Thursday, November 24, 2011

Former Brahmas forward Jeff Hazelwood sneaks one (three) past Mark Guggenberger

Wait, what just happened?

Sundogs defeat Brahmas in overtime, 4-3

Sudden death overtime. Emphasis on the word sudden. One second you're in it, the next you're scratching you're head, thinking 'wait, what just happened here?' and then a second later, you realize what's happened and that's it. Game over.

The Arizona Sundogs delivered another home loss for the purple and black on Wednesday night with a 4-3 overtime victory, courtesy of former Texas Brahmas forward Jeff Hazelwood. Exactly three minutes into the extra frame, Hazelwood, who had solved Mark Guggenberger twice already, sent in the game winner which also completed his first hat trick as a Sundog.

Guggenberger stopped 25 of 29 shots faced in 63:00 played and took his first professional loss. His record goes to 3-0-1 with a 2.16 GAA (first in the league) and a .926 Save Percentage (fourth in the league).

Special teams play continues to falter - despite two power play goals, the Brahmas power play is second to last at 15.38%, as is the penalty kill at 75.93%.

The Brahmas earned a point for their efforts, but remain in fifth place in the Berry Conference with a 7-5-1 record (.577) and 15 points. Their home record goes to 4-2-1.

Hazelwood struck first blood with a shot from the left circle at the 17:54 mark of the opening frame, putting the Sundogs up 1-0. David Nimmo and B.J. Crum were in on the assists. Arizona had a 12-7 shot advantage in the period and neither team capitalized on their initial power play opportunities. That would change in the second period.

A Holding call on Brahmas defenseman Ryan Hand provided a man-advantage for the Sundogs at the 6:22 mark and it took Tyler Butler all of 37 seconds to strike with a slapshot from the point, assisted by Kyle Hood and Nimmo.

Texas countered with a power play strike of their own, courtesy of a Slashing call on Jean-Philipp Chabot less than 2 1/2 minutes later. Defenseman Andrew Lackner sent in a shot from the blue line, assisted by Kyle Howarth and Adam Hogg at the 10:44 mark to cut the Sundogs' lead in half.

A Too Many Men Bench Minor gave the Brahmas another power play at the 14:30 mark and Chad Woollard beat goalie Levente Szuper with his shot from between the circles, fed by Phil Fox and T.J. Fox at 14:52.

The game remained knotted at 2-2 for the remainder of the period. Ryan Hand and Tyler Matheson dropped gloves following Woollard's score. More of a sweater grab than a fight, Matheson appeared to connect with a couple of rights and took a couple of lefts from Hand, who managed to win the balance war, taking Matheson to the ice as the Sundog groped for an eye gouge. The two were assessed Fighting Majors for their efforts.

The Brahmas had a 13-9 shot advantage in the middle period.

Calin Wild broke the deadlock 2:37 into the third frame, assisted by Jim Burichin and Woollard. Midway through the period, Jeff Hazelwood scored his second of the night, once again on a feed by Nimmo and a secondary assist from Luke Erickson.

Tied at 3-3, the Brahmas had two power play chances later in the period, but failed to convert. Texas had a 12-7 shot advantage in the third and led the shot count in regulation at 32-28, but the game was to be decided in overtime.

The Brahmas sent in the first shot of the extra frame but once again it was Hazelwood who sent in a loose puck from the crease and secured the second win for the Sundogs in as many nights. With their victory, the Sundogs improved to 5-7-3 (.433).

Referee: Brent Coulombe
Linesmen: Bill McGoldrick, John Grandt

Mark Guggenberger stopped 25 of 29 shots faced in 63:00 of play and takes the loss. His record goes to 3-0-1. Arizona's Levente Szuper stopped 30 of 33 shots faced and earned the win. His record goes to 2-4-3.

The Brahmas wen 2 for 7 on the power play; the Sundogs went 1 for 2. Texas was assessed 9 minutes on 3 infractions. Arizona was assessed 19 minutes on 8 infractions.

1st Star: Jeff Hazelwood (ARZ) - 3 Points (3 G, 0 A, +3) - the game-winning goal on 7 shots
2nd Star: Chad Woollard - 2 Points (1 G, 1 A, 0) on 10 shots
3rd Star: Calin Wild - 1 Point (1 G, 0 A, 0) on 3 shots

You can view Pointstreak's box score here and their Game Live broadcast here.

You can view my images from the game here.

The Brahmas will host the Laredo Bucks at NYTEX on Friday night before traveling to going on the road to play the Bucks at the Laredo Energy Arena on Saturday evening.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Brock Meadows returns

Burichin expected back on the ice tonight as well

Texas Brahmas defensemen Brock Meadows and Jim Burichin are both expected back on the ice tonight against the Arizona Sundogs.

Meadows was activated from the 30-day injured reserve today per Pointstreak. Burichin, who suffered a concussion during November 8th's game against the Missouri Mavericks has been cleared to play as well.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Brahmas defeat Sundogs 3-2

Mark Ehl scores game-winner on power play

The Texas Brahmas held off a late rally by the Arizona Sundogs tonight to win the third game of a three-game series at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley. With the victory, the Brahmas' record improves to 7-5-0 (3-3-0 on the road) for 14 points which places them in fifth place in the Berry Conference. The loss drops the Sundogs' record to 3-7-3 (2-5-1 at home).

Steve Silverthorn allowed two goals on 29 shots but saved the win with a stellar performance in net late in the final frame. His record goes to 4-5-0 with a 2.59 GAA (8th in the league) and a .905 Save Percentage (11th in the league).

Mark Ehl tallied his first power play goal of the season, providing the game winner in the third period.

Andrew Lackner opened up the game’s scoring at the 9:50 mark of the first period. After receiving a feed from Cal Wild, Lackner's slap shot from the point beat a screened Levente Szuper to make it a 1-0 contest.

It was the only score of the period in which the Brahmas out shot the Sundogs 13-8.

Phil Fox extended the Brahmas’ lead to 2-0 with a power play goal at the 6:50 mark of the middle frame, beating Szuper with a one-timer from the left circle. Jordan Kary and T.J. Fox were in on the assist.

A Hooking call on Mark Ehl gave the Sundogs their third man-advantage and Jeff Hazelwood capitalized, putting Arizona on the board at the 17:52 mark after his backhand shot from the bottom of the right circle snuck through the five hole of Silverthorn. Kyle Hood was credited with an assist on the play.

The Brahmas dominated the second period, hammering Szuper with 17 shots compared to the Sundogs' three. After 40 minutes, the Brahmas led 2-1.

A Roughing call on Ryan Hand early in the third put the Sundogs back on the power play and once again, they converted. David Nimmo beat Silverthorn 59 seconds into the man-advantage to tie the game at 2-2.

Arizona defenseman Jason Goulet was assessed two minutes for Tripping a few minutes later and Mark Ehl scored the game-winner at the 8:54 mark, assisted by Kyle Howarth and Brendon Hodge.

The battle waged on and Erik Spady was called twice for Slashing and then for Tripping, but the penalty killers were successful in preventing another goal.

After Arizona had pulled Szuper in favor of an extra attacker with 1:17 left in regulation, Silverthorn faced a flurry of shots and a sliding save at the left goal post in the game’s final seconds highlighted a third period in which the Sundogs out shot the Brahmas 18-10 but were unable to force the game into overtime.

Referee: Peter Tarnaris
Linesmen: Kyle DeMaggio, Chris Zorza

Steve Silverthorn stopped 27 of 29 shots faced in 52:00 of play and earned the win. His record goes to 4-5-0. Arizona's Levente Szuper stopped 37 of 40 shots faced in 58:43 of play and takes the loss. His record goes to 1-4-3.

Both teams went 2 for 6 on the power play. Both teams were assessed 14 minutes on seven infractions.

1st Star: Mark Ehl - 1 Point (1 G, 0 A, 0) - the game-winning goal on 3 shots
2nd Star: David Nimmo (ARZ) - 1 Point (1 G, 0 A, 0) on 3 shots
3rd Star: Phil Fox - 1 Point (1 G, 0 A, 0) on 6 shots

You can view Pointstreak's box score here and their Game Live broadcast here.

The Brahmas will return home overnight and get some rest before beginning preparations for Wednesday night's game against the Sundogs at the NYTEX Sports Centre. On Friday, the Brahmas will host the Laredo Bucks before traveling to Laredo to play the Bucks at the Laredo Energy Arena.

Photo Credit: Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Another rough night for Steve Silverthorn

Too little, too late

Sundogs steal a 3-2 win from the Brahmas

The Texas Brahmas lost their second of three games against the Arizona Sundogs last night by a score of 3-2. It was a case of two little, too late as the purple and black's offense didn't come alive until the third period but the Sundogs and Scott Reid were able to defend an early lead and hold on for their first win after five consecutive losses.

Steve Silverthorn had a rough start, allowing three goals on 11 shots though the first 12:53 of play. Mark Guggenberger stepped in for 7:07 and stopped four of four shots faced before Silverthorn returned to the net and was stellar for the remainder of the game, stopping all 13 shots faced for the remainder of the game.

Ryan Hand lost his first fight as a Brahma after taking on Adam Smyth, who had just returned to play for Arizona after serving a three-game suspension.

The Brahmas special teams play continued to slide downward as they failed to convert on three power play opportunities and their penalty killer allowed two goals. Texas is now ranked last in the league on the power play with a 10.26 percentage and 10th in the league on the penalty kill with a 78.26 percentage. Suffice it to say, this continues to need to be addressed.

On the up side, Jacques Perreault tallied his first goal of the season and Cal Wild added his third. Yeah, that's about it on the up side.

It was an ugly start for the Brahmas, who managed just five shots on goal in the first frame. The Sundogs dominated play and tallied their first goal at the 2:59 mark when Jean-Philipp Chabot buried a loose puck at the front of the net to make it a 1-0 game. David Nimmo was credited with the assist.

Luke Erickson made it 2-0 at the 8:25 mark with a power play goal from the left circle, following a Hooking call on Mark Ehl. Tyler Butler and Kyle Hood were in on the assists on Erickson's 200th career point.

An Unsportsmanlike Conduct call on Ross Rouleau at the 12:27 mark led to the the Sundogs' third goal (the eventual game-winner) when Chabot drove in a rebound from the right side of the crease 26 seconds later.

The Brahmas were out shot 15-5 in the opening period and the Sundogs went to the locker room with a comfortable lead.

There was no scoring in the second period as the Brahmas out shot the Sundogs 10-7. Ryan Hand (6', 1", 205 pounds) and Adam Smyth (6' 1", 240 pounds) dropped the gloves at the 8:25 mark and were issued Fighting Majors for the brief skirmish. The Brahmas had two power play opportunities in the period but failed to capitalize.

Sundogs goon Adam Smyth got off at least three good lefts on Ryan Hand as the two southpaws battled during the second period

The Brahmas finally got on the scoreboard were able to put the puck past Reid at the 1:53 mark of the third period as Jacques Perreault tallied his first of the season with a little help from T.J. Fox.

With just under five minutes remaining, Cal Wild brought the Brahmas to within one as he scored his third goal of the season. Chad Woollard was credited with the assist.

The Brahmas out shot the Sundogs 10-6 but Reid and the Sundogs were able to prevent another score and took the win, improving their record to 3-6-3 (2-4-1 at home). With the loss, the Brahmas record goes to 6-5-0 (2-3-0 on the road).

Referee: Peter Tarnaris
Linesmen: Kyle DeMaggio, Colin Besch

Steve Silverthorn stopped 21 of 24 shots faced in 52:00 of play and takes the loss. His record goes to 3-5-0. Mark Guggenberger stopped 4 of 4 shots faced in relief during 7:07 of play. Arizona's Scott Reid stopped 23 of 25 shots faced and earned his second win of the season, moving to 2-3-0.

The Brahmas went 0 for 3 on the power play; the Sundogs went 2 for 5. Texas was assessed 15 minutes on six infractions. Arizona was assessed 11 minutes on four infractions.

1st Star: Jean-Philipp Chabot (ARZ) - 2 Points (2 G, 0 A, +1) including the game-winner on 6 shots
2nd Star: Luke Erickson (ARZ) - 1 Point (1 G, 0 A, +1) on 3 shots
3rd Star: Kyle Hood (ARZ) - 1 Point (0 G, 2 A, -1) on 6 shots

You can view Pointstreak's box score here and their Game Live broadcast here.

Game three of the three-game series with the Sundogs at Tim's Toyota Center is tonight with the opening face off at 8:05 CST. You can watch all the action on CHL-TV.

Photo Credits: Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Rough night for Sundogs head coach Marco Pietroniro

Brahmas defeat Sundogs 2-1

Howarth scores first professional goal

The Texas Brahmas won the first of three games against the Arizona Sundogs tonight at Tim's Toyota Center by a score of 2-1. The win is the Brahmas fifth in a row, improving their record to 6-4-0 (2-2-0 on the road). It was the fifth loss in a row for the Sundogs, who go to 2-6-3.

Kyle Howarth tallied his first professional goal and Jordan Kary scored the game-winner during the unusually uneventful contest (considering the Brahmas history in Prescott Valley). Mark Guggenberger stopped 30 of 31 shots faced and earned his third professional win. Guggenberger is now ranked first in the league with a 1.67 GAA and a .944 Save Percentage.

The Brahmas had a short bench with Jim Burichin and Chad Woollard not playing tonight.

Howarth opened up the scoring with a slap shot from the left circle at the 8:32 mark of the opening frame for his first of the season, giving the Brahmas a 1-0 Texas lead. Cal Wild and Brendon Hodge were credited with the assists.

It was the only score of the first 20 minutes. The Brahmas had a 12-7 shot advantage entering the first break. Arizona was called for two Slashing calls but the Brahmas were unable to convert.

Erik Spady was assessed two minutes for Tripping at the 1:31 mark of the second period which led to Arizona's only score nine seconds later. Luke Erickson tapped in a rebound from the front of the crease while Mark Guggenberger struggled to get in position to make the stop. Tyler Butler and Kyle Hood assisted.

The Brahmas were called twice more in the period (Lackner/High Sticking, P. Fox/Hooking) but their penalty killers prevented another score. In fact, Jordan Kary scored the game-winner, short-handed, 53 seconds into the third Arizona power play, assisted by T.J. Fox. The Brahmas had a 11-10 shot advantage and took the 2-1 lead into the second intermission.

There was no further scoring and the third period, which included two power plays for Arizona and one for the Brahmas. The Sundogs out shot the visitors 14-8 in the final frame to even the shots in the game at 31 apiece.

Referee: Peter Tarnaris
Linesmen: Kyle DeMaggio, Chris Zorza

Mark Guggenberger stopped 30 of 31 shots faced and earned his third consecutive win, moving to 3-0-0. Levente Szuper stopped 29 of 31 shots and takes the loss. His record goes to 0-4-1.

The Brahmas went 0 for 3 on the power play; the Sundogs went 1 for 5. Texas was assessed 10 minutes on five infractions. Arizona was assessed six minutes on three infractions.

1st Star: Jordan Kary - 2 Points (1 G, 1 A, +1) including the game-winner on 6 shots
2nd Star: Luke Erickson (ARZ) - 1 Point (1 G, 0 A, -1) on 6 shots
3rd Star: Kyle Howarth - 1 Point (1 G, 0 A, +1) on 1 shot

You can view Pointstreak's box score here and their Game Live broadcast here.

Game two of the three-game series with the Sundogs at Tim's Toyota Center is tomorrow night with the opening face off at 8:05 CST. You can watch all the action on CHL-TV.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith
Gameday Preview - Texas Brahmas @ Arizona Sundogs

Brahmas look to extend win streak to five games tonight

The Texas Brahmas (5-4-0) will begin a three-in-three series (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) against the Arizona Sundogs (2-5-3) tonight at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley. The teams will travel back to North Richland Hills, where they will meet for the fourth of seven games this season.

Tonight's game will be the 13th meeting all-time between the two teams with the Brahmas winning nine. Last season the Brahmas went 3-0-0 against the Sundogs.

The Brahmas, currently on a four-game win streak, will look to bump that up to five tonight and move to within four points of the conference leading Wichita Thunder.

Arizona is in the midst of a four-game losing streak and will fight to end both streaks tonight, the first time they have been at home (where they are 1-3-1) since October 29th.

Mark Guggenberger (2-0-0) and Levente Szuper (1-2-3) will defend their respective nets.

A couple of milestones for Sundogs players tonight - Kyle Hood will start his 200th career regular season game; Jesse Perrin will start his 100th.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ryan Hand smacks Bloomington's Marc Rechlicz around during Saturday night's game

Blaze Extinguished!

Brahmas sweep two-game series with 5-2 win

The Texas Brahmas completed their two-game sweep of the visiting Bloomington Blaze with a commanding 5-2 victory on Saturday night at the NYTEX Sports Centre. With the win, the Brahmas record moves to 5-4-0 (.556) and their home record improves to 4-2-0.

The Brahmas have now won five of their last six games and improve to 5-4-0, while the Blaze fall to 1-4-2.

Steve Silverthorn stopped 29 of 31 shots faced and earned his third consecutive win, pushing his record to 3-4-0 with a 2.56 GAA and a .905 Save Percentage.

Rookie forward Phil Fox earned his first professional hat trick, scoring the third, fourth and fifth Brahmas goals of the evening, including the eventual game winner.

The Brahmas scored first and quickly, just 2:12 into the game, when Brendon Hodge got hold of the puck at the top of the crease following a save by Blaze goalie Marco Emond and tapped it in for his third goal of the season. Cal Wild and Chad Woollard were credited with the assists.

Blaze defenseman Aaron Dawson tallied the first of his two power play goals at the 7:23 mark, following a Tripping call on Alex Curran. Dawson put back a rebound, beating Steve Silverthorn to make it a 1-1 contest.

The Brahmas countered just 57 seconds later, when Chad Woollard took possession of a blocked shot and raced the down ice to beat Emond on the stick side to give the home team a 2-1 lead at the 8:20 mark.

The Brahmas out shot the Blaze 16-6 in the first 20 and headed in to the locker room with the Blaze reduced to a controlled burn.

Phil Fox went to work early in the middle frame and lit the lamp, unassisted at the :44 second mark when the Blaze could not clear their zone and Fox beat Emond to make it 3-1. Blaze coach Paul Gardner pulled Emond and Zane Kalemba was sent in to defend the Blaze net.

A holding call on Adam Hogg helped Bloomington cut the deficit to 3-2 on Dawson’s second power play goal of the night, a put back from the left side at the 2:48 mark.

Ross Rouleau and Blaze forward Marc Rechlicz traded slashing calls at the 11:58 mark and two minutes later, Jason Dale was called for a cross-check on Jordan Kary in front of the Brahmas' crease (a crime in these here parts), illustrating the need for a message to be sent to the Blaze bench.

First things first.

Phil Fox extended the Brahmas' lead back to 4-2 with his second goal of the night, assisted by Hogg and Kary.

Following the score, the Brahmas' Ryan Hand dropped the gloves with Rechlicz, who was quickly wrestled down to the ice after receiving an adequate number of blows to the head by our new southpaw. Let the message be clear - Don't Mess With Texas! The combatants received matching Fighting Majors and were sent to their respective locker rooms for the remainder of the period.

Bloomington had a 15-13 shot advantage in the middle frame but went into the second break with a two-goal deficit.

There was just one score in the final 20 and once again, it was Phil Fox who increased the Brahmas' lead to 5-2 with a rebound goal at the 3:35 mark with a little help from Erik Spady and T. J. Fox.

The Brahmas out shot the Blaze 14-10 in the third period and 43-31 in the game.

Referee: Tudor Floru
Linesmen: Nathaniel Farkas, T.J. Nua

Steve Silverthorn stopped 29 of 31 shots faced and earned the win, moving to 3-4-0; Marco Emond stopped 15 of 18 shots in 20:44 played and takes the loss. His record goes to 0-3-1. Zane Kalemba stopped 23 of 25 in 39:16 played.

The Brahmas went 1 for 4 on the power play; the Blaze went 2 for 5. Texas was assessed 17 minutes on seven infractions. Bloomington was assessed 15 minutes on six infractions.

1st Star: Phil Fox - 3 Points (3 G, 0 A, +2) including the game-winner on 5 shots
2nd Star: Chad Woollard - 2 Points (1 G, 1 A, +2) on 3 shots
3rd Star: Calin Wild - 2 Points (0 G, 2 A, +2) on 3 shots

You can view Pointstreak's box score here and their Game Live broadcast here.

You can view my game photos here. As always, it takes time to edit the 900+ shots taken, so please be patient and keep checking back.

The Brahmas will leave for Prescott Valley, Arizona on Tuesday evening to prepare for a three-in-three series against the 2-5-3 Sundogs at Tim's Toyota Center beginning on Thursday night at 8:05 CST. The Sundogs are 1-2-2 at home and 0-1 in OT. You can watch all the action on CHL-TV.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Brahmas sign Ryan Hand

6th year defenseman adds enforcement capabilities

The Texas Brahmas have signed defenseman Ryan Hand to the 2011-12 roster according to Pointstreak. This comes as no surprise to Brahmas fans who have seen Hand at NYTEX over the past week or so. Hand was waived by the Allen Americans on November 4th.

Hand has played for three other CHL teams including the Laredo Bucks and Rapid City Rush (2008-09) and the Wichita Thunder (2010-11). Last season was split between the Thunder and the Huntsville Havoc (SPHL). Hand also spent time with the Reading Royals and Utah Grizzlies (ECHL) during the 2009-10 season.

Hand will fill the enforcement role Brahmas fans have been looking for and is a really nice guy. The 6' 1", 180 pound native of Ottawa, Ontario has historically been used as a situational player but is fully capable of filling a regular position on the blue line as needed.

Hand is expected to be on tonight's roster.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith
Mark Ehl heads for the ice as Mike Zbriger charges forward during last night's game at NYTEX

Rock'em Sock 'em Hockey

Brahmas defeat Blaze in shoot out

The Texas Brahmas won their third straight game at the NYTEX Sports Centre on Friday night and in the process, dealt the expansion Bloomington Blaze their fifth straight loss. The Brahmas' win percentage is up to .500 with a 4-4-0 record which places them in fifth place in the Berry Conference.

Jordan Kary scored the game-winner in the five-round shoot and Chad Woollard tallied his first goal of the season in what was a hard fought, physical contest.

Despite their hardships this season, the Blaze played with incredible fortitude with a scrappy, yet effective style somewhat reminiscent of the Arizona Sundogs. This will be good preparation for the Brahmas, who embark on a 1,000 mile road trip next week to face the 'Dogs in a three-in-three series which begins on Thursday at Tim's Toyota Center.

Steve Silverthorn earned his second win as a Brahma, stopping 17 of 19 shots faced in 65 minutes of play. Silverthorn's record improves to 2-4-0 with a 2.65 GAA and a .899 save percentage. Special mention to Blaze goalie Marco Emond who faced 42 shots and kept his team in the game, only to fall in the shoot out.

This first period was a bit tedious as the two sides got to know one another. Adam Hogg earned the sole penalty at the :24 mark for hooking, but Bloomington failed to convert on the man advantage. The Brahmas out shot Bloomington 7-5 but neither goalie was solved after 20 minutes.

The Brahmas drew first blood 8:05 into the middle frame when Jordan Kary passed the puck to T.J. Fox after being stymied at the left side of the crease by Blaze defenseman Craig Cescon. Fox worked the rubber to the other side of the crease and sent it in past Emond, who failed to get his catcher up in time. Phil Fox was also credited with an assist.

The Blaze responded 88 seconds later following dual minors (Hogg/Holding, Curran/Charging) called on the Brahmas led to a 5-on-3 power play. Travis Granbois scored the equalizer when he forced the puck through a narrow gap between the right post and Silverthorn's left skate. Aaron Dawson and Mark Znutas were credited with the assists.

The Brahmas had a 13-7 shot advantage in the second period but were unable to beat Emond a second time and the 1-1 score held going into the second break.

The Brahmas took the 2-1 lead just 42 seconds into the third frame when Chad Woollard scored with the Brahamas skating an extra attacker on a delayed Blaze penalty. Ross Rouleau and Calin Wild picked assists on Woollard’s tally.

With time running, down, Bloomington pulled Emond in favor of an extra attacker and was rewarded when defenseman Aaron Dawson hammered home a rebound past Silverthorn with just 20 seconds left in regulation, forcing the game into overtime.

Bloomington’s Brodie Sheahan was called for tripping midway through the overtime period, leaving the Blaze short-handed for the remainder of the period, but Emond once again came up big to send the game to a shootout.

After the Blaze’s Kyle Laughlin missed in the first round of the shootout, T.J. Fox countered for a 1-0 Texas advantage. Jason Dale came right back for Bloomington, scoring to knot the shootout at 1-1.

Sheahan and Matt Whitehead then both misfired, which opened the door for Jordan Kary, who slipped the puck past Emond for the eventual game winner. Jon Booras had the last chance for Bloomington but could not beat Silverthorn who sealed the win for the Brahmas.

Referee: Zak Blazik
Linesmen: James Sanders, T.J. Nua

Steve Silverthorn stopped 17 of 19 shots faced and earned the win, moving to 2-4-0; Marco Emond stopped 40 of 42 and takes the loss. His record goes to 0-2-1.

The Brahmas went 0 for 5 on the power play; the Blaze went 1 for 5. Texas was assessed 12 minutes on six infractions. Bloomington was assessed 11 minutes on five infractions.

1st Star: Jordan Kary - 2 Points (1 G, 1 A, 0) including the game-winner on 2 shots
2nd Star: T.J. Fox - 2 Points (1 G, 0 A, +2) on 3 shots
3rd Star: Marco Emond - 40 saves on 42 shots faced

You can view Pointstreak's box score here and their Game Live broadcast here.

You can view my game photos here. As always, it takes time to edit the 900+ shots taken, so be patient and keep checking back.

Game two against the Blaze is tonight at the Shoebox - be there or be square! Remember, the first 500 fans will receive Texas Brahmas rally towels. If that weren't enough, our Mudbug friends will be making the trip to see their Ray Miron President's Cup and the N. Thomas Berry Trophy up close and personal - something most of them didn't get to do after the 'Bugs won the 2011 CHL Championship.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Friday, November 11, 2011

Honor our Veterans

Some came back; some didn't

On Veteran’s Day we honor
Soldiers who protect our nation.
For their service as our warriors,
They deserve our admiration.

Some of them were drafted;
Some were volunteers;
For some it was just yesterday;
For some it’s been many years;

In the jungle or the desert,
On land or on the sea,
They did whatever was assigned
To produce a victory.

Some came back; some didn’t.
They defended us everywhere.
Some saw combat; some rode a desk;
All of them did their share.

No matter what the duty,
For low pay and little glory,
These soldiers gave up normal lives,
For duties mundane and gory.

Let every veteran be honored;
Don’t let politics get in the way.
Without them, freedom would have died;
What they did, we can’t repay.

We owe so much to them,
Who kept us safe from terror,
So when we see a uniform,
Let’s say "thank you" to every wearer.

By Joanna Fuchs

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Who are the Bloomington Blaze and should we be concerned?

Expansion club is on their first road trip

If anyone should understand a slow start this season, it's the Texas Brahmas and their fans. With a full off-season of recruiting and a strong training camp, the Brahmas showed a tremendous amount of promise in their two pre-season contests against the Allen Americans.

Then came an unexpected start to the regular season - a 1-4-0 record, including two shut outs through the first five games. Certainly not what anyone expected. But the Brahmas followed up a 4-3 win at Laredo with a 5-3 win over the visiting Missouri Mavericks and are poised to break out of the sub-.500 club and show some consistency as we move towards the always difficult December-January stretch.

Now comes the Bloomington Blaze, a team that got a late start and had a mound of internal issues (understatement) to resolve before they even began building their inaugural roster.

Paul Gardner (who replaced Kevin Kaminski in Mississippi last season) was hired as Bloomington's head coach shortly after Jason Christie was hired away to coach the ECHL's Ontario Reign. Gardner had a little over three weeks to put a team together before training camp began. With that in mind, he did a pretty good job.

The question now is, after going 1-3-1 (worst in the league) at home to start the 2011-12 campaign, will the Blaze show improvement during their five-game road trip which begins with a two-game series against the Brahmas on Friday and Saturday nights?

“You hate to use an excuse, but there were so many distractions wondering if there was going to be a team or not,” Gardner told the Bloomington Pantagraph's Mike Egenes. “Things have settled down now, and I think a road trip will help us.”

Defenseman Aaron Dawson, who played his rookie year with the now defunct Bloomington PrairieThunder concurs.

“Being on the road is a good chance to grow together as a team,” Dawson said. “It’s good to get away from any distractions there may be off the ice.”

For Dawson and his fellow blue liners, improvement is imperative if they want to remain with the club. The Blaze are allowing a horrendous 4.8 goals per game - worst in the Central hockey League. Goalies Marco Emond (0-2-0, 3.99 GAA, .865 SV%) and Zane Kalemba (0-1-1, 5.85 GAA, .879 SV%) are among the bottom six of all CHL net minders.

If there's a bright spot for the Blaze, it's on the power play - they are currently ranked sixth in the league at 21.74%. Even so, the Brahmas' penalty killers are ranked third in the league at 84.62% so the advantage may not help them this weekend.

Players to watch include #16 Brodie Sheahan (3 G, 3 A, -5), who also played his rookie season with the PrairieThunder. All three of Sheahan’s goals have come on the power play. #17 Jason Dale led the PrairieThunder with 52 points last season (17 G, 35 A, 0) and has six points this season (1 G, 5 A, -4), including two power play assists and one game-winner. Defenseman Doug Krantz (#44) had two assists in 11 games with the Brahmas during the 2008 playoffs following his graduation from Cornell University. Krantz also has six points (1 G, 5 A, -3) this season, including four power play assists.

Conventional wisdom would say that the Brahmas have the next two games in the bag. But as we all know, conventional wisdom and ice hockey, let alone any sport doesn't always jive. So, will the Blaze get it together and pull out a win (or two) while in Texas? Can the Brahmas keep their win streak alive? To find out for yourself, don your purple and black and come out to the NYTEX Sports Centre this weekend. If you missed Tuesday night's game, you're probably kicking yourself - don't make the same mistake twice.

Remember also that Friday is $1 Hot Dog Night and Saturday is Rally Towel Night at the NYTEX Sports Centre!

Image Credit: Bloomington Blaze Hockey Club

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs to be honored on Saturday

2011 Ray Miron President's Cup on display

The Texas Brahmas will be honoring the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs' 2011 Central Hockey League Championship during this Saturday's game against the Bloomington Blaze.

Despite the intense rivalry between the two teams over the years, there's always been a close bond between the two organizations and their fans.

The N. Thomas Berry Trophy and the Ray Miron President's Cup will both be on display at the NYTEX Sports Centre for photo opportunities. In addition, there will be a special on-ice celebration for all Mudbugs supporters.

Special group rates are available for this exciting evening. Contact the Brahmas' Rebecca Jacobsen at 817-520-3301 or by e-mail: for more information.
Rough night for Gerry Festa - Mark Ehl celebrates Jordan Kary's second period power play strike

Brahmas humble the Mavericks in 5-3 win

Guggenberger earns second consecutive win

There was an unbelievable number of empty seats at the NYTEX Sports Centre on Tuesday night and all I can say is whatever you were doing, it wasn't as good as seeing your Texas Brahmas stand and deliver the first regulation loss to the number one team in the Central Hockey League.

It was a great showing for the boys who needed this win in many ways. The passing was sharp, the pressure on the Mavericks was relentless and the teamwork was evident as another 60 minute effort paid off.

Five different Brahmas (Wild, Fox, Hodge, Hogg and Kary) scored on a hapless Gerry Festa, who was sacrificed so that Charlie Effinger could rest up on the bench.

Mark Guggenberger stopped 29 of 32 shots faced and earned his second consecutive win, placing himself third amongst all CHL goalies with a 2.00 GAA and a .931 save percentage.

Prior to the start of the game, Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs owner Tommy Scott made a presentation of a 2011 CHL Championship ring to Mavericks defenseman Dave Pszenyczny, who was a member of that final Mudbugs blue line.

I had a couple of minutes to speak with Tommy later on as he watched the game up in Section K. Scott shared some fond memories of the long-standing Brahmas-Mudbugs rivalry and talked about his trip up to Rapid City this weekend to present rings to five former players, now split among the Rush (Michael Couch, Jeff Kyrzakos and Shawn Limpright) and the Fort Wayne Komets (Brett Smith and Jamie Milam), who are in town for a weekend series.

As the game started, the Mavericks looked sharp as the two teams began to get to know one another. They opened up the scoring with their third shot of the contest when Andrew Courtney beat an out of position Guggenberger at the 2:40 mark, assisted by Zach Carriveau and Vern Cooper.

Carriveau was called for High Sticking a little over two minutes later, but the Brahmas were unable to capitalize on the man-advantage. Likewise for the Mavericks, who had an opportunity at the 12:56 mark when Alex Curran got tagged for Hooking.

The real fun began later in the period when the Brahmas tallied a pair of goals just 59 seconds apart and thereafter, never relinquished the lead.

Cal Wild sent in the equalizer at the 17:03 mark after skating in from his position in the left circle and then sent a feed from Andrew Lackner over Festa's left shoulder and into the back of the net. Chad Woollard was also credited on the play.

T.J. Fox was next up at the 18:02 mark. Stationed in front of the crease, Fox sent in a feed from Jordan Kary, who was also working from the left circle and Festa, who tried to roll into position was too late to make the save. Ross Rouleau was credited with the secondary assist.

I don't know if it's just my imagination (or the Nyquil I've been drinking over the past two days to get over a head cold), but Festa looked like he was operating about a half-step too slow all night long.

Shots were even at 10 apiece but it was the Brahmas who took the 2-1 lead into the first break.

The Brahmas were in control for most of the middle frame and Brendon Hodge provided the 3-1 lead when he sent a rebound top shelf at the 9:28 mark, assisted by Jacques Perreault and Chad Woollard.

The Mavericks answered less than three minutes later when rookie forward Kris Hogg stole the puck from a Brahmas’ defender and beat Guggenberger for an unassisted short-handed goal.

The one-goal deficit proved to be the closest the Mavericks’ would get as the Brahmas tallied two power play goals later in the period.

The Mavericks’ number one thug Carlyle Lewis (remember when he just about wet his pants when Roger Maxwell dropped the gloves on him last season? Take a walk down memory lane here) pulled a cowardly stunt, sending Jim Burichin dangerously into the end boards.

Fortunately, Jimbo chased off the birds that were circling his head for about a minute and skated back to the bench unassisted, but with a deep gash above his right eye that required a bunch of stitches and at least a couple of Advil.

Lewis was given a Charging Major and a Charging Game Misconduct for his sins. Personally, I think a suspension is in order here - we'll see if the league steps up on this one.

On a positive note, the Brahmas scored two goals on the resulting power play (can you believe it?) just 50 seconds apart to drop the Texas hammer on the Mavericks' chances on staging a comeback.

Adam Hogg struck first, driving the puck out of the neutral zone and along the left boards with Mike Wakita in close pursuit. Hogg set up his shot as he entered the left circle with Wakita's outstretched blade inching toward his face and J.P. Testwuide coming cross-ice from his right. Unfazed, Hogg made his move, rocketing the puck into the back of the net as Festa, who never had a chance, flopped onto his belly in disbelief. Mark Ehl and Jacques Perreault were credited with the assists, and the Brahmas now had a 4-2 lead.

Next up was the ever-smiling Jordan Kary, who managed to beat Carriveau to a loose puck sitting a few inches from Festa's left skate and just inside the right side of the crease. While Festa, who was moving Sam Peckinpah-style (that's in slow-motion for you youngsters), attempted to swat the puck with his stick (he never had a chance, again) but Kary got there first and nudged the rubber across the goal line to make it a 5-2 contest.

The Brahmas sent one more shot on goal before retiring for the second intermission. Through 40 minutes, the teams were now tied in shots at 18 apiece, but the Brahmas held the three-goal lead.

There were no penalties called in the third period and the Mavericks gave it all they had but were stymied at every turn by the Brahmas. With about three minutes left to play, Festa was finally pulled - in favor of an extra attacker - and the pressure on Guggenberger continued to build until Sebastien Thinel managed to find the back of the net on a set up by Vern Cooper and Ed McGrane.

No matter though as the game was clearly over long before that score, which wasn't even celebrated by the forlorn visitors. With 2:45 left to play, the Mavericks sent in four additional shots to the chants of "warm up the bus" while the Brahmas fought for the chance to send the puck into the big empty. The final buzzer couldn't sound fast enough for Scott Hillman and his boys who were feeling the sting of back-to-back losses.

Missouri outshot the Brahmas 14-11 in the final 20 and 32-29 in the game, but still came up short, losing their first game in regulation play this season. The loss also marked the Mavericks’ first loss against the Brahmas in team history. Missouri was previously 2-0-0 against Texas with both wins at the NYTEX Sports Centre.

Referee: Brent Coulombe
Linesmen: Kyle DeMaggio, T.J. Nua

Mark Guggenberger stopped 29 of 32 shots faced and earned the win, moving to 2-0-0; Gerry Festa stopped 24 of 29 and takes the loss. His record goes to 2-1-0.

The Brahmas went 2 for 5 on the power play; the Mavericks went 0 for 2. Texas was assessed four minutes on two infractions. Missouri was assessed 19 minutes on four infractions.

1st Star: Adam Hogg - 2 Points (1 G, 1 A, -2) including the game-winner on 4 shots
2nd Star: Jordan Kary - 2 Points (1 G, 1 A, 0) on 4 shots
3rd Star: Brendon Hodge - 1 Point (1 G, 0 A, +1) on 2 shots

You can view Pointstreak's box score here and their Game Live broadcast here.

You can view my game photos here. As always, it takes time to edit the 1,200+ shots taken, so be patient and keep checking back.

The Brahmas will host the expansion Bloomington Blaze (1-3-1), who are down, but like a wounded animal, still dangerous. Think backdraft; that fire can go out of control at any time.

Plan on making the trip to NYTEX for two games, Friday and Saturday nights, with both contests starting at 7:30 pm. Don't be a fair weather fan - this is Texas Brahmas Hockey in your Hometown. Be there, be loud, believe!

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Monday, November 7, 2011

...And then there's the Mavericks

Can the Brahmas defeat the league's top team?

The Texas Brahmas will host the Missouri Mavericks in a rare Tuesday night contest at the NYTEX Sports Centre - the question is, will the boys stand and deliver or will they fall by the wayside?

There's grumbling in the ranks of Brahmas fans - and for good reason:
  • The Brahmas are off to their worst start of the Wildfong era - currently 2-4-0 on the season (1-2-0 at home and 1-2-0 on the road) and tied for sixth place in the Berry Conference with the Laredo Bucks.
  • Offensively, the boys are averaging just 1.67 goals per game (last in the league) and are tied with the Fort Wayne Komets for the lowest number of goals scored thus far (10). Just eight players have scored goals (Both T.J. and Phil Fox, Mark Ehl, Jordan Kary, Brendon Hodge, Al Wild, Adam Hogg and Jim Burichin).
  • The Brahmas have the lowest number of penalty minutes in the league (72).
  • As usual, the Brahmas are hopeless on the man advantage - after missing on their first 18 power play chances of the season, the Brahmas finally broke through with a second period power play goal by Adam Hogg during Saturday’s 4-3 win at Laredo. They are currently last in the league with a 5.26 power play percentage.
  • There's no "wow factor". The Brahmas have one star player to speak of in Chad Woollard, but after six games, Woolly has just two assists - hardly exciting.
  • The Brahmas' ability to fight (and I don't mean dancing or grabbing at sweaters) has shown a lack of proficiency - with the reluctant exception of Erik Spady. Now, I assure you that I wouldn't take on any of them on solid ground, but I like my chances on the ice. I don't know if that statement's sadder for me or for them. I'll still get my butt kicked, but at least when I drop the gloves, I throw punches. Lack of an established enforcer has the fans cringing when the gloves are dropped.
Granted, it's been a weird start this season. Just three home games in October with two of those competing with the Texas Rangers' failed World Series bid. And, it's pretty much a whole new team - we really don't know these guys yet. They seem to have the right work ethic, they play hard for the full 60 minutes, they all have ability - it just hasn't translated to what the fans are used to seeing.

God love them all, but the die hard Brahmas fans are much like Philadelphia Eagles fans - if they aren't seeing wins, they're seeing the Fort Worth Brahmas. You know what I mean.

I'll always be a Brahmas optimist, but in the words of those beloved minstrels from the 1970's...the Brady kids:

When it's time to change, then it's time to change
Don't fight the tide, come along for the ride, don't you see
When it's time to change, you've got to rearrange
who you are into what you're gonna be

You're welcome to slap me for that reference when you see me.

And then there's the Maverick's - darlings of the Show Me State and the seemingly unstoppable league-leading crew of ugly orange or pastel blue and ugly orange sweater wearing mules:
  • The Mavericks have a 6-0-1 record and 13 points. The Mavs went 6-0 on their season-opening road trip and then fell in a shootout in their home opener on Saturday night against Wichita (5-1-0).
  • The Mavs and Brahmas have met just twice previously with Missouri winning both games. Missouri has outscored Texas 8-3 in the two games. This season the two teams will play three times including the first time at Independence Events Center on New Year’s Eve.
  • The Mavericks are one of two teams in the CHL to not have a loss in regulation.
  • Mavericks forward Sebastien Thinel leads the CHL in scoring with 14 points on four goals and 10 assists. Thinel has nine points in his last three games where he scored three points in each of those games. He is no stranger to leading the CHL in scoring as he was awarded the Joe Burton Award (scoring champion) last season when he recorded 110 points (35 G, 75 A) in 66 games with Odessa.
  • Mavericks’ goaltender Charlie (just don't run into me) Effinger was named the CHL Goalie of the Month for October. Effinger went 4-0-0 in October and allowed just six goals. He had a 1.50 goals-against average (GAA) and .961 save percentage in October. Mavericks’ forward Kris Hogg was named the CHL’s Rookie of the Month after he posted five points in five games on two goals and three assists. Hogg also had a +6 rating which was tied for the best rating in the CHL.

So the average person will believe that the boys don't have a chance tonight and have already placed a mark in the loss column for the purple and black. Let's just be happy the Blaze are coming in for two games!


Now's the time for this group to come around and show what it's made of. And if Fonger hasn't said it (I'm sure he has), I will: there's a one-way bus ticket back to Palookaville sitting on my desk and I swear I'll use it!

OK, last pop reference, I swear. But maybe a visit from Bluto Blutarsky (Animal House) to the locker room pre-game is in order:

Bluto: What the *!%$ happened to the Brahmas I used to know? Where's the spirit? Where's the guts, huh? This could be the greatest night of our lives, but you're gonna let it be the worst. "Ooh, we're afraid to go with you Bluto, we might get in trouble." Well just kiss my #!@ from now on! Not me! I'm not gonna take this. Effinger, he's a dead man! Thinel, dead! McGrane...

Otter: Dead! Bluto's right. Psychotic... but absolutely right. We gotta take these bastards. Now we could do it with conventional weapons, but that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part!

OK, maybe not futile and stupid...but a gesture nonetheless. Let's take these donkeys and show them what happens in our house! Let's send 'em to the glue factory! Show me? We'll show you! C'mon everybody, are you with me?!!

Silence. A cricket chirping is all I hear...sigh...

Photo Credits: Top/Robert Keith, Bottom/Universal Pictures

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Hogeboom thrives in Italy

Former Brahma has 20 points in 14 games

Former Texas Brahmas star forward Greg Hogeboom has had an excellent start to the 2011-12 season with Alleghe HC in Italy, leading the team with 20 points (11 G, 9 A), including seven power play goals and three game-winning goals through 14 games.

Hogeboom notched a hat trick in an 8-3 win over Valpellice on October 27th. All three Hogeboom goals were on the power play as Alleghe went 5-for-8 on the man-advantage.

Hogeboom, 28, was the second leading scorer for the Brahmas last season (tied with Chad Woollard with 92 points) and was first in power play goals (15), assists (55) and +/- (tied with Jason Krischuk at +16). He was also one of two players (Krischuk) to play all 66 regular season games.

Hogeboom's 92 points (37 G, 55 A, +16) and 22 penalty minutes constituted his best output in seven pro seasons and placed him sixth among all Central Hockey League players in points (92), fifth in goals (37), sixth in assists (55) and second in power play goals (15).

Alleghe HC is currently ranked fourth in the Lega Italiana Hockey su Ghiaccio (the top tier of professional ice hockey in Italy) with 24 points.

Hogeboom plays alongside forward Vince Rocco, a teammate of Brahmas defenseman Jim Burichin at Niagra University.

Image Credit: Enrico Bardin

Friday, November 4, 2011

McLeod injured in game against Copenhagen

Former Brahmas defenseman underwent surgery today

Former Brahmas defenseman Kevin Mcleod underwent surgery today to repair what has been described as severe damage to his teeth and jaw, sustained during Yesterday's AL Bank Cup match between EfB Hockey and Hockey Copenhagen.

Midway through a hard fought match, McLeod was reportedly hit in the face by a fast traveling puck. He suffered a broken jaw and lost three teeth, with several others pushed in or otherwise damaged. Bleeding heavily, McLeod was assisted off the ice and had to leave the game.

"I know they say that the damage comes and goes for all teams, but this was really ugly," EfB's head coach Tomas Jonsson said.

The accident occurred 34 minutes into the contest and the remainder of the middle period had to be interrupted because of the time needed to clean up blood on the ice. As a result, the third period was extended for six minutes.

McLeod was taken to Hvidovre Hospital, where he received about 40 stitches and was then transferred to University Hospital where specialists could assess the damage to his jaw. McLeod underwent surgery this afternoon.

"It was a sad and ugly incident," EfB Ice Hockey sports chief, Peter Gommesen said. "He is probably going to be out until the New Year."

McLeod's former teammate and former Brahmas goalie Brett Jaeger was in net for Copenhagen and earned the win in the 3-2 victory, which keeps his team's playoff hopes alive.

"We must thank Brett Jaeger for the victory," Copenhagen head coach Morten Hagen said. "He made some incredible saves under intense pressure from Esbjerg."

McLeod, 27, spent the 2010-11 campaign with Hvidovre Ligahockey (Denmark), scoring 23 points (7 G, 16 A) and 123 penalty minutes. He added two assists in four playoff games.

He began the 2011-12 season on a six-game tryout with the Vienna Capitals, member of the Erste Bank Hockey League in Austria. He signed a contract with Esbjerg on September 26th and has tallied four assists and 12 penalty minutes thus far.

Prior to traveling overseas, McLeod spent three seasons with the Brahmas, registering 114 points (46 G, 68 A) and 201 PIM in 168 regular season contests and 20 points (5 G, 15 A) and 40 PIM in 31 post-season games.

Photo Credit: EfB Hockey