Thursday, August 23, 2012

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night...

The Texas Brahmas Insider is calling it quits

Yeah, this is well overdue - considering that this was supposed to be a one year gig! 

I began this venture way back on the evening of May 22, 2008 with the intent on covering the Brahmas off-season and throughout the 2008-09 season until the Brahmas did what I thought they might - win the Ray Miron President's Cup championship. I told Fonger just that when we sat down for the very first of many Insider Interviews, published that June.

Following that unforgettable night - May 6, 2009 - when along with many of you, I drank from the Cup (and several others) and eventually passed out in the NYTEX Sports Centre parking lot, I fully intended to retire from blogging.

But given the thrill of that championship season, how could I stop?

Now, I'll be the first to say that while I was very proud of what I did on the blog that first season, my contributions began to wane as the next three seasons went on.

My interest in covering the team's exploits with my camera grew and that became more and more of a focus (pardon the pun) for me. I was happy to contribute images not only to the players, their families, the fans, the fan club and the team itself, especially last season for use in the program, on magnet schedules, pocket schedules, posters and the website as well as a large photo display inside Zuroma. My photos have also been used extensively by the league as well as newspapers and websites world-wide. What a thrill!

My decision to end this now has been in the works for some time now - I was just waiting for the right time to sit down and tap out this post and today felt like the right time. 

This is just an announcement - not quite the last post - as I have a few things to say about the whole experience as well as a lot of people to thank for making this whole thing a wonderful and memorable part of my life. 

For now, I'll leave you all with one of my favorite songs, which seems fitting for the day.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Big changes coming to the Brahmas organization

Press release expected very soon

One of the benefits, but ultimately one of the drawbacks to being an "insider" is you are often privy to information not available to the public and out of respect to the team, I keep that information in the vault. More than anything else, that's why the Texas Brahmas Insider has been even more quiet than usual this off-season.

That's about to change.

For those of you wondering why there have been no announcements of any kind from the Texas Brahmas since May 24th, you're about to find out why. According to multiple confirmed sources, a big change is coming to the organization - don't worry, it's all positive as far as I'm concerned.

More to come...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sabres Goaltender coach Jim Corsi talks to goalie Mark Guggenberger. Photo Credit: Derek Gee/Buffalo News
Guggenberger attends Buffalo Sabres development camp

Former Brahmas goalie holds his own with NHL prospects, Navy Seals

"Nothing Dominator-like in the save department, but, after reviewing video, noteworthy because he always seemed to come up with the save. Not bad for an invitee."

- Buffalo Sabres Now Blog

Guggenberger (left rear) and fellow prospects do push-ups on the ice/Photo Credit: Bill Wippert

Former Texas Brahmas goalie Mark Guggenberger never considered training with America's elite special forces in his quest for a spot in the show, but that's just what he found himself doing last week while attending the Buffalo Sabres 2012 Development Camp.

Along with 38 of the Sabres' top prospects, Guggenberger was told on Sunday evening that they would be training with the U.S. Navy SEALs each day, beginning early the following morning. Early, as in 4:30 am - a rude awakening for anyone, especially when you have to make your bed, be dressed and ready to leave in 15 minutes.

After a short bus ride to Woodlawn Beach outside of Buffalo, the players endured a grueling workout straight out the SEALs' training book, which included squats, push-ups, sit-ups, crunches and a swim in Lake Erie. There were also some unconventional exercises that sometimes involved giant logs.

The idea was that the SEALs would be better qualified than anyone to teach teamwork - a unique and effective way to inculcate a spirit of camaraderie and toughness. 

The SEALs had the group for nearly three hours. Then, after a two-hour break, the players hit the ice at the First Niagara Center to skate and make their first impressions on the coaching staff.

Besides the morning workouts, the SEALs forced the players to make their beds, clean up after meals and as well as other military protocol, which was punishable by more pushups and squats if not followed.

Here's some raw video from - you'll spot Guggs if you watch carefully:

Guggenberger joined three other sizable goalies at this year's camp including Connor Knapp and Nathan Lieuwen, who both stand at 6-feet 5-inches and Linus Ullmark, who like Guggs, stands at 6-feet 3-inches.

All indications are that the former Brahma held his own during the camp, except maybe for a humbling trio of goals on day two by a very impressive 18-year-old center by the name of Mikhail Grigorenko.

Here's a quote from the Die By The Blade Blog:

"Mark Guggenberger has a cool name....and he is a solid goalie, which was a nice surprise...Jim Corsi was working on his positioning a lot at the beginning of the second session, showing him how he should be exiting the crease to challenge a shooter and how he should move corner to corner to cover the net."

Guggenberger prepares to make a save on a shot by Brayden McNabb

Here's a video from KSI Management which shows Guggenberger's performance in a scrimmage shootout versus fellow camper Linus Ullmark.

Here's another video, from bgred105 on YouTube, which shows more of Guggenberger's experience. Some additional videos can be found here.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Brett Findlay headed to the Petes

Soo Greyhounds deal overage forward for three draft picks

Soo Greyhounds General Manager Kyle Dubas has announced that the club has completed a transaction with the Peterborough Petes, dealing overage forward Brett Findlay in exchange for the Pete’s 2nd Round pick in the 2013 OHL Priority Selection (conditional), the Pete's 3rd Round pick in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection (conditional) and the Pete's 15th Round pick in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection.

Findlay, 19, was signed by the Hounds as a Free Agent in September 2010. He was one of seven player’s on the Hounds current roster eligible for an overage spot heading into the 2012-13 season.

During the 2010-11 season, Findlay notched 44 points (20 G, 24 A, -3) and 31 penalty minutes in 57 games played with the Greyhounds. Last season, he contributed 56 points (20 G, 36 A, -6) and 44 PIM in 68 games played.

At the end of the 2011-12 Greyhound season, Findlay signed with the Brahmas and played in 11 playoff contests where he found the back of the net twice and added four assists.

"I was a little shocked when I got the call, I am going to miss my friends and family and all the great fans that are here in the Soo but at the same time, I am turning the page to another chapter in my hockey career and I am very excited to be joining a very good Peterborough Petes team," Findlay told
“Peterborough’s got a lot of power up front and I think that will benefit me and I can bring something to the team,” he said. “Obviously me being an over-ager is an issue, you can only have so many. I’m just really excited that Peterborough wants me and I couldn’t be happier to be a Pete right now.”

Petes GM Dave Reid told the Peterborough Examiner that the trade for Findlay fulfilled a need for a solid top six forward.

“Brett is an all-around player who can play both ends of the rink,” Reid said. “He has good offensive skills, two 20-goal season. We were looking for an experienced centerman and Brett is one.”

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Nicholls true to form in Adelaide

Former Brahmas forward makes an impact in his first start down under

Dan Nicholls didn't really know what to expect when he stepped off the plane at the Adelaide International Airport but the 24-year-old native of Whitby, Ontario was sure of one thing - he wanted to get on the ice as soon as possible.

Sidelined by a shoulder injury that's kept him from playing since March 25th, Nicholls missed out on the Brahmas' post-season run and returned home to continue his rehabilitation before preparing for his trip down under.

Nicholls arrived just hours before Saturday's game against the reigning AIHL champion Melbourne Ice, the first of a two-game weekend series. Adelaide won three out of four games against the Ice last season including both home games, but were eliminated by Melbourne on the road in the post-season Semi Final last September.

Nicholls was greeted by a representative of the team and after a 10 minute drive, got his first look at his new home ice, Ice ArenA Adelaide, a 1500-seat venue opened in 1981. Coach Ryan O'Handley opted not to play Nicholls on Saturday, giving him instead, a chance to rest from the nearly 21 hour flight from Toronto and the opportunity to watch his first Australian Ice Hockey League contest.

Not unlike his experience in the Central Hockey League, Nicholls witnessed a  tough and physical encounter that also saw sixteen penalties handed out.

The Adrenaline enjoyed a two-goal advantage at the end of both the first and second periods but Melbourne kept fighting back and scored the first two goals early in the final frame to tie the game 4-4. The Adrenaline scored the next two, once again giving themselves that two-goal buffer.

With the game intensifying, the Adelaide gave away two soft penalties giving Melbourne a two-man advantage with just under three minutes left to play. While Melbourne did find the back of the net, Adelaide held the Ice out for the remaining minute and a half to secure the 6-5 win.

On Sunday, Nicholls was ready to go and suited up for the first time in an Adrenaline sweater, number 14. The former Brahmas wrecking ball performed exceptionally well, producing a couple of hits that literally rocked the IceArenA. 

Unfortunately, the Adrenaline’s penalties were costly - Melbourne’s two regulation goals were scored during power plays in the second period. The team was also rocked midway through the frame, when Josef Rezek took what appeared to be an elbow to the head at center ice. Rezek was eventually assisted from the ice after losing consciousness and suffering some dizziness but the tough Czech was able to return to the game in the third period and assisted on Dan Nicholls' equalizing goal, his first in the AIHL.

The contest went into overtime but there was no resolution and Melbourne took the win in a shootout. 

Despite the 2-3 loss, Adelaide took four out of a possible six points and in their first three games remain undefeated in regulation to sit in third place in the AIHL's Eastern Conference.

The Adrenaline will play a two-game road series against the Gold Coast Blue Tongues this coming weekend.

Photo Credit: Frank Kutsche

Monday, May 7, 2012

Wichita Thunder players in happier times
The Texas Brahmas Curse continues...

Wichita defeated in the 2012 President's Cup Finals

So it doesn't pay to beat the Brahmas in the playoffs does it? To date, no team that has eliminated a Wildfong-coached Brahmas team in the post-season has won any series that followed.

2008 - The Colorado Eagles defeat the Brahmas in the semi-finals 4-3 and is swept by the Arizona Sundogs 4-0 in the President's Cup Finals.

2009 - N/A...Brahmas win President's Cup.

2010 - The Odessa Jackalopes defeat the Brahmas 4-2 in the semifinals and are eliminated 4-3 by the Allen Americans in the Conference Finals.

2011 - The Odessa Jackalopes defeat the Brahmas 3-1 in the opening round and are eliminated by the Allen Americans 3-2 in the Conference Semi-Finals.

2012 - The Wichita Thunder defeat the Brahmas 4-2 in the Conference Finals and are defeated by the Fort Wayne Komets 4-1 in the President's Cup Finals.

Don't mess with Texas...'nuff said.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dan Nicholls arrives down under

Brahmas winger eager to begin second pro season

He was a wrecking ball on ice and a fan favorite for the Texas Brahmas and now Dan Nicholls is heading for his new team, the Adelaide Adrenaline, and the start of his second pro season in the Australian Ice Hockey League.

Nicholls arrived in Australia today but is not expected to play immediately as he continues to mend a shoulder injury sustained at the end of the regular season.

Nicholls played 43 games during his rookie season with the Brahmas this season and notched 14 points ((6 G, 8 A, -2) and 58 penalty minutes.Prior to joining Texas, he played six games with the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees and eight games with the Fayetteville FireAntz (SPHL).

A graduate of Cornell University (ECAC), Nicholls played four seasons with the Big Red and played three years of Junior Hockey with the Bowmanville Eagles (OPJHL.

The Adrenaline lost their season and home opener in a 3-2 shootout against the Canberra Knights. They won the first game of a two-game series at home today against the Melbourne Ice by a score of 6-5. The second game will be played tomorrow.

The team plays at The Ice ArenA in Thebarton, South Australia. Nicholls will join three other Canadian imports on the team including Brett Liscomb, Mike Werner and goaltender Aaron Barton.

You can visit the Adelaide Adenaline's website here and the AIHL website here.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Stars in Fort Worth?

Maybe the Star-Telegram's Bud Kennedy should consider moving to, well, anywhere but here 

"If I were new Stars owner Tom Gaglardi, I'd be watching the basketball playoffs very closely. The success and spirit we're seeing in Oklahoma City would be the welcome that pro hockey would find here." - Bud Kennedy

My first reaction after reading Bud Kennedy's article in this morning's Star-Telegram was less than positive. You can read it yourself here. Be sure to leave a comment whether you agree with me or not.

To suggest that, and I quote, "the Stars would be better off in Fort Worth" than in Dallas on the basis of the Oklahoma City Thunder's success is nothing less than a foolhearty notion.

"Nobody ever thought Oklahoma City was big enough for major-league sports."

Sure, the Thunder are doing well in OKC. They were 13th in home attendance in the NBA this season. Awesome. But that's a natural Basketball Market. And there's not a lot else to do there. And they're in the playoffs. Wow, nice seat you've got on the bandwagon there, Bud. 

The Dallas Mavericks on the other hand, were number three in attendance - competing with the Stars at the American Airlines Center, the Texas Rangers at the Ballpark in Arlington and the Dallas Cowboys at Jerryworld for the Metroplex's professional sports entertainment dollars. Probably not competing with TCU's Horned Frogs, the Fort Worth Cats, the Colonial, or the Texas Motor Speedway (in Fort Worth, but also in Denton County).

Now let's talk about professional hockey in Oklahoma City. The Central Hockey League's Blazers led the nation in minor-professional hockey attendance for years, only to be shut down and "replaced" by the American Hockey League's Oklahoma City Barons (ranked 26th in attendance last season with an average of 3,684). And this is the top affiliate of the NHL's Edmonton Oilers. Obviously, someone should have left well enough alone.

Of course, the modern Central Hockey League doesn't count in the closed minds of people like Bud Kennedy who only look fondly on the days of the "old CHL" when teams like the Fort Worth Wings (1967-1974) and the Fort Worth Texans (1974-1982) played at the Will Rogers Coliseum.

Kennedy refuses it seems, to ever positively acknowledge the Fort Worth Brahmas, who brought professional ice hockey back to Cowtown in 1997 and played for nine seasons before they were in effect, run out of the city by a worthless mayor, an equally worthless city council and an especially worthless group running the Fort Worth Convention Center.

At the time, the Brahmas had gone through several seasons of poor performance on the ice and diminished attendance figures. But the organization, which was not making any profits, was still dedicated to  keeping professional ice hockey in Fort Worth.

But instead of working with the team, the powers that be fell hopelessly in love with the idea that the Fort Worth Flyers, an expansion team in the NBA's development league, would bring fans out to the FWCC in huge numbers. Only the gamble didn't pay off - the Flyers attracted no one and the team didn't return to Fort Worth for the 2007-08 season, as they were unable to make a profit.

The success and spirit we're seeing in Oklahoma City would be the welcome that pro hockey would find here.

It's been six years and a day since that Wednesday afternoon when I heard that the Fort Worth Brahmas would suspend operations for the 2006-07 season. After those nine seasons in Cowtown, the team was effectively homeless. I've never purposely traveled to or spent a dollar in Fort Worth since, nor do I intend to after the way the Brahmas organization was treated.

The Brahmas of course, lived to see another day, finding a new home at the NYTEX Sports Centre in North Richland Hills and have been a continuous force in the Central Hockey League for five seasons and counting now. The Brahmas have been to the playoffs for five consecutive years and won the 2009 Ray Miron President's Cup Championship.

I've always been thankful for the coverage that the Fort Worth Star-Telegram provides for the Texas Brahmas, but the team, their fans, and the Central Hockey League can do without Bud Kennedy, who apparently doesn't see the new CHL as "real ice hockey."

Kennedy seems to want to use what influence he has to undermine and sabotage the organization, rather than show some sort of support for 14 years of ice hockey provided for fans of the sport in Tarrant County. Despite Kennedy's feelings, there are thousands of fans in Tarrant County who have appreciated having the Brahmas and the Central Hockey League in the area for affordable family entertainment and competitive professional ice hockey.

So now Kennedy thinks he knows how to solve the Dallas Stars' problems - by suggesting they move to Fort Worth? It's obvious that he knows little about the challenges facing NHL, and all minor professional hockey teams throughout the country. Location isn't everything.

Buddy boy, the Stars have a lot of issues to work out, but moving the team is no solution. Besides, we've seen what kind of support that the City of Fort Worth has given to struggling hockey franchises in the past.

The Brahmas organization and the new regime in Fort worth have been working on re-building relations, including a two-date hockey series against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees played at the Convention Center in March. There will likely be more dates played next season - a good start to bringing pro hockey back to Fort Worth. I might even consider heading out there next time and drop a few dollars into the Fort Worth economy.

Maybe Bud Kennedy should jump on the local bandwagon and help support the only pro hockey team to call Tarrant County home since 1997. And if not, I'm sure The Oklahoman can use another columnist.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Brahmas announce 2012-13 slogan contest

Win a "suite" prize

The Texas Brahmas, now in preparations for the 2012-13 season, have announced an exciting contest, offering fans the opportunity to submit suggestions for the team’s official slogan. 

The winner, which will be determined by the Brahmas’ staff, will receive a free suite to a Brahmas’ pre-season home game and $50 off at ZuRoma Sicilian Kitchen that night.

The slogan will be used on official Brahmas material such as the game program, pocket schedules and website, to name a few. The tagline for the 2011-12 season was “All In.”

To enter the contest, email your suggestions to, complete with your full name, address and contact information. 

Submissions will be accepted through this Friday, May 4th. The Brahmas’ staff will select a winner and announce the official slogan shortly thereafter.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Brahmas to host end-of-season party at Big Barn BBQ

Team caps off eventful season

The Brahmas’ playoff run came to an end Monday night, but the team will officially close out the season with a fan and player appreciation party at Big Barn BBQ (8021 Main Street, North Richland Hills, 76182) Wednesday, April 25 at 6:00pm.

All Brahmas’ fans will receive a special price of five dollars for a buffet. The party at Big Barn will also include a jersey auction, offering up the Brahmas’ game jerseys to the highest bidders.

The 2011-12 campaign was a season to remember for the Brahmas. The team earned a playoff berth for the fifth consecutive season since relocating to North Richland Hills and advanced in the postseason for the first time since 2009 when it won the Ray Miron President’s Cup.

Texas faced its cross-town adversaries, the Allen Americans, in the opening round for the first time in the rivalry’s history and defeated them in six games to advance to the Berry Conference Finals.

Player Achievements: Chad Woollard climbed the CHL’s all-time goal-scoring list, moving into sole possession of eighth place with 281 scores. Woollard is just four goals shy of tying Riley Nelson for seventh.

It was also a record-breaking season for the Brahmas’ rookie netminder Mark Guggenberger, as well. The Richfield, Minnesota native won the CHL’s Rookie of the Year and Most Outstanding Goaltender Awards, while also earning All-CHL and All-Rookie honors. Guggenberger won Goalie of the Month for February, earning three consecutive shutouts and setting a CHL all-time mark with 238:31 consecutive scoreless minutes.

First-year Brahma T.J. Fox, who led the team with 37 assists in the regular season, scored a team-high six goals and recorded eight points in the postseason. Fox netted three game-winning goals in the playoffs, the most in the CHL.

Fort Worth Faceoff: After a seven-year hiatus, the Brahmas returned to Cowtown this season to play two games at the Fort Worth Convention Center in early March. In two nights, over 11,000 fans attended in support of the Fort Worth Faceoff, including the 501st Legion on Star Wars Night March 3rd. The Brahmas donned limited edition Fort Worth Brahmas jerseys one night and paid tribute to hockey history in North Texas by wearing Fort Worth Texans sweaters the second night.
Robinson's OT goal sends Wichita to CHL Final
Thunder closes out Brahmas with 3-2 win

For the first time since 1998, the Wichita Thunder are headed to the Central Hockey League Ray Miron President's Cup Final.

Matt Robinson’s unassisted goal off of his own rebound 4:44 into overtime gave Wichita a 3-2 win over the Texas Brahmas and a 4-2 series win, silencing the 2,003 fans at the NYTEX Sports Centre on Monday night.

Chris Chappell led the way for the Thunder with a goal and assist while Robinson and Chris Greene also added goals. Kevin Seibel, Kevin Young and Matt Summers all provided assists for Wichita.

Goaltender Adam Russo was solid in net, stopping 32 of 34 shots as the Brahmas out-paced the Thunder 34-28 in the shot department.

The Thunder’s three goals all came in different fashions, with one at even strength, one on the power play and one shorthanded. Wichita’s power play unit showed improvement, going 1-3 while scoring on the man advantage for the second-straight game. Prior to game five of the series the Thunder were 0-13 on the power play in the series. Texas struggled on the power play, coming up short on four attempts, including a man advantage situation that stretched from the final seconds of regulation and into the overtime period.

The first period saw neither team score as Texas jumped out to an 11-8 shot advantage over Wichita.

The Thunder jumped on the board first on Chappell’s power play goal 2:43 into the second period after Texas defenseman Erik Spady was assessed seven penalty minutes and a game misconduct for instigating a fight. With the penalty time carrying over into the middle frame, Chappell snapped a wrist shot from the slot, beating Brahmas goalie Brad Fogal to make it 1-0.

Texas wasted little time, though, as Adam Hogg put the puck past Russo just under two minutes later to tie.

Greene added a shorthanded goal late in the period to give Wichita a 2-1 lead heading into the second intermission. With four minutes left in the period, Greene took a pass from Chappell near the redline then moved around a defender and placed a shot over Fogal for the goal.

Brendon Hodge evened things up 5:40 into the third period, taking a pass from Brett Findlay and scoring on Russo to make it 2-2. After killing off a hooking penalty assessed to Jarred Mohr with two-seconds remaining in regulation, Robinson became the hero with his second post-season goal. Robinson made a play at the blue line, keeping the puck in the attacking zone, then jumped on his own rebound in the slot and knocked home the game winner for the Thunder.

Brad Fogal stopped 25 of 28 shots faced and takes the loss.

The Brahmas were assessed 29 minutes on 5 infractions and went 0 for 4 on the power play.

Referee: Boone Bruggman
Linesman 1: John Grandt
Linesman 2: Cory Piche

1st Star: Matt Robinson (WIC)
2nd Star: Chris Chappell (WIC)
3rd Star: Brad Fogal 

You can view Pointstreak's Box Score here and their GameLive broadcast here.

Special thanks to Pro Hockey News' John Hall for the game write-up.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Chappell's OT goal lifts Thunder to 2-1 win

Wichita pushes Texas to brink of elimination

Wichita’s Chris Chappell scored 1:59 into overtime to lift the Thunder over the Texas Brahmas 2-1 in front of a crowd of 4,010 at Intrust Bank Arena on Saturday night.

The win gives Wichita a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Central Hockey League Berry Conference Final as the Thunder moved the Brahmas closer towards the brink of elimination.

Thunder goaltender Adam Russo turned away 20 shots, including 11 of 12 he faced in the third period while Wichita out-shot Texas 26-21 on the night. Both squads were one-for-four on the power play as each team had a regulation marker while on the man advantage. Wichita’s power play goal marked the team’s first in the series and just their second this post-season.

One night after two Thunder players were ejected from Game Four, the two teams combined for just 16 penalty minutes on eight penalties.

The limited power play chances proved to be key in the battle. With T.J. Fox in the box serving a tripping penalty mid-way through the opening period, Wichita’s Daniel Tetrault scored on the man advantage, giving the Thunder a 1-0 lead.Thomas Beauregard, extending his point streak to 10 games, jumped on a loose puck at 12:11 and sent it to Tetrault who beat Texas goalie Brad Fogal for the score. The goal marked the first time in ten post-season games that Wichita opened the scoring.

The Brahmas held a 7-6 shot advantage in the first period, but could not convert on three power play chances as the Thunder took a 1-0 lead into the locker room at the first intermission.

The score remained the same going into the second intermission after neither team could put the puck in the net during the second period. Wichita out-shot Texas 9-2 in the middle frame, but could not solve Fogal despite two power play opportunities.

As the clock wound down in the third, Texas would finally answer when Brett Findlay found the net at 12:54 while on the power play. With Wichita’s Dustin Donaghy serving a two-minute minor for tripping, Andrew Lackner fired a shot from near the left circle that bounced off of a diving Russo and directly to the stick of Findlay. Findlay then tapped the puck into the open net, giving the Brahmas their first third-period goal in the series and tying the game 1-1.

Two-minutes into the extra-period, Chappell picked up a rebound just inside the left circle and lifted the game-winner over Fogal’s right shoulder, prompting a loud roar from the crowd and a wild celebration with his teammates.

Brad Fogal stopped 24 of 26 shots faced and takes the loss.

The Brahmas were assessed 8 minutes on 4 infractions and went 1 for 4 on the power play.

Referee: Peter Tarnaris

Linesman 1: Kyle DeMaggio
Linesman 2: Shawn Morgan

1st Star: Chris Chappell (WIC)
2nd Star: Adam Russo (WIC)
3rd Star: Daniel Tetrault (WIC)

You can view Pointstreak's Box Score here and their GameLive broadcast here.

The series shifts back to the NYTEX Sports Centre for Game Six on Monday with the opening face off set for 7:00 pm CST.

Special thanks to Pro Hockey News' John Hall for the game write-up.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Brad Fogal is run down by the Thunder's Chris Greene
Brahmas take Game Four at the Shoebox, 2-1

T.J. Fox scores his third game-winner of the post-season

In a tightly contested defensive struggle, the Texas Brahmas clawed out a 2-1 win over the Wichita Thunder evening their best-of-7 series at two wins apiece. The game saw the two teams record a combined 31 shots on goal (19 for Texas and 12 for Wichita).

Wichita’s typically potent offense registered just five shots in the opening period, five shots in the middle frame and just two shots in the final period. The Brahmas kept up the trend of striking first netting the game’s first goal for the fourth straight time.

Wichita has now allowed the first goal in all nine playoff games they have played this post-season. Texas’ goal came off the stick of Erik Spady with his team on the power play. It was Spady’s second goal of the playoffs with Brett Findlay and Andrew Lackner earning the assists.

The goal came after a five minute major for charging assessed to Chris Greene, a key member of the Thunder’s attack with seven points (2-5=7) in the eight games prior to Friday. The Thunder had a second major called against them in the third period with defenseman Kevin Seibel getting whistled for a kneeing major. Both Greene and Seibel’s majors were accompanied by a game misconduct ending their nights early.

With the score 1-0, Wichita would get even. Thomas Beauregard extended his point streak to seven games with his fourth goal of the post-season. It was scored at the 15:30 mark assisted by Daniel Tetrault and Chris Chappell.

In the second period, the Brahmas would regain the advantage with T.J. Fox scoring his team-best sixth goal of the playoffs and third game winnner. Chad Woollard and Adam Hogg earned the assists.

Brad Fogal stopped 11 of 12 shots faced and earned the win.

The Brahmas were assessed 8 minutes on 4 infractions and went 1 for 6 on the power play.

Referee: Mark-Andre Lavoie
Linesman 1: Kyle DeMaggio
Linesman 2:Cory Piche

1st Star: Mike Hellyer (1 G)
2nd Star: Andrew Lackner (1 G)
3rd Star: Adam Hogg (1 G)

You can view Pointstreak's Box Score here and their GameLive broadcast here. You can view my photos from the game here.

Game Five of the best-of-seven series is set for a 7:05 pm CST face-off on Saturday night at the Intrust Bank Center in Wichita.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Brahmas hold on tight for 3-2 win against Thunder

Hellyer nets second post-season game-winner

The Texas Brahmas managed to hold off the Wichita Thunder's third period comeback tonight and earned their first win in the Berry Conference Finals by a score of 3-2.

Brad Fogal stopped 18 of 20 shots faced to earn his fourth post-season win  and Mike Hellyer tallied his second game-winning goal in the playoffs.

There was no scoring in the opening frame in which the Thunder led in shots,
9-3. The Brahmas took control with a 12-4 shot advantage and three unanswered goals in the second period.

Adam Hogg scored his second goal in as many games to give the Brahmas a 1-0 lead at the 6:34 mark, assisted by Chad Woollard and Erik Spady.

Andrew Lackner put the Brahmas up 2-0 less five minutes later off the set up by Calin Wild and Sy Nutkevitch at the 11:30 mark. It was Lackner's second tally of the post-season.

The Brahmas extended their lead to 3-0 when Mike Hellyer fired a backhanded scoop shot past Wichita net minder Adam Russo with 2:40 remaining in the middle frame. Brett Findlay and Brendon Hodge were credited with the assists.

Wichita found their way onto the scoreboard when Kevin Young picked up a loose puck in front of the Brahmas' net and beat Brad Fogal 2:32 into the third period. Thomas Beauregard and Alex Bourret assisted on the play.

The Thunder then cut the Brahmas’ lead to 3-2 at 15:33 as an R.G. Flath wrister found the back of the net. Beauregard and Jarred Mohr were in on the assists.

Despite the late surge, the Brahmas second-period scoring was enough to get them their first win of the best-of-seven series.

Brad Fogal stopped 18 of 20 shots faced and earned the win.

The Brahmas were assessed 8 minutes on 4 infractions and went 0 for 1 on the power play.

Referee: Zak Blazic
Linesman 1: Shawn Morgan
Linesman 2: Kyle DeMaggio

1st Star: Mike Hellyer (1 G)
2nd Star: Andrew Lackner (1 G)
3rd Star: Adam Hogg (1 G)

You can view Pointstreak's Box Score here and their GameLive broadcast here.

Game Four of the best-of-seven series is set for a 7:30 pm CST face-off on Friday night at the NYTEX Sports Centre.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Brahmas blown out by Thunder, 8-1

Wichita takes 2-0 lead in Berry Conference Finals

To borrow a phrase that my wife loves to use, the Texas Brahmas were collectively junk-punched in their man business tonight by the Wichita Thunder. A seven goal second period? Good enough for a league playoff record. Good for them. For the purple and black, as well as their fans, it was a night of frustration - to say the least.

As has been their modus operandi this post-season, Wichita fell behind before catching up with their opponent and ultimately posting a victory. Texas forward Adam Hogg struck first, putting the Brahmas up 1-0 just 2:47 into the opening period. Hogg took a hand-off pass in the slot from Mike Hellyer then skated in on net, beating Adam Russo glove side.

The Thunder evened the score 10-minutes later on a penalty shot by Matt Robinson. While streaking towards the net on a breakaway, Robinson was pulled down by T.J. Fox, prompting a showdown with net minder Brad Fogal. Robinson then beat Fogal through the legs on the penalty shot, making it 1-1 with 7:03 remaining in the first.

The Brahmas had a 13-6 shot advantage in the opening frame.

Alex Bourret’s marker 1:18 into the second frame would be the eventual game-winner. With Chris Greene in the penalty box serving a minor for cross checking, Bourret took a feed from Jarred Mohr and got ahead of Brendon Hodge before putting the puck top shelf to Fogal’s stick-side, giving the Thunder a 2-1 lead.

Aaron Davis and Thomas Beauregard then traded a pair of goals each in a seven-minute span, solidifying Wichita’s lead. 8:24 into the period Davis, in just his second game of the post-season, took a pass behind the net from Matt Robinson and let lose a shot from a tough angle to the right of Fogal that trickled into the net.

Suddenly down 3-1, Brahmas Head Coach Dan Wildfong replaced Fogal with Mark Guggenberger. Just under four-minutes later, Beauregard scored on a snap shot from the right face-off dot, before adding another goal two-minutes later from the slot. Bourret picked up the primary assist on both goals.

Davis added his second of the night a minute and a half later, beating Guggenberger glove-side on a one-timer from the right circle, making it 6-1.

Matt Summers got in on the action at the 17:19 mark, scoring his first of the post-season on a tip-in goal from point blank range.

Greene’s shorthanded marker with 12-seconds remaining added insult to injury, making it 8-1. Greene skated in on Guggenberger on a breakaway and lifted the puck into the net on a backhanded shot above Guggenberger’s right shoulder.

Tempers flared in the third period as Wichita was assessed two game misconducts and both teams were later saddled with double minors for roughing. Wichita’s Justin Sawyer and Erick Lizon both were given game misconducts for their roles in a fight with Ryan Hand at the 5:56 mark of the third. Mohr and Hogg later received matching double minors for roughing at 16:01.

Wichita had a 12-10 shot advantage in the middle period but the Brahmas had a futile 7-3 advantage in the third and a 30-21 lead in the game. Neither team would find the net in the final period and the 8-1 score held as the final tally.

Brad Fogal stopped 6 of 9 shots faced in 28:45 of play and takes the loss. Mark Guggenberger stopped 7 of 12 shots faced in 31:15.

The Brahmas were assessed 19 minutes on 8 infractions and went 0 for 6 on the power play.

Referee: Boone Bruggman
Linesman 1: John Grandt
Linesman 2: Shawn Morgan

1st Star: Alex Bourret (WIC)
2nd Star: Thomas Beauregard (WIC)
3rd Star: Aaron Davis (WIC)

You can view Pointstreak's Box Score here and their GameLive broadcast here.

Game Three of the best-of-seven series is set for a 7:00 pm CST face-off on Wednesday at the NYTEX Sports Centre.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith. Special thanks to Pro Hockey News' John Hall for the game description.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mike Hellyer battles Matt Robinson for the puck. Photo Credit: Fernando Salazar / The Wichita Eagle
Brahmas drop Game One in Wichita

Thunder comeback with three unanswered goals dooms purple and black

The Texas Brahmas took a 3-1 loss in Game One of the Berry Conference Finals at the Intrust Bank Center in Wichita on Friday night.

Texas jumped out to a 1-0 lead six minutes into the game and held the lead going into the first intermission. Sy Nutkevitch scored top shelf, to the glove side of Russo to draw first blood. Chad Woolard gained control of the puck and skated down the left side before finding Nutkevitch open in the slot for the score.

R.G. Flath tied it up 4:20 into the middle frame on his league-leading seventh post-season goal. Flath took a pass from Thomas Beauregard at mid-ice and skated down the center of the ice, releasing a wrist shot that beat Texas goalie Brad Fogal and gave Wichita new life.

Chappell’s first goal came at 12:46 of the second period on an assist from Chris Greene. With a draw to Fogal’s left side, Chappell unleashed a wrister that made its way through traffic and into the back of the net, giving Wichita a 2-1 advantage.

Despite several scoring chances, neither team managed to find the net for the remainder of the second and majority of the third period. Texas and Wichita both came up short on one power play opportunity each in the middle period. Texas killed off a minor penalty early in the third frame. The Brahmas went 0-3 and Wichita went 0-4 respectively on the power play.

Chappell added his second tally with seven-seconds remaining. With Fogal pulled for an extra attacker, Chappell banked a shot off the boards from just inside the Wichita blue line that sailed across the open ice and into the net to make it 3-1.

Thunder netminder Adam Russo turned away 31 of 32 Brahmas shots as Texas out-shot Wichita 32-29. This marks the first time this post-season that Wichita was out shot in a game.

Brad Fogal stopped 26 of 28 shots faced and took his first loss with the Brahmas.

The Brahmas were assessed 8 minutes on 4 infractions and went 0 for 3 on the power play.

Referee: Peter Tarnaris
Linesman 1: Shawn Morgan
Linesman 2: Kyle DeMaggio

1st Star: Adam Russo
2nd Star: Chris Chappell
3rd Star: R.G. Flath

You can view Pointstreak's Box Score here and their GameLive broadcast here. You can view Francisco Salazar's game photos here.

Game Two of the best-of-seven series is set for a 5:05 pm CST face-off on Sunday at Intrust Bank Arena.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Friday, April 13, 2012

Texas Brahmas @ Wichita Thunder tonight!

Game One of the Berry Conference Finals set to begin

So tonight's the night...the battle begins for the right to represent the Berry Conference in the 2012 Ray Miron President's Cup Championship Series. The underdog Texas Brahmas versus the top-seeded Wichita Thunder will begin their best-of-seven series tonight at the Intrust Bank Center with the opening puck drop set for 7:05 pm CST.

The Brahmas, hardly the favorite to win their opening round series against the second-seeded Allen Americans, did so in six games in a true team effort - 10 different players scored goals, led by fifth-year forward T.J. Fox with five goals (two of them on the power play and two of them game-winners).

In fact, the Brahmas, as Greg Rajan pointed out in his CHL Conference Final Predictions, had some unexpected heroes step up against Allen, namely (but certainly not limited to) Brad Fogal, Mike Hellyer, Sy Nutkevitch and Calin Wild.

Brad Fogal

Fogal, who joined the Brahmas just prior to the start of the post-season, did not see ice time until Game 3 when he relieved starter Mark Guggenberger mid-way through the first period with the Brahmas down 2-0. He went on to stop 19 of 21 shots, setting his team up for a comeback and the eventual  5-4 win.

Fogal had his first career playoff start in Game 5, where he earned his first professional shutout with 23 saves. He got the start again in Game 6 where he stopped 22 of 24 shots faced, earning his third post-season win and finishing the series with a league best 1.41 GAA and a .941 Save Percentage (2nd in the league).

Mike Hellyer

Hellyer, who signed with the Brahmas on March 23rd, tallied four points (2 G, 2 A, +4) including assists in Games 4 and 5 and tallied the game-winner in Game 6 as well as an empty-netter which sealed the 4-2 victory. A recent graduate of the University of Manitoba, Hellyer made an immediate impact upon joining the Brahmas with his speed and presence on the ice.

Sy Nutkevitch

Nutkevitch, one of a rookie quartet (including Fogal, Hellyer and Brett Findlay) of late additions to the Brahmas roster, impressed all upon joining the team. He tallied five points (2 G, 3 A, -2) in the last seven games of the regular season and has added four assists in the post-season.

Calin Wild

Wild, one of the few returnees from last season's squad, was one of the heroes of Game 5, scoring the lone goal of the contest. A consistent, hard-working forward, Wild tallied 23 points (8 G, 15 A, -5) during the regular season and has three points (1 G, 2 A) thus far in the playoffs.

Wichita ended the regular season in first place in the Berry Conference with 87 points, as well as first place in the league, winning the Bud Poile Governors’ Cup.

Interesting facts from Rajan: A regular-season champion hasn't won the President's Cup since Colorado in 2005. And since then, Colorado in 2008-09 is the only Governors' Cup champ to make it to the President's Cup Final. Interesting to note, though, that both of Wichita's CHL championships (1994 and 1995) came after winning the regular-season points title.

Wichita was matched against the Rio Grande Killer Bees in the first round and beat them in five games (4-1) taking advantage of their home ice advantage - three games were won at the Intrust Bank Center.

Players to watch on the Thunder roster include Alex Bourret, who scored eight points (4 G, 4 A, +5) with a surprising three points (1 G, 2 A) while short-handed. R.G. Flath has also been solid this post-season and has already notched seven points (6 G, 1 A, +5) in five games played. He has recorded one hat-trick, two short-handed goals and two game-winning goals. The other two forwards on Flath’s line, Chris Greene (1 G, 2 A, +2) and Chris Chappell (3 A, +3) are also playing solid hockey this post-season.

Goaltender Adam Russo is 4-1-0 in the post-season with a 2.31 GAA (4th in the league) and a .904 Save Percentage (7th in the league). Backup Bryan Hogan played just 38:31 on the road at Rio Grande Valley, allowing one goal.

On special teams, the Brahmas are 4th in the league (!) with their 20.0 power play percentage and 8th with their 75.0 penalty kill percentage. Wichita is 7th in the league with their 4.5 power play percentage and 4th with their 85.0 penalty kill percentage. The Brahmas have scored five power play goals in the post-season, the second highest amount in the league. Wichita has only scored one power play goal on 22 attempts, the second worst percentage.

Once again, Dan Wildfong's Brahmas will face a Kevin McClelland-coached team in the playoffs. In 2008, the Brahmas defeated the Mississippi RiverKings two-games-to-one in the opening round of the playoff's to advance to the Quarter Finals, where they went on to sweep the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs. In 2009, the Brahmas beat the Colorado Eagles four-games-to-one to win the whole thing.

The Thunder have a lot of heart and a lot of talent, but I'll base the outcome of this series on coaching. Add in two hot rookie goaltenders, our offense-minded defense and those "unexpected heroes" who will step up when needed and the boys in purple and black will prevail.

Rajan (wow, three mentions in one post) said the Brahmas are in for a steep challenge against Wichita - I say the Thunder are in for a steep challenge against Texas...In Fonger we trust.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Brahmas celebrate Mike Hellyer's third period empty-net goal

Brahmas eliminate the Americans, advance to Berry Conference Finals

In other words, ding-dong, the witch is dead...

Texas Brahmas fans witnessed what was easily the team's greatest victory since the 2009 Ray Miron President's Cup Championship nearly three years ago. With the heart and hustle displayed throughout the Berry Conference's opening series, the boys in purple and black defeated the visiting Allen Americans by a score of 4-2, eliminating their long-despised rivals and securing their place in the conference finals against the number one-seeded Wichita Thunder.

Once again, Dan Wildfong's Brahmas will face a Kevin McClelland-coached team in the playoffs - two down, one to go.

In 2008, the Brahmas defeated the Mississippi RiverKings two-games-to-one in the opening round of the playoff's to advance to the Quarter Finals, where they swept the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs. Chad Woollard can tell you about that one.

In 2009 of course, the Brahmas beat the Colorado Eagles four-games-to-one to win the whole thing. Adam Hogg can tell you about that one.

So now the Brahmas will face the Wichita Thunder; the number one seed; the Bud Poile Governor's Cup (regular season) Champ's. The new enemy.

I'll say this for the Americans - they played with all their might, but once again (and much earlier this time), post-season success (when it counts) has eluded them. Oh well, another re-building year for the red brigades.

For myself, and several other fans I spoke with, anything after this is a bonus - knocking the Americans out of the playoffs is just that sweet. But, well actually, I want another President's Cup win, and I think this team can do it. Nevermind the rest of the world who thinks the Thunder or the Fort Wayne Komets are the likely champions.

Tuesday night's game was an early defensive battle. There was no scoring in the opening frame during which the Americans had a 10-7 shot advantage.

Jarret Lukin was assessed a Boarding Major and a Game Misconduct with 21 seconds remaining in the first period, earning the former Americans captain an early trip to the locker room. As a result, the Brahmas were awarded a five-minute power play and the boys made it count.

T.J. Fox put the Brahmas on the board at the 2:01 mark with his fifth goal of the post-season. Sy Nutkevitch and Ross Rouleau assisted on the play.

Just 24 seconds later, Brett Findlay notched another Brahmas’ power play tally, his first professional marker, which extended the Brahmas lead to 2-0. Andrew Lackner and Cal Wild were in on the assists.

The Brahmas allowed just four shots on goal in the period, while taking 12 of their own.

1:59 into the third period, the Brahmas took a 3-0 lead when Mike Hellyer deflected a Jim Burichin slapshot past Allen netminder Marco Cousineau and the shirts came off in section 303. The score was Hellyer’s first professional goal as well. Brendon Hodge assisted.

The Americans made a push late in the third period with two quick goals from Jason Deitsch and Keith Johnson at the 13:11 and 14:04 mark, respectively. But with the Brahmas up by one and the Allen net empty, Mike Hellyer put the finishing touch on the game and the series as he buried an empty-netter from the blue line at the 18:50 mark to cement the 4-2 final score.Brendon Hodge was in on the assist.

Brad Fogal stopped 22 of 24 shots faced and earned his third win as a member of the Brahmas. Fogal allowed just four goals in the series and finished with a 1.41 GAA (1st in the league) and a .941 Save Percentage (2nd in the league).

The Brahmas were assessed 8 minutes on 4 infractions and went 2 for 2 on the power play.

Referee: Boone Bruggman
Linesman 1: Randy Sappo
Linesman 2: Bill McGoldrick

1st Star: Mike Hellyer (2 G)
2nd Star: Brett Findlay (1 G)
3rd Star: T.J. Fox (1 G)

You can view Pointstreak's Box Score here and their GameLive broadcast here.

The Brahmas will travel to Wichita to face off against the Thunder Friday, April 13th with the opening puck drop set for 7:05 pm. Game 2 is set for Sunday, April 15th at 5:05 pm. The Brahmas will then return to NYTEX for Games 3 and 4.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Cal Wild's first period goal was all the Brahmas needed/Photo Credit: Chip Crail
Brahmas take 3-2 series lead with 1-0 shutout

Cal Wild nets lone goal in Game Five

The Texas Brahmas put on a glorious defensive display for the Allen Americans and their fans tonight at the Allen Event Center and took away a 3-2 series lead in the opening round of the Berry Conference playoffs.

Calin Wild scored the lone goal in the contest, assisted by newcomers Mike Hellyer and Brett Findlay and Brad Fogal, in his first start as a Texas Brahmas goalie, earned his first professional shutout in front of a crowd of 3,999.

With the win, the Brahmas will have the home ice advantage on Tuesday evening, when they host the Americans and attempt to close out the series and advance to the Berry Conference Championship against the Wichita Thunder, who won their series against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees with a 6-2 win this evening.

But is it time to start celebrating? Maybe not - according to uberblogger Greg Rajan: When facing elimination the past two playoffs, Allen is 6-2. That includes the Amerks overcoming a 3-2 deficit to beat Laredo in a 2010 South semifinal, winning Game 7 at Odessa in the South final that same year and coming back from 2-0 down against Odessa last year in a best-of-5 after dropping the first two games at home. So Allen has a history of coming back.

Brad Fogal stopped 23 of 23 shots faced and earned his second win as a member of the Brahmas and his first professional shut out.

The Brahmas were assessed 6 minutes on 3 infractions and went 0 for 3 on the power play.

Referee: Zak Blazic
Linesman 1: T.J. Nua
Linesman 2: Bill McGoldrick

1st Star: Brad Fogal 
2nd Star: Calin Wild (1 G)
3rd Star: Marco Cousineau

You can view Pointstreak's Box Score here and their GameLive broadcast here.

Game Six of the best-of-seven series is set for Tuesday night at the NYTEX Sports Centre with the opening puck drop scheduled for 7:30 pm CST.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Thursday, April 5, 2012

T.J. Fox Delivering Big for the Brahmas

Fifth year forward takes starring role in Texas' post-season offense

From the Central Hockey League website:

Scoring big goals is becoming the norm for Texas Brahmas forward T.J. Fox who has spurned his team’s comeback in their best-of-seven series with the Allen Americans that now sees the Brahmas leading two games to one.

In Game 2, the Oswego, New York native broke a three-all tie with less than three minutes to play with his first goal of the series. The Brahmas won the game in Allen, 4-3, and tied their series at a win apiece.

For an encore, Fox delivered two huge goals on Wednesday night as his team rebounded from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Americans, 5-4. The first for Fox was a shorthanded breakaway goal in the second period that gave Texas their first lead of the night at 3-2. The second was once again the game winner as Fox delivered a snapper from the right circle beating Allen’s Marco Cousineau in the third period to make the score 5-4, the ultimate final.

Watch Fox’s SH Goal to give Texas their first lead

Watch Fox’s Game-winning goal in the third period

During the regular season, Fox scored 19 goals and had 55 points in 63 games played and was a very reliable player with a +21 plus/minus rating.

In the post-season, he leads the Brahmas with his three goals and leads all the post-season clubs with two game winning goals.

Texas looks to build on their one-game lead in the series on Friday night when they host the Americans in Game 4.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith 
Marco Cousineau watchesas T.J. Fox's game-winner streak over his shoulder
Not in our house!

Brahmas defeat Americans 5-4

The Texas Brahmas defeated the visiting Allen Americans by a score of 5-4 in Game Two of the opening round of the Berry Conference playoff's Wednesday evening at the NYTEX Sports Centre.

T.J. Fox tallied two goals, including the game-winner and Brad Fogal earned his first professional win in the spirited contest.

A smattering of Americans fans were in the house of pain, including owner Doug Miller and former Dallas Stars Craig Ludwig and Richard Matvichuk. Ludwig's son Tyler plays for the Americans. 

Allen got on the board early due to a Boarding Major called on Erik Spady 2:33 into the opening frame. Spady was also given a Boarding Game Misconduct by referee Brent Coulombe for his "violent" hit on Allen winger Nick Layton. With Spady out of the picture, Jarret Lukin beat Mark Guggenberger with a one-timer at the 4:56 mark. Colton Yellow Horn and Jason Deitsch assisted on the play.

Fortunately for the Americans, Layton appeared to be OK after skating off the ice keeled over. Once off the ice, he was spotted upright and none the worse for wear, giggling in the hallway with trainer Jason Wallace. Layton returned shortly thereafter and was a non-factor in the game with no shots and a -1 rating. Layton, by the way, has contributed nothing in three post-season contests, with just three shots in Sunday's game.

Less than five minutes later Bruce Graham silenced the regulars at NYTEX with his fourth strike of the post-season, slipping the puck past Guggenberger at the 9:23 mark, assisted by Jim McKenzie and Jake Newton.

Immediately following the goal, Guggenberger was benched in favor of newcomer Brad Fogal. Guggenberger made three saves on five shots during his 9:23 in net.

The Brahmas cut into the Americans' 40 seconds later when Adam Hogg stole the puck from an Americans defenseman and fed Brendon Hodge, who was all alone in the slot. Hodge beat Allen goalie Rejean Beauchemin, scoring on what was the first Texas shot of the game at the 10:02 mark.

The Brahmas had two power play opportunities in the second half of the frame but were unable to capitalize. Shots were even at eight apiece after 20 minutes.

During the second period, it was all Brahmas. The Americans were kept at bay for the entire 20 minutes. Allen was only allowed four shots on goal while the Purple and black put 13 shots on net, potting two of them to come from behind and take the 3-2 lead by periods' end.

The Brahmas scored their second unanswered goal to tie the game at 2-2 when Ross Rouleau lit the lamp at 8:23 off assists from Sy Nutkevitch and Andrew Lackner.

Less than two minutes later, the Brahmas took the lead for the first time on a short-handed goal by T.J. Fox at 10:19, assisted by Gregg Eskedjian.
At the end of the second period, the Brahmas held the 21-12 shots on goal lead.

Just 44 seconds into the third period, the Americans found themselves on the penalty kill once again after a Too Many Men Bench Minor was called and the Brahmas didn’t waste the opportunity. Jim Burichin netted the first shot on goal for the Brahmas in the period, unassisted at the 2:01 mark to extend the Brahmas lead by two goals at 4-2.

Allen replaced Beauchemin with Marco Cousineau following Burichin's goal. Beauchemin made 18 saves on 22 shots during his 42:01 in net.

The Americans mounted a comeback nearly seven minutes later, scoring back-to-back goals just 21 seconds apart. First it was Jason Deitsch taking advantage of a power play opportunity, firing a shot top shelf past Fogal at the 8:55 mark, assisted by Jake Newton and Jarret Lukin. Then it was Brett Clouthier who netted the tying goal, even-strength at the 9:16 mark off assists from Mark Nebus and Brian McMillin.

The Brahmas answered right back at the 12:43 mark when T.J. Fox scored his second goal of the game, assisted by Sy Nutkevitch and Chad Woollard.

Marco Cousineau was pulled for the extra attacker with just over a minute to play but the Americans were unable to net the tying goal, giving the Brahmas the 2-1 series lead with the 5-4 victory.

Allen outshot the Brahmas 13-11 in the period for a three period total of 32-26 in favor of Texas.

Brad Fogal stopped 19 of 21 shots faced in 50:37 of play and earned the win.

The Brahmas were assessed 31 minutes on 10 infractions and went 1 for 7 on the power play.

Referee: Brent Coulombe 
Linesman 1: Cory Piche
Linesman 2: James Sanders

1st Star: T.J. Fox (2 G)
2nd Star: Brendon Hodge (1 G)
3rd Star: Brad Fogal

You can view Pointstreak's Box Score here and their GameLive broadcast here. You can view my photos from the game here.

Game Four of the best-of-seven series is set for Friday night at the NYTEX Sports Centre with the opening puck drop scheduled for 7:30 pm CST.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Monday, April 2, 2012

T.J. Fox (center) is congratulated by teammates Ross Rouleau, Brett Findlay, Andrew Lackner and Chad Woollard following his game-winning goal (click to enlarge)

Brahmas win round two in battle of the Metroplex
Texas evens the series at 1-1 with 4-3 win

I'm at the hospital attending to the birth of my third daughter(!) so here's a write-up on last night's game by my friend Maurice Fitzgerald at Pro Hockey News with photos by Chip Crail (the image above is mine).

The Texas Brahmas evened their best-of-seven first round series against the Allen Americans Sunday afternoon with a 4-3 victory on a late goal by T.J. Fox with 2:49 remaining in regulation.
Texas jumped on the board first when they sent a deep pass from behind their net to Dan Nichols who was unattended at the Allen blue line, Nicholls fired a wrister past Rejean Beauchemin at 3:17 to give Texas the 1-0 lead. Calin Wild and Erik Spady were credited with the assists on the Nicholls goal.

Allen answered back seven minutes later when Jarret Lukin sent a pretty feed to Bruce Graham who one-timed it over the left shoulder of Mark Guggenberger to knot the score at 1-1. Then Keith Johnson extended the Americans lead to 2-1, firing a shot from the left circle through Guggenberger’s five hole. Jason Deitsch and Colton Yellow Horn assisted on the go ahead goal at 14:21.
Brahmas goalie Mark Guggenberger makes a save on Allen Captain Jason Deitsch's shot
It was at this point that the tempers started to flare as Texas knew they couldn’t let the Americans mount another offensive attack like they did Friday night. The Brahmas got under the skin of the Americans with continual slashes and shoves after the whistles, prompting what would become the momentum changer in the second period.
Late in the period, the Americans ended up with four players in the penalty box giving the Brahmas a five on three that would carry over into the second period for a total of four minutes. At the conclusion of the first period, shots on goal were 10-9 in Texas’s favor.
The Brahmas' Mike Hellyer applies the pressure on Allen's Keith Johnson
The middle frame saw an unfocused and frazzled Americans squad making numerous mistakes, giving up two costly goals in the process. First it was Chad Woollard netting the tying goal just 57 seconds into the five on three power play, assisted by Calin Wild and Ross Rouleau.
Then, Andrew Lackner gave the Brahmas the lead back at 13:56 when he was given the gift of a poor clearing pass by one of the Americans forwards. Lackner walked in uncontested and fired a shot past Beauchemin as Texas doubled the Americans in shots on goal, 14-7 at periods end.
The third period saw a resurgent Americans squad dominate play for nearly the entire period, regaining the focus they lost the period before. Jason Deitsch fired a hard angle shot at 14:45 that snuck past Guggenberger and once again tied the game 3-3, off passes by Scott Langdon and Keith Johnson.
Brahmas players celebrate after their win
With regulation time winding down, the Americans pressed hard for the go-ahead goal and that aggression bit them. With a defenseman out of the play pinching too deep, the Brahmas went on the odd man rush with a two-on-one. T.J. Fox fired a wrister past Beauchemin, assisted by Chad Woollard at 17:11 to give the Brahmas the 4-3 lead on just their first shot of the period.

Allen pulled their goaltender for the extra skater but were unable to notch the tying goal as time expired. The Americans outshot Texas 15-2 in the period for a three period total of 31-26 in Allen’s favor.

Mark Guggenberger made 28 saves on 31 shots faced and earned the win, his first in the post-season as a professional.

The Brahmas were assessed 12 minutes on 6 infractions and went for 1 for 4 on the power play. 

Referee: Mark-Andre Lavoie

Linesman 1: John Grandt 
Linesman 2: Bill McGoldrick 

1st Star: Jason Deitsch (ALN) 
2nd Star: Bruce Graham (ALN) 
3rd Star: T.J. Fox

You can view Pointstreak's Box Score here and their GameLive broadcast here. You can view my photos from the game here
The series now moves to the NYTEX Sports Centre for the next two games. The puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 pm CST Wednesday evening for Game Three.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Brian McMillin tips the puck towards the five-hole of Mark Guggenberger
Brahmas drop Game One to Amercks, 5-0

Beauchemin stops all 22 shots faced in playoff opener

The Allen Americans outwitted, outplayed and outlasted the Texas Brahmas at the Allen Event Center on Friday evening, taking a 5-0 victory and a 1-0 series lead in the opening round of the Berry Conference playoffs. The question now is, can the purple and black survive Sunday's game at "the library" or will they go down 2-0 on the road to the fabled Palookaville?

Former Dallas Cowboys Tony Hill and Drew Pearson were in-house and in Americans sweaters for the ceremonial puck drop between opposing defensemen Andrew Lackner and Nick Layton.

And then it started.

Jim McKenzie got the Americans on the board at the 8:50 mark thanks to a beautiful set up by Jarret Lukin and Bruce Graham. Lukin and McKenzie came in on a two-on-one and Lukin managed a bullet of a cross-ice pass which McKenzie put past Brahmas netminder Mark Guggenberger to make it a 1-0 contest.

Sy Nutkevitch had a from out-of-knowhere breakaway chance outside the blue line shortly thereafter, but unfortunately his shot hit the pipe.

Despite the score, Guggenberger was on his game in the opening frame, stopping numerous shots that had the potential to run up the score early.

Chad Woollard took an unexpected shot by Bruce Graham late in the period but seemed OK after he got his wind back.

The Americans outshot the Brahmas 10-6 in the opening frame and as well, had the best scoring chances, capitalizing just once.

The Americans took a 2-0 lead when Guggenberger, who had left the crease, was caught off guard by Brian McMillin, who managed to deflect a Mike Berube shot from the right side to make the score 2-0 Allen.

14 minutes later, the Americans added to their lead when Bruce Graham picked up the first of two on the night. Jarret Lukin, flying in on the left wing, dropped one back to Graham, who buried a one-timer with four seconds left  on the power-play to make the score 3-0 Americans.

Texas outshot Allen 10-7 in the middle frame but was unable to solve Rejean Beauchemin, who was outstanding in net.

Bruce Graham and Keith Johnson scored for the Americans in the third, as Allen built a 5-0 lead. Ryan Hand dropped the gloves with Brett Clouthier and Tyler Barr went toe-to-toe with Dylan King during the period.

'Nuff said.

Shots were even at six apiece in the third period and the Americans had the narrow 23-22 shot advantage in the game.

Allen was 1-1 on the power-play on the night, while Texas went 0-5.

Mark Guggenberger made 18 saves on 23 shots faced and takes the loss.
The Brahmas were assessed 16 minutes on 5 infractions and went for 0 for 5 on the power play.

Referee: Boone Bruggman
Linesman 1: John Grandt
Linesman 2: Bill McGoldrick

1st Star: Bruce Graham (ALN)
2nd Star: Rejean Beauchemin (ALN)
3rd Star: Jim McKenzie (ALN)

You can view Pointstreak's Box Score here and their GameLive broadcast here. You can view Chip Crail's photos from the game here
The Brahmas will meet up with the Americans for Game Two on Sunday with a 5:05 pm CST face-off at the Allen Event Center. 

Photo Credit: Chip Crail/Pro Hockey News