Sunday, November 14, 2010

Aaron Lee sends the puck flying past Kevin Beech during tonight's shootout

The difference between one point and two...

Killer Bees sting Brahmas with 4-3 loss

Over 2,000 fans were treated to an entertaining night of hockey at the NYTEX Sports Centre on Saturday, but the end result was a loss for the Texas Brahmas; their fifth of the season and their second in a shootout. On the bright side, the home team earned a point in the standings and at 5-3-2 (12 points), they are just two points behind the Killer Bees, who go to 6-3-2 (14 Points).

The action in the first frame reflected how well-matched the two teams were and only a questionable Tripping call on Craig Minard at the 7:41 mark provided an advantage for either side. The Brahmas penalty killers (currently fifth in the league at 85.45%) shut that advantage down easily, by the way.

The Brahmas got the first tally of the night at the 12:11 mark when Chad Woollard (appearing in his 300th game with the purple and black) took a pass from Greg Hogeboom off the boards and charged in from center ice untouched on an oh-so-lonely Juliano Pagliero. Pagliero was able to get a piece of the puck but it would trickle between his pads past the goal line. Steven Later was credited with the assist.

Presented with two man-advantages later in the period, Texas' struggling power play unit (third from the bottom at 13.33%) was unable to capitalize and the period ended with Rio possessing a 14-9 shot advantage but down by a 1-0 score.

The Killer Bees accounted for five of the six infractions levied during the middle twenty which gave the Brahmas plenty of scoring chances, including an early five-on-three opportunity. On a side-note, sort of - during the 2007-08 season, my running joke among seatmates whenever the boys had a 5-on-3 was "If they can't score here, then there's something wrong." Who knew that the power play would never improve. Suffice it to say, the Brahmas didn't convert on the 5-on-3.

12:03 into the period, the Bees' newest forward and former Brahma Ryan McLeod tallied the equalizer after picking up the puck on the near side of the crease, following a rebound from an Aaron Lee shot. McLeod took a fore-handed shot which beat Kevin Beech and found the back of the open net. Aaron Lewicki earned the secondary assist on that one.

Back to the Brahmas' special teams. On October 30th, the boys had their best special teams play of the young season when they scored three power play goals (Riedel, Lawrence, Later) and killed 7 of 8 man-advantages in a 5-3 win against the visiting Arizona Sundogs. That was also the last time they scored on the power play (26 straight power plays without a score followed). A Holding call on Bees defenseman Matt Smyth set the stage for Calin Wild to change that exactly three minutes after McLeod's goal, putting the Brahmas back on top 2-1 with a little help from Steven Later and Kevin Beech.

The Brahmas held an 11-7 shot-advantage in the period, which ended 4:57 later with the Brahmas holding another one goal lead.

There were just two penalties in the third period; the first, a Holding call on Tom Train, resulted in another Rio equalizer at the 6:10 mark when Zak McClellan, alone in front at the near side circle, buried the puck in the back of the net. Once again, the game was tied up. Jake Obermeyer and Sean Muncy were in on the assist.

Just 2:36 later, Chad Woollard and Jim Burichin set up a play for Mick Lawrence, who soared in from the left face off circle to Pagliero's glove side and sent the puck rocketing past to regain the lead at 3-2.

The undaunted Bees were able to tie the game again at the 11:16 mark after Ryan McLeod came streaking down the far side of the ice and fed Tomas Klempa in front of the crease. Klempa then proceeded to one-time it to the back of the net for his team-leading seventh goal of the season. Aaron Lewicki also assisted. There would be no further scoring in the period and the game was sent into overtime despite a hearty scramble by the Killer Bees to earn the regulation win. They led the third frame with a 11-5 shot advantage.

The overtime period yielded a single shot on goal for each squad and the game was decided in sudden death overtime when Thomas Klempa, the Bees' second shooter, tallied the game-winner. Aaron Lee also sent one in to ice the win.

None of the Brahmas shooters (Woollard, Lawrence, Hogeboom, Krischuk) were able to beat Pagliero, although a couple looked like they beat themselves. Yes, probably the worst shootout performance I've witnessed in recent memory (for the record, I didn't like the choices - nothing against the shooters, but I would've factored in Pierce and Train against this net minder).

The Killer Bees had the 34-26 shot advantage in the game.

Kevin Beech stopped 30 of 33 shots faced in 65 minutes of play and takes the loss. His record goes to 4-1-1-1 with a 2.52 GAA and a .926 save percentage.

Juliano Pagliero, the hardest working goalie in the league (in terms of playing minutes), stopped 23 of 26 shots faced and all four shots in the shootout to earn the win. His record goes to 6-2-2-1.

The Brahmas went 1 for 7 on the power play while Rio went 1 for 4. The Brahmas were assessed 8 minutes on 4 infractions. The Killer Bees received 14 minutes on 7 infractions.

The 3rd Star of the game went to Chad Woollard who had a goal and an assist on the night. The 2nd Star was awarded to Steven Later who had two assists and the 1st Star went to Thomas Klempa with two goals, including the game-winner.

Referee: Jon McIssac
Linesmen: Chris Petrin, Jean Minard

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

You can view the Brahmas' press release here

You can view my photos from the game here and here

The Brahmas have a few days to regroup - they will hit the road on Thursday afternoon for a trip down South to face the Laredo Bucks on Friday night and the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees on Saturday night. They'll return home on Sunday before head back on the road to face the Odessa Jackalopes on Tuesday night (I can already hear the crickets chirping inside the Ector County Coliseum - that's referring the the 300 seats filled, which will be reported as 3,000).

A busy Thanksgiving week for the boys will have them return to host the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs on Wednesday, the Laredo Bucks on Friday and the Mudbugs once again on Saturday. Be prepared Brahmas fans, for it's not just hockey. Be there, be loud, believe!

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

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