Saturday, 12.17.2016 / 10:52 pm CT
By Alex von Keudell / Photo: Meagan Sullivan
A penalty-filled game on Saturday ended in a shootout, with the Lone Star Brahmas edging the Wildcats by a 4-3 score.
Adamant to avoid being swept for the first time of the season, the Cats dominated the first period of play. Though they put the Brahmas on their heels in the early going, it was the home side who tallied first.
Following a brief surge of attack in the Wichita Falls zone, a long wrist shot from the left point hit traffic in front of Jared Dempsey, who did not spot the puck until it was too late. It deflected slowly through the blue paint, where Frank Trazzera smashed it into the net to give Lone Star a 1-0 lead just 3:49 into the contest.
Gaining a rare 2-on-1 rush a few minutes later, the Wildcats took advantage of their opportunity. Ricky Carballo slap-passed the puck into the slot onto the tape of Jonathan Bendorf, who backhanded a shot through Erik Gordon’s five-hole to tie the game.
Less than four minutes later, Ilya Skvortsov carried the puck across the Lone Star blue line with speed and rifled a heavy wrist shot into the top corner to beat Gordon over the blocker. The Brahmas’ goaltender was pulled from the game in favor of Alec Calvaruso after conceding two goals on four shots.
The middle twenty minutes were chock-full of power plays, but no scoring took place. A five minute major called against CJ Regula for head contact gave the Brahmas a long power play, but Dempsey and the Cats shut the door. The Wildcats would go on to kill penalties against Skvortsov, CJ Walker, and Kevin Fees and entered the second intermission leading 2-1.
To start period three, the Brahmas did exactly what they sought to do. In just two minutes, Pete Kessel and Aidan Spellacy scored to regain the Lone Star lead. The Wildcats were swimming upriver for much of the third period, trying to tie the game while killing off four penalties. Three of those four were against Skvortsov.
Halfway through the period, Ryan Orgel blasted a shot from 100 feet out on a penalty kill. It ricocheted off Calvaruso’s blocker and bounced into the net to oddly tie the game up for the Wildcats. Kessel nearly ended the game with 10 seconds to go in regulation time, but missed the net on a penalty shot.
For the first time all season, the Wildcats went to a shootout. Austin Kamer was the lone shooter to score, and the Brahmas became the first team all season to sweep the Cats.
Dempsey was given his first overtime defeat of the season, stopping 44 of 47 Brahmas shots. Calvaruso denied 17 of 18 for the second straight night, as he earned his 12th victory. The Wildcats will play the Topeka RoadRunners on Friday, December 30th at the Kansas ExpoCentre.