Tuesday, February 28, 2012

From Where I Sit - Homestretch Observations

With eleven games left in the regular season, the Texas Brahmas are heading into the homestretch feeling good about themselvesn and rightfully so. Winning nine of their last ten games, the Brahmas, along with the Evansville IceMen, are playing the best hockey in the league.

After sweeping the Killer Bees and topping Tulsa in two of three games during the last two weekends, the Brahmas have virtually assured themselves a third place finish and a spot in the post-season for the fifth straight time. Our magic numbers are 5 vs. Rio Grande Valley and 9 vs. Tulsa. Those two teams will fight it out for the last playoff spot.

We have crept within a single point of second place Allen with less than a month to go. A comparison of those two rosters will tell you how improbable that result would have been at the start of the season. But the Commies are currently on a skid. I have a few theories that I won’t go into for Allen's troubles. As Westy has said...”Don’t stir a pile of pookie with a stick.” But suffice it to say, there aren't many teams in the league that are afraid of the Red Machine anymore.

The Brahmas on the other hand, have been a joy to watch grow. I would submit that this is Dan Wildfong’s best coaching job of his career. That is saying a lot about a coach who won a championship in his second year. This team is his. It was built from scratch and has his fingerprints all over it. It is full of character and plays hard every single night.

The Brahmas are made up of rookies and young players (Spady 22, Guggenberger 23, Rouleau 23, Nicholls 24, Barr 24, Eskedjian 24, Kary 24) and sprinkled with others with some experience, led by proven players like Woolly, Hodge, Hogg, and TJ Fox.

There were plenty of growing pains early on...learning Dan’s systems, starting to play together, late game goals given up and one goal losses particularly on the road. But this team has learned to win, score a little more and protect leads. Today’s Brahmas play excellent defense, kill penalties well and have the Central Hockey League’s best goaltender. These qualities bode well for the playoffs. The players like one another , get along well off the ice and chemistry like this is hard to find. Most importantly of all...every player has an intense desire to win, they believe in each other, they back each other up and they play as a team.

I sense something special brewing at the NYTEX Sports Centre. Cramming virtually a season of travel into the first two-thirds of the season was difficult on the players, but we are reaping the benefits now. Since they have been home, the Brahmas have run off 8 wins in 9 games and have gotten some practice time and much needed rest. Confidence has skyrocketed. We are also blessed that the team has been led by Adam Hogg, who has turned out to be a great captain who has led by example with 7 game-winning goals.

The team and the fans are now on the brink of the most exciting time of the season...playoff hockey. The Brahmas appear headed for a best-of-seven collision with either Wichita or Allen. Right now we are a team that no one wants to play and I look forward to the upcoming magic at the Shoebox...a very special place to play hockey.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Brahmas win again!

Defeat Oilers 4-2, now one point behind Allen

The Texas Brahmas closed out the weekend series against the Tulsa Oilers with a 4-2 win tonight at the NYTEX Sports Centre. With the win, the Brahmas' record goes to 29-18-8 (.600) with 66 points - just one point behind the second place Allen Americans.

A night after he tied Chris Richards for 10th on the Central Hockey League's all-time goal-scoring list, Chad Woollard reached two more milestones on Sunday. Woollard's second-period goal was his 200th as a member of the Texas Brahmas and also moved him ahead of Richards for sole possession of 10th place for career goals (277) in league history.

Tulsa’s Michel Beausoleil gave the Oilers the early lead with a slapshot from the high slot five minutes into the first period. It took the Brahmas just 29 seconds to respond as Adam Hogg corralled a rebound in front of the Oilers goal and slid the puck past Steve Christie to make it a 1-1 contest. It was Hogg's 18th tally of the season and his second goal in as many nights.

The Brahmas outshot the Oilers 12-7 in the opening period.

On a power play early in the second frame, Gary Steffes showed off some nifty stick handling to draw defenders and find a wide open Troy Ofukany, whose tap-in beat Mark Guggenberger and put Tulsa back on top.

Minutes later, Chad Woollard hit a streaking Jacque Perrault, who roofed a wrist shot past Steve Christie to tie the contest up at 2-2.

Just ten minutes later, Dan Nicholls scored his third goal of the season to give the Brahmas their first lead of the game. Nicholls' goal was the eventual game-winner, as the Brahmas never relinquished the lead from that point on.

The Brahmas got the cushion they needed after a costly turnover at the side of the Oilers' net led to Chad Woollard’s 22nd goal of the season at the 16:56 mark.

Shots were even at 6 apiece in the middle period.

There was no scoring in the final 20 and the Brahmas celebrated their ninth win of their last 10 games.

Mark Guggenberger stopped 18 of 20 shots faced and earned the win. His record goes to 18-5-3-3 with a 1.82 GAA and a .930 Save Percentage - still best in the league.

The Brahmas were assessed 12 minutes on 6 infractions and went 0 for 3 on the power play.

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

1st Star: Chad Woollard (1 G, 1 A)
2nd Star: Adam Hogg (1 G, 1 A)
3rd Star: Dan Nicholls (1G)

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

The Brahmas will return to their roots in Fort Worth when they host the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees at the Fort Worth Convention Center on Friday and Saturday, March 2nd and 3rd with the opening face-offs set for 7:30 pm CST. The Brahmas will wear special jerseys for the inaugural Fort Worth Face off which will be auctioned off following the game on Saturday night.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Brahmas battle back to defeat Tulsa 3-1

Move with three points of the Americans

Down 1-0 after 44 minutes of play, Chad Woollard led the Texas Brahmas' comeback in a penalty-filled contest that ended with a 3-1 victory over the Tulsa Oilers tonight at the NYTEX Sports Centre.

A scoreless first period included a fight between Tyler Barr and the Oilers' Gerome Giudice at the 7:22 mark which sent the two to the penalty boxes for five minutes. Adam Hogg, Phil Fox and the Oilers' Gary Steffes and Mike Ullrich were all called for Tripping during the remainder of the period and neither squad was successful on the power play.

Texas outshot Tulsa 10-4 in the period.

The physical second frame included fights between Erik Spady and Jason Weeks, followed by Andrew Lackner and Ryan Kramer, who laid a cheap shot check to the head of Ross Rouleau. All told, 55 minutes of penalties were assessed during the second 20 alone.

Gio Flamminio had his second score in as many games when he beat Mark Guggenberger at the 16:48 mark, assisted by Jeff Terminesi and Mike Ullrich.

Tulsa had a narrow 8-7 shot advantage in the period and took the 1-0 lead into the second intermission.

It was all Brahmas in the third frame, beginning with Woollard's strike at the 4:02 mark, assisted by Jim Burichin. It was Woollard's 376th Central Hockey League goal (21st this season), which tied him with Chris Richards for 10th on the CHL all-time goal-scoring list.

Adam Hogg netted the game-winner with 1:57 remaining, beating Ian Keserich with the set up coming from Spady and T.J. Fox. Cal Wild added the bird goal with an empty-netter at the 19:56 mark with Phil Fox on the assist.

The Brahmas were outshot 12-8 in the final frame but had the 25-24 advantage in the game.

With the win, the Brahmas moved within three points of the hapless 2nd place Allen Americans, who were humiliated by the Laredo Bucks in a 5-0 loss at the Laredo Energy Arena.

Mark Guggenberger stopped 23 of 24 shots faced and earned the win. His record goes to 17-5-3-3 with a 1.82 GAA and a .931 Save Percentage - still best in the league. Guggenberger also leads all CHL rookie players with 32 Star Points.

The Brahmas were assessed 40 minutes on 10 infractions and went 0 for 5 on the power play.

Referee: Zak Blazik
Linesman 1: Kyle DeMaggio
Linesman 2: T.J. Nua

1st Star: Adam Hogg (1 G)
2nd Star: Chad Woollard (1 G)
3rd Star: Mark Guggenberger

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

The Brahmas host the Oilers for the third game against the Oilers in as many days on Sunday, with the opening face off set for 5:45pm.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith
Brahmas drop first of three against Tulsa

Third period comeback attempt stymied by former Brahmas goalie Christie

The Texas Brahmas' seven-game winning streak came to an end Friday night at the BOK Center in Tulsa.

Tyler Fleck got the Oilers on the board at the 9:32 mark of the first period with the assist coming from Michel Beausoleil.

The Oilers outshot the Brahmas 10 to 5 in the period. Each team had a single power play opportunity later in the period but neither capitalized.

There was no scoring in the second period and neither team was successful on three power play opportunities. Tulsa had the narrow 8-7 shot advantage.

Gio Flamminio made it a 2-0 contest 4:54 into the final frame, sending a slap shot past Guggenberger. Flamminio's 2nd goal of the season was assisted by Beausoleil and Dylan Clarke.

The Brahmas responded just four minutes later with a goal of their own, the 13th of the season for T.J. Fox, to cut the deficit in half with 10:31 left in regulation.

Texas had a few opportunities to tie the game late in the period but was unable to get the puck past Tulsa goaltender Steve Christie again. On the night, Christie made 29 saves on 30 shots fired by the Brahmas.

Guggenberger stopped 19 of 21 shots faced and takes the loss. His record goes to 16-5-3-3 with a 1.85 GAA and a .930 Save Percentage - still best in the league.

The Brahmas were assessed 12 minutes on 6 infractions and went 0 for 6 on the power play.

Referee: Zak Blazik
Linesman 1: Kyle DeMaggio
Linesman 2: Chip Excell

1st Star: Michel Beausoleil (TUL) (2 A)
2nd Star: T.J. Fox (1 G)
3rd Star: Tyler Fleck (TUL) (1 G)

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

The Brahmas will return to North Richland Hills overnight and will prepare to host the Oilers on Saturday, with the opening face off set for 7:45pm.

Photo Credit: Les Stockton/Pro Hockey News

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Brahmas defeat Allen Americans in Shootout

Ross Rouleau nets game-winner in 2-1 Thriller

The Texas Brahmas beat the Allen Americans for the fourth time in a row on Tuesday night at the Allen Event Center, erasing an early deficit to come back with a 2-1 shootout win.

The Americans outshot the Brahmas 12-3 in the first frame and got on the board first when Joshua Hepditch beat Mark Guggenberger with a wrap-around goal to give the Americans a 1-0 lead. Jim McKenzie and Jarret Lukin drew the assists.

The Brahmas changed the momentum in the middle frame, holding Allen to only six shots and tying the score when Phil Fox caused a turnover behind the Allen net and found Brendon Hodge on the doorstep to tie the game at 1-1. Hodge slid one inside the post, beating Rejean Beauchemin for his 11th of the year.

After a scoreless third period and overtime, the Brahmas and Americans headed to a shootout. In the shootout, Mark Guggenberger saved four of five attempts, while Phil Fox and Ross Rouleau converted to lift the Brahmas to a 2-1 victory.

Guggenberger stopped 26 of 27 shots faced to pick up his 16th win of the season. His record goes to 16-4-3-3 with a 1.84 GAA and a .930 Save Percentage - still best in the league.

The Brahmas were assessed 2 minutes on 1 infraction and went 0 for 1 on the power play.

Referee: Boone Bruggman
Linesman 1: Bill McGoldrick
Linesman 2: Cory Piche

1st Star: Ross Rouleau (1 G)
2nd Star: Joshua Hepditch (ALN) (1 G)
3rd Star: Rejean Beauchemin (ALN)

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

The Brahmas are back in action on Friday, February 24th when they travel to Tulsa to take on the Oilers at the BOK Center. The Brahmas will then host the Oilers at the NYTEX Sports Centre on Saturday, February 25 at 7:45pm and Sunday, February 26 at 5:30pm.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Guggenberger Named Oakley/CHL Goaltender of the Week

Brahmas rookie goaltender went 4-0-0 with three shutouts

The Central Hockey League announced today that Mark Guggenberger has been named the Oakley/Central Hockey League Goaltender of the Week for the period ending February 19, 2012.

The Richfield, Minnesota native has been not only unbeatable lately, but teams have also found it nearly impossible to even get a puck past him. Last week, Guggenberger went 4-0 with three shutouts and set a CHL record with 238:31 consecutive scoreless minutes in the process. In the four games in five nights, Guggenberger allowed only one goal.

His first professional shutout came on Tuesday behind 26 saves in a 4-0 victory over Allen. The scoreless minute streak continued with a 27-save effort at home against the Dayton Gems and then continued on Friday with Guggenberger’s third consecutive shutout in a 1-0 win over Rio Grande Valley.

The streak for Guggenberger ended 3:15 into the second period of Saturday’s 2-1 win over Rio Grande Valley.

The winner of the 2012 CHL All-Star Game is 15-4-3 on the season with a league-leading 1.88 goals against average and a league-leading .929 save percentage.

Oakley/CHL Goaltender of the Week

Mark Guggenberger, Texas Brahmas

Weekly Totals:

Games Played: 4
Record: 4-0-0
GAA: 0.25
Saves: 97
Save %: .989
Shutouts: 3

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Brahmas win 3-1, sweep Killer Bees

Guggenberger sets CHL shutout record

The Texas Brahmas completed their sweep of the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees with a 3-1 victory in a physical contest at the NYTEX Sports Centre on Saturday night.

Mark Guggenberger held the Killer Bees scoreless for the first 23:15, setting a Central Hockey League record for consecutive scoreless minutes at 238:31, which exceeds John DeCaro's mark of 222:41, set back in 2008-09 with the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs.

Guggenberger made 19 saves on 20 shots, lowering his league-leading goals against average to 1.88 and raising his CHL-best save percentage to .929.

Phil Fox got the Brahmas on the board early, just 1:59 into the first period. Fox's 17th goal of the season was assisted by Thomas Galiani, who recorded the first point of his professional career on the play.

Tyler Barr dropped gloves with Nicolas Rioux at the 10:10 mark and the two were assessed five-minute Fighting Majors for their efforts.

The Brahmas had the 10-6 shot advantage in the opening frame and took the 1-0 lead into the locker room.

A Cross-Checking call on Erik Spady early in the middle frame put the Brahmas' penalty-killers (4th best in the CHL) into action, but they couldn't prevent Killer Bees forward Tomas Klempa from scoring the equalizer on a rebound at the 3:15 mark. The goal ended Guggenberger's shutout streak with a shot that the Brahmas' goalie had no chance of stopping. Dan Gendur and Scott Balan earned the assists on the play.

The Brahmas were outshot 9-7 in the second 20 and the game remained knotted at 1-1 heading into the second intermission.

Brady Leavold set the tone for the third period, earning a No Category Game Misconduct, originally listed on Pointstreak as an Abuse of Officials Game Misconduct and the Killer Bees received the remaining three penalties of the game, setting up both of the Brahmas' scores in the frame.

Chad Woollard's power play goal, his fourth short-handed strike of the season, with 5:17 remaining in regulation gave the Brahmas a lead they would not relinquish. For Woollard, the score pulls him within one of tying Chris Richards (376) for 10th on the CHL all-time goal-scoring list.

Brahmas' captain Adam Hogg added another power play goal, an empty-netter with 13 seconds to go in the period to make the final tally 3-1 in favor of Texas.

Mark Guggenberger stopped 19 of 20 shots and earned the win. His record goes to 15-4-3-3 with the league's best 1.88 GAA and .929 Save Percentage. As Cowtown pointed out, Guggs' Save Percentage for the last five games is over 98 %. He saved 120 of 122 shots faced!

The Brahmas were assessed 25 minutes on 11 infractions and went 2 for 6 on the power play.

Referee: Boone Bruggman
Linesman 1: Bill McGoldrick
Linesman 2: Cory Piche

1st Star: Mark Guggenberger
2nd Star: Chad Woollard (1 G)
3rd Star: Phil Fox (1 G)

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

The Brahmas will travel to the Allen Event Center to take on the Americans on Tuesday. The game is set for a 7:05 pm CST opening face-off.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Wylie Rogers had a strong game, but one goal allowed was all it took to earn a loss

Guggenberger, Brahmas win fifth straight

Third consecutive shutout places rookie goalie within 7:25 of league record

The only thing that would have made the Brahmas' 1-0 victory over the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees sweeter would be a little bit more excitement (OK, I say that tongue-in-cheek). But seriously folks, there were times I felt this one was a yawner. The Killer Bees were far more competitive in their last six meetings with the Brahmas. If not for the play of Wylie Rogers, this outing could have been a lot worse.

The real story of the game is and continues to be the remarkable play of Mark Guggenberger who recorded his third consecutive shutout and needs to keep the net clear for 7:26 to set a new league record. At the very least, Guggenberger is the first goalie in Brahmas' history to record three consecutive shutouts. And to think, just over four months ago, we were saying Guggen-who?

The Brahmas needed and tallied just the one goal in the game. Defenseman Jacques Perrault combines with Chad Woollard and T.J. Fox to net the eventual game-winner 6:13 into the second period. It was his fifth goal of the season and first game-winner.

As I said before, the Killer Bees are a much better team that what we saw on the ice tonight and I think that will be evident tomorrow. At least they held the Brahmas to just one score.

Mark Guggenberger stopped all 25 shots faced and earned the win. His record goes to 14-4-3 with a 1.92 GAA and a .928 Save Percentage, placing him first in the league in both categories.

The Brahmas were assessed 21 minutes on nine infractions and went 0 for 6 on the power play. The penalty-killers stymied all seven of the Killer Bees' advantages.

Referee: Boone Bruggman
Linesman 1: Bill McGoldrick
Linesman 2: Cory Piche

1st Star: Mark Guggenberger
2nd Star: Jacques Perreault (1 G)
3rd Star: Wylie Rogers (RGV)

You can view the Pointstreak's box score here and their GameLive broadcast here.

You can view my photos from the game (once they are edited) here.

The Brahmas will host the Killer Bees again tonight at the NYTEX Sports Centre with the opening puck drop set for 7:30 pm. If you don't have tickets, get some - and as always - Be there, Be loud, Believe!

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Friday, February 17, 2012

Texas Brahmas goalie Mark Guggenberger enjoying stellar rookie season

As seen in Pro Hockey News

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas - Mark Guggenberger is taking his newfound success in stride. As the 6' 3", 208-pound native of Richfield, Minnesota makes his way through a group of fans outside the Texas Brahmas locker room, Guggenberger stops to sign autographs and shakes hands with some well wishers.

"It's unreal," Guggenberger said of the support he and his teammates get from the fans, both on and off the ice, noting in particular, the noise level in the 2,400 seat NYTEX Sports Centre. "It's nice to have a good atmosphere to play in every night."

That noise level was particularly high on Wednesday night, when Guggenberger had 27 saves in a 2-0 win over the visiting Dayton Gems. It was the rookie goaltender's second shutout in 27 hours after blanking the Brahmas' Metroplex rival, the Allen Americans, on Tuesday night (4-0).

Guggenberger became just the third Brahmas goalie to record consecutive shutouts, joining Rob Laurie and Steve Plouffe, who recorded the team's most recent back-to-back shutouts 13 years ago.

His current scoreless minute streak of 155:16 is the third longest in the CHL this season. The league record, which stands at 222:41 was set by Bossier-Shreveport’s John DeCaro during the 2007-08 season and while Guggenberger will have a shot at breaking it this weekend, it's the furthest thing from his mind.

"Goalies don't think about shutouts," he said. "It's a superstition. My focus is on trying to give the team a chance to win every night."

"Guggs" makes a save during a shootout against the Allen Americans on February 10th

Just a little over four months ago, Guggenberger was an unknown in North Texas, given little credence by Brahmas fans save for the recommendation by former assistant head coach Forbes MacPherson, who is the current head coach of the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers.

Guggenberger played just one season at UPEI and recorded an inauspicious 5-9-0 record with a 3.35 GAA and a .902 Save Percentage in 15 games played. He was named to the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) All-Rookie Team and

Prior to joining the Panthers, Guggenberger played three seasons in the Western Hockey League, beginning with the Swift Current Broncos in 2007-08. He was invited to the 2007 NHL combine where top prospects annually are put through the ringer, but never got picked.

On his 20th birthday, he was traded to Kelowna, where he came to be known as the "Guggenburglar", robbing many of their scoring chances against the Rockets.

Guggenberger was magnificent during the 2009 WHL Playoffs, helping his new team knock out others ranked above them, while posting a 16-5-1 record along with a 2.02 GAA and a .916 Save Percentage.

He helped lead the Rockets to the WHL title and into the championship game of the 2009 Memorial Cup tournament, only to lose 4-1 to the Taylor Hall-led Windsor Spitfires.

When he decided to turn pro last summer, MacPherson immediately recommended Guggenberger to his old friend, Brahmas head coach Dan Wildfong, referencing the young man's toughness, endurance and competitiveness.

"The obvious first thing about him is his size; he's a big kid who can cover a lot of net." MacPherson said in an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Mark Wright, last month. "The second thing about him is he's a warrior. He prepares to play a hockey game like it's the last game he's ever going to play. He's a gamer and always rises to the occasion."

Guggenberger and Kraymer Barnstable (now with the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds) battled throughout training camp and the pre-season for the second spot behind veteran goalie Steve Silverthorn, who was brought in by head coach Dan Wildfong to lead the team to a fifth consecutive playoff appearance and hopefully, a second Ray Miron President's Cup Championship.

In the end, Guggenberger got the nod and Barnstable went back to school.

As Silverthorn struggled to adjust to the physical play of the CHL following three seasons in Germany, Guggenberger seemed to excel, winning his first three pro starts against Tulsa, Missouri and on the road against Arizona.

On December 29th, the CHL announced that Guggenberger had been selected as a reserve goaltender for the 2012 Central Hockey League All-Star Game. Played a day after his 23rd birthday, Guggenberger relieved the Fort Wayne Komets' Nick Boucher and earned a win, stopping 35 of 36 shots faced in the remaining 30:26 of the contest.

"I don't think I stopped the puck once in warmups, but I managed to save them for the game," Guggenberger said. "It was great. I had a chance to meet a lot of guys from different teams - It was a great environment and a lot of fun."

Guggenberger re-joined the Brahmas, who were on the road and during his first start after the All-Star Game, he was injured and would miss the next eight games. Meanwhile, Silverthorn had finally found his groove and went 5-2 before dropping an unexpected bombshell.

On January 28th, following a 2-1 victory over the Laredo Bucks, Silverthorn advised his teammates that he had played his last game as a member of the Brahmas, and was returning to Germany to finish out the season.

Silverthorn's decision couldn't come at a worse time for the team, with Guggenberger injured and Assistant Coach Ron Vogel serving as a backup.

Left in a lurch, the Brahmas brought in Adam Avramenko, a rookie out of Niagara University who had played with forward Chris Moran and defenseman Jim Burichin, but Avramenko's introduction to the Central Hockey League couldn't have gone worse.

On the road for two games against the Laredo Bucks, Avramenko allowed six goals playing all 60 minutes of a 6-0 loss. Two nights later, he allowed the only goal in a 1-0 loss, just 1:43 into the first frame. Guggenberger, perhaps not ready to return, was perfect nonetheless, stopping all 24 shots faced in the remaining 57:11.

The following night, on the road against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, Guggenberger had 22 saves in a 5-4 shootout loss - the last time he has tasted defeat. In his last four starts, Guggenberger is undefeated and has stopped 95 of the last 99 shots faced.

Guggenberger is congratulated by his teammates after their win against the Dayton Gems on Wednesday

After 23 games, his record is 13-4-3 with a CHL-best 2.01 GAA and his .925 Save Percentage is tied for third.

"He's a pro," Brahmas Head Coach Dan Wildfong said. "He wants to win so bad and I think he can go to a higher level than this and I think he sees that he can as well. If he continues to do the little things and continues to do the work that it takes to get there, I think you won't see him at this level for very long."

Wildfong added that Guggenberger's fervor is contagious and his teammate feed off of his energy.

"Gugg's is a fun kid - the boys love him...I've never seen a goalie get a team up for a game like he does," Wildfong said. He's very enthusiastic."

Guggenberger is loathe to take any sort of individual credit for the team's success this season, pointing out matter-of-factly, the contributions of the other members of the tight-knit group.

"We've got a good group of guys who work hard every night and it really shows," Guggenberger explained. "We've had the lowest Goals Against average in the league. We owe a lot of that to our forwards blocking shots and backtracking and our D-men playing their hearts out for us every night."

Guggenberger and the Brahmas will host the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees for two games this weekend. Friday and Saturday night's contests are both set for a 7:30 pm CST start.

You can view a slideshow featuring images from Mark Guggenberger's 2011-12 season here.

Photo Credits: Robert Keith

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Guggenberger, Brahmas blank the Americans

Four unanswered goals tallied after scoreless first period

The fans had billed it the St. Valentine's Day Massacre a day before the game was even played and while a 4-0 rout isn't quite a massacre, the end result is just as satisfying.

The Texas Brahmas, led by rookie goalie Mark Guggenberger and Captain Adam Hogg held off the Americans in the first period and then proceeded to score four unanswered in the next 40 minutes to earn their first shut out of the season and their first win at the Allen Event Center since February 15, 2010. It was also the Brahmas' first regulation win ever at the AEC.

Yes, the wine and cheese crowd was more silent than usual as their team was humiliated on home ice. Yes, they'll whine about injuries and such but at least they got a booby prize in that their stellar goalie, Rejean Beauchemin was awarded the 3rd Star of the game for allowing all the scores last night. We'll go along with that - 3rd Star for the Brahmas!

Mark Guggenberger earned his first professional shut out, stopping all 26 shots faced and taking the 1st Star of the game. How often do you see opposing goalies on the "3 Stars of the Game"?

After a scoreless first frame, the Brahmas led the shot count 13-7 but failed to score on the only power play of the game, assessed when Mike Berube was called for Slashing at the 15:22 mark.

The penalties racked up during the second period, which included a fight between Tyler Barr and the Americans' Scott Langdon.

Adam Hogg took advantage of an Elbowing call on Jarrett Lukin at the 1:38 mark and beat Beauchemin 55 seconds later with a set up by Brendon Hodge and T.J. Fox. Just 1:09 later, Chad Woollard found Jacques Perreault in front of the net, and the third-year defenseman put the puck past Beauchemin to give the Brahmas a 2-0 lead.

Allen had an 11-9 shot advantage in the middle frame but went into the locker room down 2-0.

The Brahmas added two more goals late in the third period, starting with a strike by Andrew Lackner at the 17:06 mark. Adam Hogg and T.J. Fox were credited with the assists.

Allen sent out the goons in the final minutes of the game and the move backfired as Goon #1 Trevor Hendrikx (Roughing, Cross Checking) and Goon #2 Brett Clouthier (Roughing) were sent to the sin bin at the 18:45 mark. Tyler Barr scored his second goal of the season on the resulting power play with Gregg Eskedjian and Lackner assisting to seal the final score at 4-0 at the 19:41 mark.

Mark Guggenberger stopped 26 of 26 shots faced and earned the win. HIs record goes to 12-4-3 with a .922 save percentage and a CHL-best 2.11 GAA.

The Brahmas were assessed 11 minutes on four infractions and went 2 for 6 on the power play.

Referee: Mark-Andre Lavoie
Linesman 1: Bill McGoldrick
Linesman 2: John Grandt

1st Star: Mark Guggenberger
2nd Star: Adam Hogg (1 G, 1 A)
3rd Star: Rejean Beauchemin (ALN)

You can view the box score here and the GameLive broadcast here.

The Brahmas have returned home and will host the Dayton Gems tonight with the opening puck drop slated for 7:30 pm CST.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Insider Interview - Dan Wildfong

The Texas Brahmas head coach talks about the adversity his team has faced and the resulting character that has built throughout the season.

It's been a long time since I've sat down with Fonger for an interview so don't fret that this is a 19-minute video. We talked about a lot that's transpired over the season and I tried to ask the questions I know fans wants answers to. This was recorded in Phil Shipp's office following last night's game - sorry about the lighting (the Insider TV set is still under construction). Enjoy.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Time to cut the proverbial bullcr*p

Brahmas 22 games away from the playoffs or Palookaville

'When I was a boy, I saw a bulldog take a bull by the nose and wrestle him to the ground. The dog bit too hard, and the bull stomped that dog to death. (Smiling) Well boys, we got a whole pack of dogs to deal with."

- Jason Robards in Comes a Horseman

With just 21 games remaining on the schedule, the Texas Brahmas (20-17-8, 48 points) are on the home stretch of the 2011/12 regular season and it's time to throw the excuses to the wind. It's time to put up or shut up for the purple and black.

First and second place in the Berry Conference are out of reach which leaves the Brahmas, the Tulsa Oilers (21-17-5, 47 points) and the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (20-19-6, 46 points) wrangling for the third and fourth place spots. Fifth place is not an option.

The Schedule

Just seven road games remain - five in Allen and two in Tulsa. The remaining 14 games will be played at the NYTEX Sports Centre.

Seven games will be played against the Americans (two at home, five at the AEC), four against Tulsa (two at the BOK Center and two at home), four against Rio Grande Valley (two at NYTEX and two at the Fort Worth Convention Center), two against Laredo (at home) and one each against Dayton, Evansville, Missouri and Wichita (all at home).

Where We're At

The Brahmas overall record as of today is 20-17-8 (.533). Their road record is 9-13-4 and their home record is 11-4-4.

They have the third lowest number of goals scored in the league at 116, averaging 2.58 per game. Only Laredo and Bloomington have less, at 114 each.

The Brahmas have the lowest number of penalty minutes in the league at 582 as well as the worst power play in the league at an atrocious 11.11%. Their penalty kill is middle of the road, which is about average for the Brahmas, ranked seventh at 82.49%.

Grading the Offense: C-

In a way, this season's Brahmas remind me of the Dallas Cowboys - a lot of talent but not a lot of output when it's needed most. Led by Woolly, the Foxes, Kary and Hogger, the talent is definitely there. The question is, what's holding them back?

Grading the Defense: B-

What started out as one of the best defensive corps we've seen during the Wildfong years has waned at times, but overall they're a solid group. Too many third period collapses have plagued the Brahmas and their have been lapses in coverage in front of the net. Time to tighten up.

Grading the Goaltending: B-

Overall, the Brahmas' goaltenders haven't been the main issue. Sure, Steve Silverthorn had an atrocious start by purple and black standards, but I think most agree that a number of his losses had other elements to blame as well. Unfortunately, just as it appeared he was on the way to truly leading this team, he jumped ship.

Avramenko - never should have been put in that situation, but who knew? He'll probably have nightmares for years, waking up screaming to Fonger's glare and thorough dressing down. May have an opportunity to stay in place for now.

Mark Guggenberger emerged early as a fan favorite, winning his first three professional starts and going 9-4-3 in 19 games played. With a 2.24 GAA, Guggenberger is ranked second in the league and seventh with a .918 Save Percentage. He's struggled early in games, but overall has been a solid goalie. He'll have a new second to back him up tonight - I'll let the Brahmas announce the name if you don't already know.

Grading Special Teams: Grade D-

During the Wildfong era, the Brahmas' power play has been a joke for all but the championship season. In 45 games, the purple and black have had 153 advantages and capitalized just 17 times - rock bottom in the league with a 11.11 percentage. Chad Woollard, Phil Fox and Adam Hogg lead the team with three power play goals apiece.

This has to improve. Whether it's coaching or the personnel, you have to be able to score with an advantage. If it's coaching, find someone who can come in and work with the boys during practice - even some different perspectives might help. The Brahmas have access to Al Secord, one of the best power forwards during the 1980's. Maybe Al can give some advice. Bring in Wes Mason for a talk - he was one of the leaders in power play goals in 2005-06. Something...anything!

I'd dedicate a full day of practice a week on improving this.

The penalty kill is where it's been historically - middle of the road. Currently, exactly there, ranked seventh at 82.49%. Could be better.

Grading the Coaching: B-

Overall, with what Fonger's had to work with/deal with this season, I think he's done a very good job. Still have to fault him for the power play situation - how has this not improved? With some restraints placed on hiring/firing players and with Ronnie's attention split between the kids and the pros, Dan's carried a heavy load but the man knows what it takes to win. The question is - is anybody listening?

Tonight's The Night

The boys face the Allen Americans tonight at NYTEX. The Americans are coming off a dreadful performance last night on their home ice, giving up a two-goal lead and allowing four unanswered strikes to lose to the first-place Wichita Thunder 4-2.

The Americans have won three of the first four meetings and they think the Brahmas are a joke on every level.

My advice to the boys (for what it's worth)? Bully Deitsch and Yellow Horn. Send someone into the opposing net early to rattle the 'tender. Don't stop the action for a heavyweight match - keep the fight on the ice. And for God's sake, keep the pressure on - don't give them time to set up behind the net...charge, charge, charge! If you need to be carried into the locker room after the game, so be it, but give it all you've got you need to win this game!

Fans - keep the noise level up. Do what you can to rattle Mullins (and Yellow Horn), but be smart. No need to be thrown out. No need to let them blame you for something they throw on the ice. Did I mention keep the noise level up? Who were the CHL's Most Annoying Fans in 2010-11? I gotta tell ya - from what I hear, Wichita's fans are pushing you back out of that category. As always, above all else - Be There...Be Loud...Believe!
Brahmas featured in today's Star-Telegram

Brahmas and other hockey players have their habits and don't mess with them

Mark Wright has written the following article about the Brahmas' game-day superstitions:

Ryan Hand's game-day ritual often involves an afternoon meal of chicken parmigiana at a favorite Italian restaurant.

The Texas Brahmas defenseman sometimes varies his eating habits. But there's one pre-game routine that never changes for the Ottawa native. Hand always puts on the left side of his uniform first.

"I always put my left side on first whatever it is," Hand said. "My left sock. My left skate before my right skate. My left glove first."

Many athletes have unusual habits they repeat on a daily basis. But if Brahmas players are any indication, hockey players take odd quirks to a whole other level.

"I'd say hockey players are more superstitious," Hand said. "I think everyone's so focused on their game and making an impact.

"If a couple superstitions help them make their best impact for the team, they're going to keep doing those things."

Hand began dressing left-side-first because it worked well the first time he did it: "I did it once and I played a good game. So I tried to keep everything the same. You want to keep things the same the next night and play well again."

He's not the only Brahmas player who follows a certain pattern when suiting up: center Calin Wild re-laces his skates (20 or 22 eyelets per shoe) before every game. Defenseman Erik Spady, like Hand, dresses left side first.

"I think I always did it, and then I just kind of noticed it," Spady said. "It's like a weird habit. And now I've become a little bit conscious of it."

Spady also has a habit of placing the tape higher up on his stick than most players. His preferred tape pattern resembles that of a goalie's stick.

But Spady isn't about to adopt a more traditional taping style. "It started out as kind of a joke," he said. "And now I like it."

Third Line Pride

Brahmas coach Dan Wildfong estimates 80 to 90 percent of hockey players harbor some kind of superstition -- even though many might not fess up to it. The habits players form are just their personalized way of getting into the right mindset to step out on the ice, the coach said.

"What they find successful, they do it -- like taping their sticks a certain way," Wildfong said. "That way there's no questions about how they'll play. It is a superstition, but basically it's their way of being prepared."

Wildfong knows a thing or two about sticking to a routine. During his playing days, Wildfong was a scrappy left winger who always seemed to start out playing on a team's third line. But through hard work he would earn his way up to the top line. No matter which line he was on that day, Wildfong always wrote "Third Line Pride" on the tape on his stick before each game.

"All that meant to me was it kept me grounded," Wildfong said. "If I'm on the first, second or third line, I need to work like I'm a third-liner. Even if you're on the first line, you have to be the hardest working guy on the ice.... So that kind of kept me where I knew hard work was important."

Stopping the five

Superstitions can make the difference in which way a puck bounces. When goalie Mark Guggenberger puts on both leg pads at the same time, he knows no pucks can enter the net through that space between a goaltender's legs known as the five hole.

"Instead of putting on one pad all the way and then the other, I put them on together," Guggenberger said. "That way nothing goes between them out on the ice."

On the other hand, not following the proper pregame ritual can anger the hockey gods: "I had a couple games where I put on one then the other and got scored on five hole," Guggenberger said. "And then I put them on together and I haven't been scored on like that in a while."

After a bad game, Hand said it helps to consider whether he strayed from his normal routine. "I try to think about 'What did I do differently?'" Hand said. "Maybe I left for the rink later than I usually do. Maybe I slept for too long."

Sometimes changing up a pregame routine in some small way can help the team bounce back from a loss, Spady said. For example, Wildfong hands the Brahmas' starting lineup to a player before each game. And the chosen player reads the names to his teammates.

During a winning streak, the coach hands the lineup sheet to the same guy as the previous game. But after a loss, it's time to let somebody else read the names.

"It gets you excited," Spady said. "You always assume it's a good thing when you change it up."

But when a superstition seems to work, you just go with it. No questions asked.

"Say you have a great game: You have two goals, the team plays great," Spady said. "You'll probably try and do everything exactly the same if you have a game the next night -- even down to who you got a ride with to the arena."

Photo Credit: Star-Telegram/Paul Mosely

Monday, February 6, 2012

Former Brahmas coach selected for 2013 Winter Universiade

Forbes MacPherson named Team Canada Assistant Coach

Former Texas Brahmas assistant coach Forbes MacPherson has been selected as one of the assistant coaches for Team Canada at the 26th Winter World University Games.

Gardiner MacDougall, head coach of the reigning CIS champion UNB Varsity Reds, will serve as Team Canada bench boss and will be assisted by MacPherson and St. Francis Xavier's Brad Peddle.

The trio was selected by a committee chaired by AUS men's hockey convenor John Ryan.

"We are thrilled to have these three AUS head coaches lead the 2013 men's hockey team on behalf of the conference and CIS," said Ryan, the Director of Athletics at Cape Breton University. "Gardiner, Brad and Forbes bring a great deal of passion, experience and knowledge of the game of hockey and they will no doubt represent us very well on the international stage. I am confident these three individuals will work very diligently over the coming months to put the very best team possible to represent CIS in Slovenia."

At the biennial multi-sport event, which will run from January 30th to February 9th, Canada will be represented in men's hockey by a team comprised entirely of players from the AUS conference.

MacPherson, a native of Stratford, P.E.I., has led the University of Prince Edward Island hockey program since 2009 and has played or coached for a number of years at both the university and professional levels.

He skated for the University of New Brunswick from 1991-93 and then with the Panthers from 1994-96, before moving on to professional stops in the CoHL, IHL, ECHL, WPHL and AHL. From 2000-07, he was a player/assistant coach with the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs (WPHL & CHL), and from 2007-08, was assistant coach and assistant director of hockey operations for the Texas Brahmas.

Canada has tallied an impressive 12 medals in 13 all-time appearances at the Universiade men's hockey tournament, including three gold, three silver and six bronze.

In addition to the title won by the all-AUS team in 2007 in Italy, Canada was crowned in 1991 in Sapporo, Japan, while represented by the senior national squad, and in 1981 in Jaca, Spain, when the University of Alberta Golden Bears wore the Maple Leaf uniform.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Killer Bees sting Brahmas with 5-4 shootout win

Chad Woollard scores natural hat trick in Brahmas' OT loss

The Brahmas suffered defeat for the third straight game as the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bee stole the win on Saturday night at the State Farm Arena.

The Bees and Brahmas fought back and forth for the upper hand in the high scoring game. The game was sent into overtime and then a shootout after the two teams tried to break the third tie of the night at 4-4. In the end, RGV's Aaron Lee scored the game-winner in the shootout.

With the loss, the Brahmas earned a point in the standings which was enough to give them sole possession of third place in the Berry Conference with a 20-17-8 record (48 points). This puts them a point ahead of the Tulsa Oilers, 11 points behind second-place Allen and 12 points behind first-place Wichita.

The first period saw a great deal of action as the Killer Bees and the Brahmas each registered a pair of goals, three of which in the first five minutes.

The Killer Bees took an early lead thanks to a Zac Pearson goal 1:59 into the opening frame. Pearson took the puck in from the top of the right circle where it was stopped at first by Mark Guggenberger. After a scramble around the net, Pearson managed to tap it in to register the first goal of the night. Phillip Ischi and Jake Hauswirth earned the assists.

The Killer Bees struck again at the 4:24 mark when Nicolas Rioux took a feed from Jason Dixon and fired one past Guggenberger from the point. Jake Hauswirth earned his second assist of the night on the play.

Just 32 seconds later, Chad Woollard scored one for the Brahmas. T.J. Fox had the assist. Then, at the 13:23 mark, Woollard teamed up again with Fox and got another one past Wylie Rogers to tie the game up at 2-2.

The tie held up as the teams went into the locker rooms for the first intermission. Shots were even at eight apiece.

Woollard secured a natural hat trick early in the second period when he scored his third goal of the night at the 3:36 mark, giving Texas a one point advantage.

The advantage didn't last long though - Phillip Ischi tied the game at 3-3 at the 4:43 mark. Mike Wilson drove the puck from the defensive side and fed it to Ischi who found the back of the net from the slot.

Adam Hogg answered back for the Brahmas shortly afterward, which put Texas back in the lead at 4-3 for the remainder of the period.

The Brahmas had a 12-8 shot advantage in the middle frame.

The game slowed in the third period until Kirill Startsev put the puck between the pipes 10:58 into the period and tied the game for the third time at 4-4. Craig Lineker and Mike Wilson assisted the goal.

The Brahmas held the 8-6 shot advantage in the third period but neither goalie could be beat again and the game was sent into overtime tied at 4-4, and then went into a shootout. Chris Moran, T.J. Fox, Adam Hogg, Chad Woollard and Phil Fox shot for the Brahmas but were unable to beat Rogers. Aaron Lee scored the game-winning goal for the Bees.

The Brahmas characteristically went 0 for 5 on the power play. The Bucks went 3 for 4. The Brahmas were assessed 15 minutes on six infractions; the Bucks received 27 minutes on eight infractions.

Mark Guggenberger stopped 22 of 26 shots faced and takes the overtime loss. His record goes to 9-4-3 with a 2.24 GAA (2nd in the league) and a .918 Save Percentage (6th in the league).

The Brahmas were assessed 12 minutes on six infractions and went 0 for 1 on the power play.

Referee: Steve Cruikshank
Linesman 1: Aaron Chockla
Linesman 2: Brad Duncan

1st Star: Phillip Ischi (RGV)
2nd Star: Chad Woollard
3rd Star: Jake Hauswirth (RGV)

You can view the box score here and the GameLive broadcast here.

The Brahmas have returned home and will host the Allen Americans on Friday night with the opening puck drop slated for 7:30 pm CST.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Shut out, part 2

Laredo Solves Avramenko again and wins 1-0

61:43. 'Nuff said.

It took the Bucks just 1:43 to score on Avramenko - their first shot in the game. Rusty Masters had the short-handed, unassisted strike following a Hooking call on Matt R. Pierce 23 seconds into the contest. Dan Wildfong pulled Avramenko immediately and sent in Mark Guggenberger, who proceeded to stop the next four shots before the first intermission. Word is that Avramenko received some coaching advice from Fonger - 'nuff said, part 2.

The Brahmas had the narrow 6-5 shot advantage in the first 20 minutes.

Things got Chippy in the middle frame but there was no scoring. New Brahmas forward Tyler Barr dropped the gloves with Justin Styffe and both received the customary Fighting Majors at the 7:03 mark. Erik Spady was called for Cross Checking at the 9:58 mark. Barr and Styffe received matching Roughing calls at the 17:05 mark and Adam Hogg was written up for Interference at the 19:43 mark. Phew!

Guggenberger and Jung remained perfect, stopping 12 and seven shots, repectively during the period.

Let's just say more of the same in the third period, physical play, no scoring, goaltenders perfect. The Bucks took the win, shutting out the Brahmas for the second consecutive night.

Adam Avramenko faced one shot and, well, let's just say he earned the loss. Mark Guggenberger stopped all 24 shots faced in relief. Torrie Jung stopped all 27 shots faced and earned the win.

The Brahmas went 0 for 2 on the power play; the Bucks went 0 for 7. Texas was assessed 21 minutes on nine infractions; Laredo received 11 minutes on four infractions.

Referee: Mark-Andre Lavoie
Linesman 1: James Sanders
Linesman 2: John Grandt

1st Star: Torrie Jung (LAR)
2nd Star: Rusty Masters (LAR)
3rd Star: Adam Rivet (LAR)

You can view the box score here and the GameLive broadcast here.

The Brahmas are in Hidalgo, Texas to play the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees tonight with the opening face off set for 7:30 pm CST.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Friday, February 3, 2012

Jaeger finds new success in Germany

Former Brahmas goalie has shutout in first start for Bremerhaven

When Brett Jaeger joined his new team in Bremerhaven, he entered a three-way battle for the number one spot in net - and quickly made a strong first impression. Jaeger's first start for the Penguins was on Sunday against the Hannover Indians and he not only earned a win, but a 3-0 shutout.

Jaeger signed with the Fischtown Pinguins (also known as Bremerhaven REV) who play in Germany's 2nd Bundesliga. Home ice is the Bremerhaven Ice Arena which opened in March of last year and seats 4,250. With a record, the Penguins are in 7th place

Jaeger began the season with Copenhagen Hockey in Denmark's AL-Bank Ligaen where he played 27 games and had a 3.12 GAA and a .908 Save Percentage.

Copenhagen had no chance of making the playoffs and all foreign players were granted releases from the club.

"My team in Denmark wanted to transfer me and the Penguins were interested - that's how it goes sometimes in hockey," Jaeger said. "But it's good for me. For me this is a step up the ladder."

Jaeger with former Swedish goalie and current trainer Gunnar Borg

Veteran backstopper Marko Suvelo and Sebastian Staudt might not have enjoyed hearing another goalie was coming but Jaeger took the situation in stride.

"The situation is what it is," Jaeger said. "I will train hard and be available. I hope I can help the team when I play."

Classic Jaegs. Always the consummate professional.

Here's an interview with Jaeger from last Monday during his first day of practice with his new club (have patience with the translator). Watch the looks on Jaeger's face as he begins to wonder why he's still standing there as the two commentators start a lengthy discussion in German:

The Penguins defeated the Landshut Cannibals today by a score of 6-5 with Jaeger in goal. Two starts, two wins. The penguins play again on Sunday.

Photo Credits: Top/Radio Bremen; Bottom/Nordsee-Zeitung
Brahmas acquire Tyler Barr

Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees forward picked up off waivers

The Texas Brahmas signed former Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees forward Tyler Barr today, according to Pointstreak.com.

Barr, 23, began the season with the New Jersey Outlaws (FHL) where he played 28 games and tallied 12 points (7 G, 5 A) and 161 penalty minutes. He signed with the Killer Bees on January 13th and played eight games before he was waived on February 2nd. With the Killer Bees, Barr had one goal and 13 PIM.

Barr spent the past two seasons with the Pensacola Ice Flyers (SPHL) where he accumulated 22 points (8 G, 14 A) and 289 PIM in 99 regular season games. He added three points (1 G, 2 A) and 2 PIM in three post-season contests last season.

The North Vancouver, BC native played the majority of his Junior hockey career in the British Columbia Hockey League with the Burnaby Express, Langley Chiefs and Merritt Centennials. In 2008-09, he played for the Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL).

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Thursday, February 2, 2012

There are losses and then there are losses...

Brahmas defeated 6-0 in Laredo

March 24, 2006. That's the last time a Brahmas team was shut out 6-0.

The team was on the road at the Chevrolet Center in Youngstown, Ohio for the second game in a three-game series to close out the regular season.

The SteelHounds (who had a 5-2 win the night before after losing ten straight at home) had their way with the Brahmas as five different players (including four players with one goal and two assists each) scored goals on Andrew Martin who had yet to post a win since being claimed off waivers at the end of January.

A sixth goal at the beginning of the third period sealed the shut out for the home team and the fans got a free Big Mac at one of SteelHounds owner Herb Washington's McDonald's franchises.

It wasn't the worst loss for the then Fort Worth Brahmas that season - just 14 days earlier, they were on the receiving end of a 8-0 road loss to the Colorado Eagles.

OK, enough for the trip down memory lane.

What can you say about Wednesday night's game?

The Bucks controlled the first period of play from the drop of the puck. Justin Styffe got the Bucks on the board just 2:04 into the game when he scored a short-handed unassisted goal on Adam Avramenko.

The Bucks were able to kill off two Brahmas power plays, before it was their turn to have the man-advantage due to a Hooking call on Adam Hogg at the 14:58 mark. The Brahmas penalty-killers were successful but the Bucks went back on the power play at the 18:43 mark after an Interference call on Thomas Galiani .

This time David Inman put it past Avramenko with just 13.4 seconds left in the period. Neil Trimm and Matt Boyd assisted on the goal which gave the Bucks a 2-0 lead to end the period.

The Bucks out shot the Brahmas 8-6 in the opening frame.

Laredo continued to dominate the game during the second period of play.

Ryan Sparling scored on another power play at the 3:32 mark. The rebound goal was assisted by David Inman and Adam Rivet.

Rusty Masters scored an even-strength goal at the 6:51 mark, assisted by Ryan Sparling giving Laredo a 4-0 lead.

At the 14:22 mark, it was Neil Trimm’s turn to get on the board with a power play goal, following a Hooking call on Phil Fox. Matt Pierce and A.J. Hau assisted on the goal.

Shortly after the goal, the game took a physical turn as former Buck Ryan Hand dropped the gloves with Justin Styffe. Hand received two minutes for Charging as well as a Fighting major. Styffe received a two minute Fighting (Instigator), a five minute Fighting Major and a 10 minute Fighting (Instigator) Misconduct.

The Bucks out shot the Brahmas 15-13 in the middle frame.

Matt Boyd scored the sixth goal of the night 4:34 into the third period. Neil Trimm earned his third assist of the game and Matt Pierce earned his second assist with the Boyd goal.

The Bucks continued to control the puck throughout the final frame although the Brahmas had a 10-7 shot advantage.

Torrie Jung played flawlessly to earn his second shut-out in less than a week and helped the Bucks earn the 6-0 victory. Adam Avramenko stopped 24 of 30 shots faced and earned the loss in his professional debut. Welcome to the CHL.

The Brahmas characteristically went 0 for 5 on the power play. The Bucks went 3 for 4. The Brahmas were assessed 15 minutes on six infractions; the Bucks received 27 minutes on eight infractions.

Again, what can you say about this game? Best not say anything. Let's just file this one away and forget it ever happened.

Referee: Mark-Andre Lavoie
Linesman 1: James Sanders
Linesman 2: John Grandt

1st Star: Torrie Jung (LAR)
2nd Star: Neil Trimm (LAR)
3rd Star: David Inman (LAR)

You can view the box score here and the GameLive broadcast here.

The Brahmas will remain in Laredo and take on the Bucks again on Friday night with the opening puck drop slated for 7:30 pm CST.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith