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Welcome Back Mr. Purcell

Brahmas Photo courtesy of David Dudich: Brahmas forward Zach Purcell returned to the ice Friday after missing nearly three months to a lower body injury. Purcell picked up right where he left off scoring the game winner in the Brahmas 3-2 win over the New Mexico Ice Wolves.

 

The Lone Star Brahmas welcomed the New Mexico Ice Wolves into the Shoebox Friday night looking to turn around a recent skid after losing back to back games to Wichita Falls. Lone Star’s offense picked up a bit of a shot in the arm with Zach Purcell returning to the ice for the first time since suffering a lower body injury November 25th. Prucell’s return reunited one of the most dynamic scoring lines in the NAHL with Andrew DeCarlo centering the line with Purcell and Nicholas Niemo.

The game started with a lot of end to end action but few scoring chances. The  closest either team came to a goal came at the 14 minute mark of the first. With the Brahmas skating on the power play, DeCarlo lost an edge exiting the zone. Dillan Bentley grabbed the loose puck and drove the net looking for the shorthanded opportunity. Guy Blessing stood his ground and flashed out the left pad to kick the puck to the corner.

Luke Johnson put the Brahmas on the board 6:16 into the second. Blake Benson carried into the zone then sent it across to Joey Baez. Baez used a big toe drag to clear Jeff Hutchinson before ripping one just over the crossbar. The puck jumped back out front for Johnson to pound past Owen Parker. Lone Star made it 2-0 just 83 seconds later after Quinn Emerson sent Alex Konovalov deep down the far wing. Konovalov chased it down, spun and pushed it back out to Dawson Tritt trailing for a quick wrister over the left shoulder of Parker.

Keegan Langefels tried to cut the lead in half with about seven minutes left getting to the high slot all alone. He took a pass and rifled it on net, but Blessing made a big glove save.

At 18:03 it was a 71 on 71 tussle as Dylan Smith and Joseph Prouty discarded the mitts in front of the Brahmas bench. The two went at it for a 25 second before the linesmen stepped in to break it up. Smith had the advantage early on with Prouty coming back late for a draw.

At 13:43 of the third the teams lined up for a faceoff in the Brahmas’ offensive zone. DeCarlo pulled the draw back to Niemo who found Purcell cruising toward the net. Purcell took the pass across the goal mouth and lifted a backhander over the right pad to push the lead to three with the eventual game winner.

The shutout went out the window with 2:37 left to play. Hutchinson pushed the play up to Bentley along the far side. He skated to the rightwing circle and sent one on net. Blessing made the right pad save but the rebound went right to Spencer Rudrud who put it in the twine before Blessing could make it across the crease. Just 51 seconds later it was a tight one goal game. With the New Mexico net empty and an extra attacker, Rudrud sent a puck from the near corner to Langefels in the slot for a onetimer past the glove hand of Blessing.

Shots on goal were 30-26 in favor of the Brahmas. Both teams were scoreless on the power play with Lone Star going 0-3 and New Mexico 0-1.

Boxscore

 

Elsewhere Around the NAHL South

Only game scheduled

 

Current NAHL South Standings

Team GP W L OTL SOL PTS
Shreveport Mudbugs 30 20 6 2 2 44
Lone Star Brahmas 32 21 10 1 0 43
Amarillo Bulls 27 16 7 2 2 36
Wichita Falls Warriors 25 13 8 1 3 30
Odessa Jackalopes 28 8 16 2 2 20
New Mexico Ice Wolves 28 7 19 1 1 16

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