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Brahmas Open Series In Topeka With 6-2 Win

Photo courtesy of Rebekah Bing Photography: It was a big night for defenseman Blake Evennou who picked up a hat trick on three power play goals as the Lone Star Brahmas ran over the Topeka Pilots 6-2 at the Kansas Expo Center.

 

The Lone Star Brahmas opened a two game series in Topeka against a Pilots team fighting for their playoff life. The Brahmas have already clenched and are looking to keep the second seed in the NAHL South while Topeka is trying to overtake fourth place Corpus Christi.

The Pilots had an early opportunity when Shane Hathaway sprung free on a breakaway. Defenseman Josh Martin turned on the jets to chase him down and poke the puck off his tape while at the same time avoiding a penalty.

On their third power play opportunity of the opening frame the Brahmas finally broke through. Matt Guerra and Zach Heintz pulled the puck out of a corner puck battle with Heintz pushing it up the wall to Scott Persson at the near point. Person sent it along the blueline for a Blake Evennou blast past the glove hand of McLean Dorr. It was Evennou’s eleventh power play goal of the season good for second in the league among defensemen.

At 4:11 of the second, Brahmas’ Captain Frank Trazzera drew a penalty on netminder Dorr handing Lone Star a five on three man advantage. With the Brahmas on the power play Trazzera dropped anchor in front providing a screen. Trazzera absorbed a cross check from Dorr and went right back to the crease where Dorr met him with the catcher earning a roughing minor. Evennou picked up his second power play goal of the night at 5:36. Evennou got the play started leaving the puck at the point as he and Kimball Johnson traded places. Johnson sent it back to Evennou for a big onetimer through a Trazzera screen and five hole on Dorr.

With 3:06 left in the second the Brahmas got to chasing in the defensive zone. Valdemar Ahlberg punched a rebound back to Cole Thiesen in the high slot who ripped it through traffic and past Seth Eisele to cut the lead in half.

Kaiden Scott took a slashing call to prevent a Guerra breakaway sending the Brahmas back to the power play. It took Evennou just 59 seconds to bank the power play goal and the hat trick. Michal Stinil sent the puck from the rightwing circle to Persson at the point for a pass to Evennou who had the stick cocked and loaded on the left point. His onetimer popped the water bottle off the cage.

Persson and Evennou teamed up for a fourth power play goal, but this time it was a Persson onetimer that did the damage. Guerra had the puck at the far halfwall and found Evennou at the far point. Topeka converged on the shooting lane in front of Evennou so he gave it up to Persson at the near point for a blast into the back of the net. Time of the goal was 3:54. Lone Star pushed it to a four goal lead after a big play by Sam Brennan in neutral ice to steal the puck. Brennan sent Heintz into the attacking zone where he dropped it for Joey Baez. He found Guerra trailing the play with a cross ice pass. Dorr was out of position, but was bailed out by Christian Dahl who knocked down Guerra’s shot with the shaft of his stick. However, Heintz jumped on the loose puck to poke it across the line at 8:08.

The Pilots came right back down ice with Ahlberg carrying it into the zone then delaying for the trailers. He sent it across ice to Brendan Schultz atop the near circle. Schultz put a wrister on net and Eisele got most of it, but not all as the puck just trickled across the line for the goal.

With 1:12 left on the clock, Stinil skated it into the zone down the far wall and blasted one off the pads of Dorr with the rebound jumping all the way out to the top of the near circle where Clayton Lackey turned it around sending a rocket into the twine to make it 6-2.

Lone Star outshot the Pilots 37 – 23 and controlled special teams play going 4 – 9 on the power play while holding Topeka scoreless on two opportunities.

 

Boxscore

 

Elsewhere Around the NAHL South Division

Odessa at Shreveport

CJ McGee scored in the first followed by Carson Nichols and Warren Natyshak in the second and third. Odessa finally got on the board with 3:23 to play. Maiszon Balboa picked up the win on 23 saves.

Corpus Christi at Amarillo

After falling behind by one the Bulls’ Logan Jenuwine scored with four seconds left in the first to knot the score. In the second Jake Willets, Alex Peterson and Nick Trela pushed the lead to three before the Icerays cut it to two. Jenuwine lit the lamp again in the third to set a new NAHL record for goals in a season with 56. Willets, Trey Bagwell and Brendan West followed with goals to make it 8 – 2. Jason Grande was in net stopping 31 of 33 for the win.

Current NAHL South Division Standings

Team

GP

W L OTL SOL

PTS

y – Amarillo Bulls

56 43 7 3 3

92

x – Lone Star Brahmas

57

29 21 3 4

65

x – Shreveport Mudbugs

57

27 21 4 5

63

Corpus Christi IceRays

56

26 27 2 1

55

Topeka Pilots

57

22 27 3 5

52

Odessa Jackalopes

57

21 34 1 1

44