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Lone Star Brahmas Travel To Face Topeka Pilots

Lone Star Brahmas - Matt Guerra Photo courtesy of Rebekah Bing Photography: Matt Guerra (right) who leads the Lone Star Brahmas in scoring and is tied for 8th in the NAHL battles against the Topeka Pilots for a faceoff win last season. The Brahmas will travel to Topeka to face the Pilots this weekend in a two game series.

 

The top two teams in the NAHL South will face off this weekend as the Lone Star Brahmas visit the Topeka Pilots. Only a single point separates the two teams with the Brahmas having two games in hand. The fate of the Brahmas and Pilots have been on an equal footing of late with both teams going 3-1-0-1 over their past five games with nearly equal numbers coming from their defenses and goaltending. The difference has shown up in the offensive numbers with Lone Star recording 15 goals over the past five games compared to 10 for Topeka.

This past weekend the Lone Star Brahmas were in Odessa for a three-game set. Thursday evening the game went nearly 30 minutes before Eric Huss (1G-9A) broke through against his former team. Matt Guerra (3G-19A) added a goal in the third while Ludvig Persson (7W-1L-0OTL-0SOL) posted a shutout stopping all 24 shots he faced. Friday night followed much the same pattern only doubled. After a scoreless first Thomas Daskas (5G-9A) got the ball rolling in the second followed by a Skylar Gutierrez (3G-1A) tally to send it to the third with Lone Star holding a two-goal lead. Patriks Ozols (2G-2A) scored his first of the season on the power play in the third then Joey Baez (8G-5A) added to the lead with a goal shortly after the middle of the frame. Cayden Bailey (5W-2L-0OTL-1SOL) pitched a shutout on 21 shots faced. Saturday after a rough start the Brahmas came roaring back with five straight goals in the first to take control of the contest. First was Sam Brennan (6G-6A) followed by a power play goals from Michal Stinil (9G-7A) and Noah Roofe (3G-6A). Cooper Haar (2G-3A) and Matthew Rickard (4G-10A) added even strength goals all in a stretch of 7:49. Bailey who got the start was chased from net after two quick Odessa goals to make it a 5-3 game going into the first intermission. Ozols notched his second of the weekend with the only goal of the middle frame. Odessa got one more in the third then Guerra put the game away with an empty net goal late in the period. Bailey allowed the three first period goals in the first while Persson stopped 17 of 18 after entering the game.

The Pilots split a pair of games last weekend that both went beyond regulation. In game one Kaiden Scott (1G-5A) staked the Pilots to a first period lead that they carried into the second. Corpus Christi tied it up early in the second then Kyler Yeo (2G-1A) and Connor Zilisch (4G-9A) put Topeka back in front. The Icerays would come back with two in the third and then scored twice in the four round shootout to grab the win. Guy Blessing (3W-1L-0OTL-1SOL) was saddled with the loss on 34 saves. Game two saw the teams skate to a scoreless tie through 60 minutes of regulation. The game winner came off the stick of Scott with 2:56 gone in overtime. Blessing picked up the shutout win making 28 saves.

 

Last 5 Games 

W L OTL SOL Pts
Brahmas 3 1 0 1 7
Pilots 3 1 0 1 7

 

Special Teams

The Brahmas are currently setting atop the NAHL on the power play at 38.5% with 15 goals on 39 opportunities. On the road they tail off a little down to 6th in the league with five goals on 17 opportunities or 29.4%. Over their last five they are down at 18.8% with three goals on 16 man advantages. They will be skating against a Topeka penalty kill that ranks 10th overall at 82.2% allowing 13 goals on 73 times shorthanded. At home the Pilots efficiency goes up slightly to 88.6% and they move up one spot in the rankings. They have allowed five goals on 44 kills. Their numbers have slipped over the past five games giving up six goals on 16 kills or 62.5%.

Lone Stars’ penalty kill has been almost as strong as the power play. They have surrendered 3 goals on 47 total kills or 93.6% good for 3rd in the NAHL. Away from NYTEX Sports Centre the numbers improve to 95.5% which is once again good for 3rd. The Brahmas have allowed 1 goal on 22 times shorthanded. Over their last five games they have been untouchable killing off all 16 opponent power plays. Topeka’s power play is languishing near the bottom of the league at only 9.2%. Their six goals on 65 opportunities has them at 23rd in the league. At home they are 25th with one goal in 36 chances or just 2.8%. Over their last five games they are two for 15 or 13.3%.

 

Goaltending Comparison Last 5 Games

W L OTL SOL SO GA GAA SV SV%
Brahmas 3 1 0 1 2 7 1.38 113 0.942
Pilots 3 1 0 1 1 9 1.73 154 0.945

 

Who is Hot (Last 5 Games)

Brahmas G A Pts
Eric Huss 1 5 6
Thomas Daskas 2 3 5
Matt Guerra 2 3 5
Noah Roofe 2 2 4
Two Tied at 1 3 4
Pilots G A Pts
Kaiden Scott 3 0 3
Shawn Kennedy 1 1 2
Hugh Anderson 0 2 2
Michael Muschitiello 0 2 2
Nick Nardecchia 0 2 2

 Inside the Game

  • First place in the NAHL and South Division will be on the line this weekend in Topeka. The Pilots currently hold the top spot in both with Lone Star setting one point behind.
  • The Pilots have only a +3 goal differential despite having 12 wins on the season. The Brahmas have also won 12 games, but they have a +28 goal differential.
  • Matt Guerra is currently tied for 5th in the league in scoring with 19 points. Michal Stinil is tied for 14th with 16 points.
  • Michal Stinil is tied for 5th in goals scored with nine. Joey Baez is one behind with eight and tied for 8th. Austin McCarthy comes in tied for 13th with seven.
  • Matt Guerra is tied for the league lead with 16 assists. Matthew Rickard and Michael Muschitiello (3G-10A) are tied for 15th with 10 each.
  • Michal Stinil and Matthew Rickard are tied for 3rd in the NAHL with eight power play point each while CJ Walker (3G-7A) is tied for 15th with six power play points.
  • The Lone Star Brahmas have five players in the top 20 in +/- rating. Malcolm Palmer (0G-4A) is tied for 3rd with a +14, Joey Baez is tied for 10th with a +12, Thomas Daskas is tied for 12th with a +11, Eric Huss is tied for 16th with a +10 and Patriks Ozols is tied for 20th with a +9. Topeka has two players in Jordan Gonzalez (2G-2A) and Luc Salem (2G-8A) that are tied with Ozols at +9.
  • With 14 points Matthew Rickard leads all defensemen in point scored while Sam Brennan is tied for 3rd with 12 points. Luc Salem is tied for 5th with 10 points.
  • Cayden Bailey is 5th in goals against average with a 1.42 GAA. Ludvig Persson is one spot behind in 6th with a 1.55 GAA, Jakub Dobes is 7th with a 1.59 GAA and Guy Blessing is 20th with a 2.30 GAA.
  • When it comes to save percentage, it is Jakub Dobes leading the group with a 0.946 SV% good for 5th in the league. Cayden Bailey is 6th with a 0.944 SV%, Ludvig Persson is 10th with a 0.931 SV% and Guy Blessing is 16th with a 0.925 SV%.
  • Ludvig Persson and Jakub Dobes are tied for the league lead in wins with seven each and Cayden Bailey is tied for 10th with five.
  • Cayden Bailey, Ludvig Persson and Jakub Dobes share the league lead in shutouts with three apiece.
  • The Lone Star Brahmas have averaged 3.38 goals scored per game 8th best and have allowed the fewest goals against at just 1.63 per game. Topeka on the other hand are averaging 2.39 goals per game which is 19th in the NAHL and allowing 2.22 goals per game or 8th in the league.
  • Lone Star made a roster move this week sending Cooper Haar to the Aberdeen wing in exchange for forward Evan Googins (3G-2A). Googins who is 5’ 11” and 190 pounds is from Braintree, MA. The 20-year-old spent last season with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs scoring 20 points in 55 games played.

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