at the 6:56 mark, earning both five-minute Fighting Majors.

James Hiebert and Jeff Bes would earn matching Roughing calls after mixing it up near the Bucks net at the 9:13 mark.

The Matt Pierce show continued a couple of minutes later with his second tally of the night. With Darryl Smith serving a Delay of Game penalty, Pierce sent another one past Desfosses to make it a 3-1 contest at the 11:57 mark with the assists coming from James Hiebert and Jason Deitsch.

Shortly after the ensuing face-off, Nathan Perrott and Robin Richards duked it out for the second time, earning matching five-minute Fighting Majors and a 10-minute No Category Misconduct for Perrott, apparently for refusing to stop fighting when politely asked by the game officials.

Less than a minute later, Evan Schwabe put the Bucks back into the game with a quick strike on Joe Palmer after taking a pass from Todd Griffith on a two-on-one.

The period felt like it would never end due to all the brawling and Matt Burto and Darryl Smith were the next to go at the 14:10 mark after the two got wrapped up at the boards to the right of the Bucks' net. Both would receive Roughing calls but Burto got an extra two minutes for Holding.

The period ended with no further scoring. The Brahmas had a 16-9 shot advantage (and 29-21 after 40 minutes) and carried the 3-2 lead into the second intermission.

Matt Pierce completed the hat trick at the 12:02 mark of the third with the assists from Hiebert and Deitsch and then less than three minutes later, it was Hiebert getting the assists from Pierce and Deitsch to seal the final score at 5-3 at the 14:53 mark.

Robin Richards completed his fighting hat trick at the 17:07 mark, this time taking on James Hiebert. The two received five-minute Fighting Majors and Richards got to take an early shower when he was assessed a 10-minute No Category Misconduct for excessive fighting.

Joe Palmer made 28 saves on 30 shots faced and earns the win. His record goes to 12-9-4-3. Kevin Desfosses made 31 saves on 36 shots and takes the loss. His record with Laredo goes to 7-6-2. The Brahmas went one for five on the power play. Laredo went one for four. Both teams were assessed 39 minutes on 11 infractions.

The 3rd Star of the game went to James Hiebert for the Gordie Howe hat trick (a goal, an assist and fight). The 2nd Star was awarded to Joe Palmer for his performance in goal and the 1st Star went to Matt Pierce who had a hat trick and an assist.

You can view the box score here and the Game Live broadcast here

You can view my game photos here and here

  • Scratches for tonight's game included Grant Jacobsen (Knee), Kevin McLeod (Groin) and AJ Gail (lower body).
  • Matt Pierce - tap! tap! tap! Arguably, a tremendous addition to the Brahmas this season. I thought he was going to get another score in the third, but hey, three was enough.
  • Seriously, what is Robin Richards problem - three fights tonight? Somebody woke up on te wrong side of the rink...
  • Tantrum of the night award goes to Bucks defenseman Mike Looby who was injured after crashing into the boards at the visiting bench. I'm not sure what happened but it appeared he got his bell rung pretty good. After taking a seat on the bench, Looby broke his stick into about five pieces by slamming it into the bench. Understandable. Looby is a solid D man and the last thing the Bucks need right now is to lose another blue liner.
The Brahmas will host the Northern Conference leading Rapid City Rush for the first time tomorrow night. It's time to see what all the hype is about. Is Rapid City the real thing or have they just been feeding off of weaker teams to get where they are. Can the boys pick up where they left off tonight and re-take sole possession of third place in the South. This one will be good. Be there tomorrow loud...believe!

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

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