|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