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Brahmas Rebound Take 4-2 Win Over RoadRunners

Photo courtesy of Rebekah Bing: Julian Biondo, winner of the 2017 JrHockeyDigest.com Brahmas Warrior Award, picked up where he left off last season scoring two goals and engaging in a scrap in his first preseason action. Biondo led the Lone Star Brahmas to a 4-2 win over the visiting Topeka RoadRunners.

 

Two teams who had yet to win in the young preseason met at the NYTEX Sports Centre on Tuesday night. The Lone Star Brahmas had dropped their opening game to Shreveport 1-0 while the Topeka RoadRunners had come up short twice against the Mudbugs. With both teams looking for their first win, Brahmaland fans were in for an exciting contest.

Topeka had the first real opportunity of the night when Andrei Rusakov was turned loose behind the defense on a lone man rush with just under four minutes gone in the first. He skated in on Mitchell Gibson and tried to lift a backhander under the bar, but Gibson flashed out the glove hand to snatch the puck out of the air for the save.

With 14:21 to go in the first Chad Hillebrand was whistled for a roughing call putting the Brahmas on the power play. Just 37 seconds into the man advantage, Drew Lennon ripped one off the crossbar and it fell straight down for Sam Metcalf to cover with the glove.

At the 11:48 mark Kimball Johnson made a beautiful diagonal cross ice pass from his own zone to Austin O’Rourke coming off the Lone Star Bench. O’Rourke carried it into the zone then hit Justin Addamo in at the right wing hashmark for a touch pass to Julian Biondo streaking down the far side and he lifted it over the right pad for the Brahmas’ first of the preseason.

Moments later, Topeka went back on the penalty kill due to a slashing minor. A high stick less than 30 seconds later gave the Brahmas a 5 on 3 advantage. That is all it took for Lone Star to build a two goal lead. Michael Montambault got it started sending the puck from the blueline to Kyle Hallbauer at the left faceoff dot for a blast off of Metcalf. Biondo who had planted himself in front was there to clean up the rebound at 14:10.

With time winding down in the frame, it appeared that Topeka would have a 2 on 1 scoring chance, but a strong backcheck by Chase Pletzke allowed him to lock up the stick of the shooter to wipe out the opportunity.

As in the opening frame the RoadRunners had the first chance in the second when a turnover in the defensive zone left Hillebrand open at the near hashmark with the puck on his tape. Andy Willis gave up the body to make a big sliding block pushing the puck into the corner. Topeka had two prime chances with about four minutes gone in the period first shot came from just outside the paint on the near side, but Gibson kicked it out the other side then tracked the rebound to the far post to swallow up the rebound shot as well.

With 6:49 left in the second a scrum broke out in front of the Brahmas bench. Jared Domin squared off with Dallas Tulik and O’Rourke paired up with Devon Fields. Domin threw a couple of good rights before jerseying his opponent then taking him to the ice. At the same time O’Rourke got the jersey of Fields over his head before being pulled off the Topeka defenseman.  At the 16:39 mark, Biondo and Max Finner came together along the end board behind the Topeka cage with Biondo’s lid coming off. As they got back to their skates, Finner dropped his twig and challenged the Brahmas’ forward, a move he rapidly regretted. Biondo landed five quick rights before Finner dropped to the ice.

The Lone Star power play struck again at the 4:09 mark of the third when Willis won a foot race to a loose puck in the far corner. Willis pulled it to the far halfwall before sending it to Montambault below the goal line. Montambault skated it to the far post then lifted it over the glove hand and just under the cross bar for the 3-0 lead.

With 8:11 remaining in regulation, Topeka finally got on the board when Connor Griebenow took a drop pass from Summers and put it five hole on Gibson. They quickly cut the Lone Star lead to one off a blast from the near point which was redirected in front. Time of the goal was 14:14.

On the ensuing faceoff, the Brahmas took the puck into the zone where Montambault pulled the puck off the near wall and fed it to Hallbauer at the point. He moved it across ice to Lennon in the far circle who waited for a screen to materialize then sent a blast over the blocker. The goal came just 18 seconds after the Topeka tally to eliminate any thoughts of a comeback.

The Brahmas outshot the RoadRunners 31-24 on the night and went 2-4 on the power play while holding Topeka to 0-6 with the man advantage.

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