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Brahmas – RoadRunners Preview for 10/7 & 10/8

Photo courtesy of Rebekah Bing Photography: Brahmas' veteran forward Austin O'Rourke had a hat trick last Friday against the Bulls as he and linemates Aidan Spellacy and Julian Biondo racked up 11 points on 4G-7A in their 6-1 win. They will look to revive some of that scoring against the Topeka RoadRunners this weekend.

 

The Lone Star Brahmas’ 12 game road trip to open the season continues this weekend when they travel to face the Topeka RoadRunners at the Kansas Expo Center. The Brahmas’ coaching staff has seen an offense that has been all or nothing so far this season while the defense has been steady if not dominating opponents. They will try to have both sides of the puck firing this weekend against a Topeka team that has been allowing some big scoring outbursts.

In eight games this season Lone Star has compiled a 3-3-0-2 record. They have scored three or more goals in four games, all but one leading to a win. In the other four games they have been shut out three times and scored a single goal in the other contest. Only two of these games resulted in points for the Brahmas with two shootout losses.

Defensively the Brahmas have been very difficult to score on. They have allowed 15 goals in the eight games. Only three times has an opponent scored three or more goals and in two of those games the third goal was scored into an empty net.

As a result, the defending NAHL Robertson Cup Champions are fourth in the six team NAHL South Division with eight points, two ahead of fifth place Topeka.

The RoadRunner are currently 3-5-0-0 with an offense that has followed the same pattern as the Brahmas, although they have not been shutout this season. In eight games Topeka has scored 22 goals, but have scored two or fewer goals four times. It is on defense where Topeka has been suspect. The RoadRunners have allowed three or more goals five times including five goals twice and six goals once for a total of 26 goals allowed.

The Brahmas are coming off one of those rocky weekend series against Amarillo. On Friday night they flat took it to the Bulls running up a 6-1 win. After falling behind by a goal early in the first, Lone Star came roaring back with three of their own before the opening period closed. Julian Biondo got things started then Austin O’Rourke scored the next three goals spilling over into the second period.  Jared Domin also lit the lamp in the second as they built the lead to 5-1. Emack Bentley scored his first of the year in the third to close out the scoring. Mitchell Gibson stopped 27 of the 28 shots that came his way. On Saturday the Brahmas could get nothing going offensively after an early Bentley goal was waived off due to a quick whistle. Amarillo scored near the midpoint of the first then expanded the lead early in the third. The Bulls added a late empty net goal for the 3-0 final. Gibson was in net once again stopping 30 of 32 shots he faced.

In game one of their series against the Shreveport Mudbugs, the RoadRunners built a three goal lead through two periods then held on to win 3-2. Nick Granowicz opened the scoring in the first followed by goals from Adrian Elefalk and Nigel Nelson in the second. Shreveport scored twice in the first half of the third period, but could not get the equalizer. Emil Gransoe faced 29 shots in the win. In game two the outcome was reversed with Shreveport holding a 2-0 lead midway through the third when Will Schlagenhauf finally broke through for Topeka. However, that was as close as the RoadRunners would get with Shreveport adding an empty netter for the 3-1 win. Gransoe suffered the loss on Saturday despite has 33 save performance.

 

Last 5 Games 

W L OTL SOL Pts
Brahmas 2 3 0 0 4
RoadRunners 2 3 0 0 4

 

Special Teams

Now with eight games under their belts, the special team numbers are starting to come more into focus. Part of the Brahmas’ scoring issues have come directly from a less than robust power play unit. Lone Star is currently ranked 21st in the 23 team league on the power play at just 8.3% scoring only 3 goals in 36 opportunities. The penalty kill on the other hand is holding down the 4th overall spot in the league allowing 3 goals on 24 times shorthanded or 87.5%.

Topeka’s power play has not fared much better than the Brahmas scoring 4 times on 28 power plays or 14.3%. This has them at 17th in the NAHL. Their penalty kill has been a bit suspect setting 15th in the leagues allowing 8 goals on 36 opponent power play opportunities or 77.8%.

Lone Star has averaged 12.63 penalty minutes per game which is 9th in the league. They have committed 43 minor penalties compared to Topeka averaging 14.38 minutes per game which is 14th in the NAHL. The RoadRunners have been whistled for 50 minor penalties while both teams have a single major and match penalties.

 

Goaltending Comparison Last 5 Games

W L OTL SOL SO GA GAA SV SV%
Brahmas 2 3 0 0 0 10 2.04 110 0.917
RoadRunners 2 3 0 0 1 15 3.02 167 0.918

 

Who is Hot (Last 5 Games)

Brahmas G A Pts
Julian Biondo 2 5 7
Auston O’Rourke 4 2 6
Aidan Spellacy 0 4 4
Kyle Hallbauer 0 3 3
Michael Montambault 0 3 3
RoadRunners G A Pts
Nick Granowicz 2 4 6
Will Schlagenhauf 2 3 5
Nigel Nelson 1 2 3
Branden Rons 0 3 3
Four Tied at 1 1 2

 

Inside the Game

  • Lone Star is currently 10th in the NAHL with 8 points while Topeka is tied for 13th with 6 points.
  • Nick Granowicz (4G-5A) is tied for 6th in the league in scoring. Julian Biondo (3G-5A) is tied for 10th. Will Schlagenhauf (2G-5A) is tied for 17th.
  • Austin O’Rourke (4G-2A) and Nick Granowicz are tied for 10th in goals scored.
  • Cam Kuhl (1G-0A) is 14th in the league in penalty minutes with 21 in five games played. Chad Hillebrand (2G-3A) has 7 minor penalties which is 2nd most in the league.
  • Mitchell Gibson was listed on the NHL Central Scouting 2017/18 Preliminary Players To Watch List as a potential 4th through 6th round draft pick.
  • Mitchell Gibson continues to lead all goalies with more than two games played with a 0.97 GAA. Emil Gransoe is 26th in the NAHL with a 2.62 GAA and Sam Metcalf is 37th with a 3.36 GAA.
  • Mitchell Gibson also leads the league with a 0.962 SV% while Gransoe is tied for 15th with a 0.930 SV% and Metcalf is 38th with an 0.891 SV%.
  • Mitchell Gibson leads the league with 3 shutouts.
  • Mitchell Gibson was named Vaughn-NAHL Goaltender of the Month for September while Julian Biondo was named Bauer-NAHL Forward of the Month Honorable Mention for September.
  • The teams have played one common opponent in the New Jersey Titans. Lone Star lost to the Titans 1-0 in a shootout while Topeka lost 6-1 to New Jersey the following day.
  • Topeka has been outscored 13-5 in the third period
  • Lone Star have outshot opponents 211-201 compared to Topeka who have been outshot 282-244.
  • The Brahmas average 2.00 goals per game while allowing 1.88 goals against. The RoadRunners are averaging 2.75 goals per game and allow 3.25 goals against per game.

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