Monday, April 11, 2011

Jaeger signs with Hvidovre

Former Brahmas goalie leaves EIHL for Danish league

Dashing the hopes of those Texas Brahmas fans hoping that Brett Jaeger would return to North Richland Hills for the 2011-12 season, news broke on Friday that Jaegs had left the Coventry Blaze to sign with an unnamed Danish team.

The Insider can report that Jaeger has in fact signed with the Hvidovre Bulls, playing in the AL-Bank Ligaen (the name is a result of a sponsorship deal with the Danish bank ArbejdernesLandsbank), the premier league in Danish ice hockey. The Bulls placed fifth in the eight-team league with 52 points in the 39-game 2010-11 regular season.

Coventry Blaze head coach Paul Thompson announced Jaeger's departure in an article in the Coventry Telegraph.

"Jaeger is off to Denmark," Thompson said. "He's been offered a good contract over there."

Jaeger finished the 2010-11 EIHL regular season with a 25-27-2 record, including four shut outs and registered a 2.99 GAA and a .915 save percentage. He was also nominated for the EIHL'sNetminder of the Year award, which went to Ervins Mustukovs of the Sheffield Steelers.

"He's a great goalie but just didn't have the team in front of him," Thompson added. "He played hard night-in, night-out. I'm sure he'll go on to have a very good career in the higher-paying league in Europe."

Jaeger was suggested by Hvidovre back (defenseman) Kevin McLeod, another former Brahmas fan favorite. McLeod played 35 games with the club in 2010-11, leading the league in expulsions (penalties) with 28 penalties for 131 PIM. McLeod also tallied 23 points (7 G, 23 A), leading all backs on the team. Thus far, McLeod has not ststed his intentions for next season.

Jaeger replaces Michael Madsen (no, not Mr. Blonde) in net for the Bulls, who will play for S√łnderjyskE Ishockey, another team in the AL-Ligaen.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith
Christie signs ATO with Manitoba

Rookie goaltender gets opportunity with hometown team

The Manitoba Moose have announced that they have signed goaltender Steve Christie to an amateur tryout contract.

Christie, 26, recently completed his senior season with the University of Manitoba ending his final year of eligibility at the Canadian University level. Christie has served as the Bisons' starting goaltender for the past three seasons, compiling a 41-37-8 record.

His best season came in 2009-10 when Christie earned CIS Men’s Hockey Goaltender of the Year honors and helped lead the Bisons to the CIS National Championship Tournament for the first time since 2004-05.

The Winnipeg, Manitoba native joined the Brahmas on March 14th just after the Bisons were eliminated by the University of Alberta Golden Bears in the Canada West Semi-Final.

Christie appeared in three regular season games with the Brahmas, recording one win and two losses.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sgroi signs PTO with Bridgeport

Brahmas enforcer adds muscle to Sound Tigers

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers have announced that they have signed Brahmas forward Mike Sgroi to a professional tryout contract (PTO).

Sgroi, 32, joins the Sound Tigers after splitting the 2010-11 season between the Brahmas and the Colorado Eagles. In 26 games with Texas, Sgroi tallied four points (1 G, 3 A, -3) and 94 penalty minutes while quickly establishing himself as a fan favorite.

The 6' 5", 230-pound native of Toronto, Ontario has appeared in nearly 200 American Hockey League contests, most recently as a member of the Norfolk Admirals during the 2008-09 season. Sgroi joins the Sound Tigers in Hartford in time for tonight's game against the Connecticut Whale.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Jacks even series, defeat Brahmas 5-2

Teams head to Odessa for games three and four

Phil Plante scored two goals and Joel Martin stopped 37 shots for the Odessa Jackalopes in their 5-2 win over the Texas Brahmas on Saturday night at the NYTEX Sports Centre. With the win, the Jacks knotted their Opening Round series against Texas at 1-1 with the next two games headed for their barn.

Wayne Savage gave up the second shot faced when Kenny Corupe when glove-side for an early Odessa lead.

Forward Dylan Stanley buried a puck at the 13:03 mark for his second of the post-season to tie the game.

With this series being the third consecutive post-season match between the two clubs, tempers were bound to erupt and bad blood mix, and it all went down with five minutes remaining in the first beginning with a matching double minor call to both Calin Wild and Sebastien Thinel. 28 penalty minutes were served in the opening period.

When a four-on-four broke out, Odessa’s Philippe Plante took a feed from Jean Bourbeau from behind the net for a 2-1 lead.

Following an outbreak of Jacks’ penalties, Texas found themselves with a two-man advantage and went to work. Within seconds of the power play the puck found sniper Greg Hogeboom’s stick to take the game to a 2-2 score into the first intermission.

It was a calmer middle frame, but it was the Jacks’ offense that flared when they netted a pair of unanswered goals within 47 seconds of each other to take a 4-2 lead. Goals were by Mark Ehl and Mike Ramsay, both their second of the series.

Texas was put in a three-goal hole in the third when Plante planted his second goal of the game at the 1:17 marker.

Game Three in the best-of-five series moves to Odessa for a 7:05 pm face off on Tuesday night.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Friday, April 1, 2011

Brahmas outlast Jackalopes, win 5-4

First of final series between old rivals in the book

Traveling to the arena known affectionately as "the shoebox" and playing in front of the Central Hockey League's most annoying fans didn't sway the Odessa Jackalopes, who battled hard for 60 minutes but were unable to overtake the Texas Brahmas, who came away with a narrow 5-4 win.

The opening round of the 2011 playoffs paired the two teams for the third consecutive post-season, perhaps bittersweet (were it not for the intense rivalry between the two teams) due to the fact that next season, the Jackalopes will be playing in the NAHL.

Conspicuously absent from the arena was Brahmas head coach Dan Wildfong, serving the final game of a reduced suspension for his actions in last Saturday's game in Rio Grande Valley. Despite this, Wildfong was seen in the player's bench area for the entire game - thanks to a clever fan who blew up a life sized photo of the coach and placed it on the glass behind the bench.

As always, the contest was a rough and tumble affair as the evenly matched squads did battle in the rink recognized as the worst place for a visiting team to play in - not due to conditions, but because of the close proximity to the aforementioned fan base who is well-schooled in getting under the skin of the opposition.

Brahmas Captain Jason Deitsch set the tone of the evening when just :18 seconds into the Brahmas first power play of the post-season, his one-timer from the top of the point whizzed past Odessa goalie Mike Mole for the 1-0 lead.

Brahmas net minder Wayne Savage made his mark early, stopping penalty shot by Kenny Corupe with his acrobatic moves in the crease.

The Brahmas led the shot count 17-8 and defended their 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

The middle period saw an increase in physical play and an interference call on Matt Burto provided an opportunity for Odessa, which was seized by Jackalopes defenseman Matt Gens, who 19 seconds later, found daylight and managed to beat Savage to the back of the net.

The tie wouldn’t last for long though, as Brahmas special teams took to the ice on another power play. Ryan Bennett, fed by Chad Woollard and Jason Deitsch, buried the puck at the 11:33 mark to put the home team up 2-1.

The special teams battle continued three minutes later when Mike Ramsay led the Jacks for their second power play goal of the evening to even the field at 2-2.

Proven to be a standout in post-season's past, Deitsch pounded his second goal of the series from the crease to regain the Texas lead headed into the intermission.

Before the mid point of the final frame, the lamp was lit four times, twice for each team. Darryl McArthur’s initial shot from the blue line beat Mole for the 4-2 Texas lead. The Jacks came back within one when a puck shot by Sebastien Thinel to Savage’s blocker side squeaked by at the 4:02 mark.

Dylan Stanley sent Brahmas ‘mini bulls’ flying, as well as Mole’s water bottle when he shelved his goal for Texas’ fifth of game. 41 seconds later, Jacks forward Mark Ehl came flying into the zone and rifled his shot to the back of the Brahmas' net to make it a 5-4 contest, providing hope for Odessa with almost 13 minutes left to play.

Alas, it was not to be. The Jacks would finish the game on the power play and despite last minute heroics and pulling Mole for the extra attacker, the Brahmas kept their defense up and prevailed for the victory.

Game two of the series will be played on Saturday night at the NYTEX Sports Centre.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith