Saturday, 03.18.2017 / 10:24 pm CT
By Alex von Keudell / Photo: Rebekah Bing
Playing against the Lone Star Brahmas for the last time of the regular season, the Wildcats only managed to crack the Brahmas’ defense once as they fell 4-1 to first-place Lone Star.
An even more dominant first period was in store for the Brahmas on Saturday night. Friday, they outshot the Cats 11-5 in the opening frame. Saturday, shots would favor them 12-4 and the score line would be the same.
A long stretch pass by Frank Trazzera from the Lone Star zone sprung the Brahmas leading goal-scorer Pete Kessel on a partial breakaway shortly after he exited the penalty box. Despite Roman Kinal’s best efforts to stymie the sniper’s advances, Kessel buried a heavy wrist shot glove-side on Jared Dempsey to give the Brahmas a 1-0 lead 5:32 into the game.
Lone Star nearly converted again on their first power play of the game just moments later. Several critical saves were made by Dempsey to keep the Cats within a goal, particularly with his pads on deflections.
The Wildcats’ best chance of the opening period came after Simon Loof turned the puck over in his own zone right to Jeff Skinner. The crafty winger was unable to beat Alec Calvaruso from the slot, and the Brahmas net-minder pitched a four-save shutout in the opening frame.
Another strong response from the Wildcats transpired in the second period, as they finally cracked a stingy Brahmas defense. At 24:41, immediately after killing a penalty, Aleksi Poikola and Isaac Kobienia stormed the Lone Star zone. Poikola banked a pass off the side of the net, angling the puck perfectly onto Kobienia’s tape. From the left circle, Kobienia snapped a shot low on the blocker side of Calvaruso to level the score 1-1.
Halfway through the middle period, however, the Brahmas would respond. David Marabella motored down the ice on a 2-on-1 rush with Trazzera on the far side. Marabella perfectly picked the top right corner of the net over Dempsey’s glove to regain the Brahmas’ lead.
The Brahmas contained the Cats in the closing period, and added two goals for good measure. Troy York and Austin O’Rourke each potted shots past Dempsey, who was then pulled and replaced by Evan Moyse following the fourth Lone Star goal. He made two huge late saves, but the Cats could not rally from behind as they had on Friday night.
Dempsey was charged with his 8th defeat of the season, going 24/28 in the Wildcats net. Calvaruso earned the Second Star of the Game, making 19 of 20 saves for the Brahmas. The Wildcats host the Shreveport Mudbugs on Friday, March 24th to kick off their final home series of the regular season. Puck drops at 7:05 pm CT at the Kay Yeager Coliseum.