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.