Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Brahmas celebrate Matt Pierce's late goal, securing the 5-3 final score

'Bugs squashed at NYTEX

Brahmas end eight-game win streak for Bossier-Shreveport

The Texas Brahmas showed their own "Heart and Hustle" last night, defeating the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs in a 5-3 slug fest at the NYTEX Sports Centre. The victory ends an impressive eight-game win streak by the road-weary 'Bugs (this was their first loss since November 6th) and gives the Brahmas, at least for now, a four point lead over the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees for third place in the Berry Conference.

Prior to the game, the Brahmas organization and the City of North Richland Hills recognized former team captain Craig Minard in a special on-ice presentation. Minard, a member of both the Brahmas and Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs during his career, retired early in the season. The City, represented by Councilman Tim Welch, declared November 27, 2010 - Craig Minard Day. The Brahmas, represented by GM Mike Barack and Head Coach Dan Wildfong, presented Minard with gifts, including a mounted and framed #27 sweater. Following speeches, Minard was shown due respect by both teams who left their respective benches to line up and shake hands with the former player.

The first period of play was a bit of a yawner, especially compared to Friday night's action but the boys showed good form.

The ‘Bugs got on the board first when Steven Crampton and Justin Aikins combined to feed Brett Smith, who skated into the slot and beat Wayne Savage through the five-hole at the 8:36 mark. That proved to be the game’s only goal through the first 20 minutes.

Both teams sent six shots on net in a first period which saw very few scoring chances either way. A Holding penalty on Nathan Saunders was the only infraction and the resulting power play was shut down by the Brahmas penalty killers, now ranked second in the league.

The middle frame warmed up the fans on a particularly chilly night in the Shoebox. Mudbugs defenseman Jamie Milam was called for Hooking at the 2:38 mark and the the Brahmas special teams quickly took advantage of the opportunity. Chad Woollard, set up by Dan Riedel and Greg Hogeboom, lit the lamp after beating Brian Foster with a rocket at the 2:38 mark, making it a 1-1 contest.

A little over three minutes later, Todd Griffith scored his second goal as a Brahma and his second in as many nights with a little help from Matt Pierce and Tyler Allen to give the Brahmas a 2-1 lead at the 5:43 mark.

Fisticuffs ensued 34 seconds later between defensemen Nathan Saunders and Mitch Love. It was a pretty even match and both stayed on their feet. After being separated by linesmen, the two skated to the penalty boxes to serve their Fighting Majors. They wouldn't be alone for long.

Mick Lawrence and Todd Griffith got into it briefly near the Brahmas' net before the linesmen broke it up.

Shortly after that, Todd Griffith and Shane Hart dropped gloves and another even fight ended with Hart managing to pull Griffith down to the ice where the two were separated. Griffith and Saunders exchanged high-fives as the two met in the sin bin.

17 seconds before Saunders and Love were released, Roger Maxwell collided with David Pszenyczny (pronounced Zen-a-chez-nee) collided near the half-boards and Pszenyczny made the mistake of disrespectfully jacking his jaws at a man much larger and tougher than himself. Maxwell went after the defenseman who was trying to retreat, having realized the error of his ways when Steven Crampton hit Maxwell with a cross-check from behind, knocking the unsuspecting forward to his knees. Crampton followed with a slash to the big man's buttocks while he was trying to get up - so disrespectful. Maxwell rang Crampton's helmet a few times before Crampton sent a left to Maxwell's chin and the two tumbled to the ice before being separated by officials. Maxwell, a man you just have to like (if you're a Brahmas fan), gave his customary salute and million-dollar smile to the opposing bench as he skated his way to the crowded house of brawlers.

Crampton was called for Slashing to serve with his Fighting Major but avoided an unsportsmanlike conduct call for his initial check.

With the fight card exhausted, the game resumed and power plays for both sides were killed efficiently.

The Mudbugs' Shane Hart scored the equalizer with 1:54 remaining in the period thanks to a set up by Justin Aikins and Jamie Milam.

The wild and woolly frame ended with the score tied and the Brahmas with the ever-so-narrow 10-9 shot count (16-15) through 40 minutes).

The Mudbugs went back on top early in the third frame as chickenshit Steven Crampton sent a screamer into the top corner of the net from the right circle to make it 3-2 for the visitors. Brett Smith and Jamie Milam were in on the assist.

The lead lasted just 29 seconds however, as Dan Reidel’s shot was then deflected in by Roger Maxwell to knot the game at three at the 4:28 mark. Todd Griffith picked up his second point of the night on the assist.

With 4:55 left to play, Tyler Allen scored on a delayed penalty with the assistance of Dan Riedel and Steven Later.

Matt Pierce followed with a score on a screened Foster just 24 seconds later to nail the coffin shut, securing the final score at 5-3 and providing every fan in attendance with a burger, courtesy of the folks at Whataburger.

The Mudbugs made a concerted effort in the final frame, out shooting the Brahmas 16-9, but a stellar effort by Wayne Savage and the defense stymied them at all but one turn. They lost, despite a 36-24 shot advantage through the game.

With the win, the Brahmas record goes to 9-5-2 (20 points) and they are now four points ahead of both Rio Grande Valley and the surging Mississippi RiverKings in the Berry Conference. Texas is now 5-2-1 on home ice.

Wayne Savage stopped 29 of 32 shots faced to earn the win. His record goes to 3-3-1 with a 2.75 GAA (13th in the league) and a .913 save percentage (14th in the league).

Brian Foster turned away 19 of 24 shots faced and takes the loss. His four-game win streak is over and his record goes to 7-2-0.

The Brahmas went 1 for 4 on the power play. The 'Bugs went 0 for 2. The Brahmas were assessed 25 minutes on 8 infractions. The 'Bugs received 29 minutes on 10 infractions.

The 3rd Star of the game went to Roger Maxwell, who had a goal and a fight on the night. The 2nd Star was awarded to Dan Riedel, who had three helpers and the 1st Star went to Tyler Allen, who had the game-winning goal as well as an assist on the night.

Referee: Geoff Miller
Linesmen: Chris Petrin, Brian Bull

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 (not edited yet)

The Brahmas will conclude their home stand next weekend when they host the Missouri Mavericks Friday night on ‘Puck Night’; the first 1000 fans will receive a puck courtesy of Cabela's.

On Saturday night the Brahmas host the Colorado Eagles on ‘Teddy Bear Toss’ night. Fans are encouraged to bring stuffed animals to the game to toss onto the ice following the first Texas goal. The stuffed animals will be donated to the Community Enrichment Center of North Richland Hills.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Special thanks to Applestreudel and Fast Cars over at the 'Bugs Forum for pointing out some big-time factual errors that have been corrected - to my satisfaction at least!

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