Thursday, April 5, 2012

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

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