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Brahmas Battle Back To Sweep Jackalopes

Brahmas Photo courtesy of Candice Bryan: Dylan Smith had 2G-1A to pace the Brahmas offensive attack in their come from behind win over the Odessa Jackalopes Saturday then completed the Gordie Howe Hat Trick with a second period tilt. Lone Star came from behind to take a 6-4 win and sweep the visiting Jackalopes.

The Lone Star Brahmas took to the ice against the Odessa Jackalopes looking to avoid a repeat of last weekend against the Amarillo Bulls. Lone Star had dominated the Jackalopes to open their two game series on Friday night just as they had against the Bulls one week earlier. However, Amarillo came roaring back the next night to down the Brahmas 6-4. Another Saturday collapse would throw water on the Brahmas quest to overtake Shreveport in the South Division standings.

It was Odessa who jumped out to an early lead at 5:45 of the first with a power play goal. Conner Couet barely kept in a clearing attempt at the far point. He skated it to the middle and fired one on net about waist high. Dayne Hoyord got a stick on it to deflect it down onto the ice and past Graham Burke.

The Brahmas got it back to even at 10:17 with Matt MacDonald picking up a loose puck deep in the Brahmas zone and finding Dylan Smith in front of the Lone Star Bench. Smith headed up ice with Blake Benson to his left. As they crossed the blueline Smith cut behind Benson to the high slot and shot it back across the grain off of the glove of Noah Rupprecht into the twine. Hard work by Smith gave Lone Star the lead at 13:55. Andrew DeCarlo had pulled the puck out of the corner to MacDonald in front for a quick wrister that Rupprecht kicked aside. Smith battled his way through two Odessa defenders to slap the puck past the left skate and a 2-1 Brahmas’ lead. With 2:19 left in the opening frame Brady Smith got past the defense along the near boards and started behind the Jackalopes’ cage where he dropped it for Joey Baez. Baez sent one from a tough angle off the side of the net to the endboards. Dawson Tritt grabbed it skating out front with Couet harassing him all the way. Once he hit the hashmarks Tritt rifled a wrister glove side into the net.

Early in the second the teams lined up for a faceoff to Burkes right. Charles-Edward Tardif pulled it back to Jimmy Rayhill who fired it through traffic. The puck went off of defenseman Alex Murrray pinballing past Burke at the 2:47 mark. Then at 5:18 we had a whole new ballgame after Stephen Perez hit Mike Manzo with a breakout pass. Manzo carried it into the zone and left it for Joey Musa. Musa fired one on net that went off the body of DeCarlo and fell right at his feet. Musa jumped on the puck and fired it over the right pad at 5:18.

With 4:32 left in the second Dylan Smith and Gabe Bennett came together in the near corner of the Odessa zone. They traded two handed slashes then dropped the gloves. Bennett sandwiched two rights around a right from Smith early. Smith lost his footing and went to a knee bouncing right back to his feet and unleashing a flurry of three quick rights that landed squarely sending Bennett to the ice. The Jackalopes forward did land one more while the two combatants were on the ice before the linesmen could come in.

Rupprecht made a highlight reel save at about the 17:45 mark to keep it a tie game after DeCarlo got loose in front and fired one on net. Nicholas Niemo quickly put the rebound back on net, but Rupprecht somehow made it back across to the near post to stone the Brahmas’ leading scorer.

Odessa took the lead again in the third after Burke got caught behind Owen Nolan and Liam O’Hare battling for position in front of the crease. That left the net wide open for Nate Boak from the far circle with assists to Tardif and Aidan Cobb. Time of the goal was 9:13.

With 6:39 remaining in regulation Niemo checked Hoyord into the near halfwall freeing the puck for Zach Purcell coming off the bench. Purcell took about two strides and ripped one through Rupprecht that rolled across the goal line to knot the score at 4-4. At 17:32 there was a draw at the left circle in the Odessa zone. Tritt pushed the faceoff through the legs of Tyler German, stepped around the Jackalopes centerman and sent it to Baez just off the near post for a redirect into the open net. DeCarlo put the cherry on the Sundae at 19:45 taking a pass from Dylan Smith and sending it about 150 feet into the empty Odessa net.

The Brahmas held a slight advantage in shots on goal at 29-28. Both teams were 1-3 on the power play. With the sweep of Odessa, Lone Star pulled to within three points of first place Shreveport in the race for the South Division crown.



Elsewhere Around the NAHL South

Wichita Falls at Amarillo

After a scoreless first the Warriors erupted for three in the second from Dominick Rivelli, Ryan Robinson and Adisen Brueck. Hunter Jones added another in the third. Owen Bartoszkiewicz was in net for the shutout on 29 saves.

Shreveport at New Mexico

The Mudbugs took an early lead, but Alex Gomez pulled New Mexico even just over three minutes later. Joey Larson and Mack Motzko added goals in the first half of the second before Shreveport got one late in the frame. In the third Jackson Wille and Cole Hanson scored either side of a Mudbugs goal for the 5-3 final. Beni Halasz picked up the win facing 32 shots on goal.


Current NAHL South Standings

x – Shreveport Mudbugs 45 31 8 2 4 68
x – Lone Star Brahmas 47 32 14 1 0 65
x – Amarillo Bulls 46 25 14 3 4 57
Wichita Falls Warriors 45 24 14 1 6 55
New Mexico Ice Wolves 48 17 27 2 2 38
Odessa Jackalopes 47 10 32 2 3 25





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