(Photo: Cody Wooten)
HIDALGO, Texas – The Wichita Falls Wildcats (38-14-5) erased an early two-goal deficit for the second-straight night, but could not finish the job against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (24-24-10), losing in a shootout, 4-3, at State Farm Arena on Friday night.
Kevin Charysyzn had a goal and an assist for Wichita Falls, with Nick Farmer and Konstantin Chernyuk also finding the net. Matt Koch, Shane Kuzmeski and Evan Okeley picked up assists on the night, while David Zevnik made 23 saves in the losing effort.
Rio Grande Valley raced out to an early lead in the first period thanks to the efforts of Parker Wood, who scored twice in less than four minutes. Wood first scored on a wrap-around at 3:35 of the first before doubling his total at 7:19 of the frame when he punched home a loose puck to make it 2-0 after a shot rattled the post.
Wichita Falls fought back though, and cut into the deficit inside the last five minutes of the frame after a nice play by Kuzmeski to hold possession in the offensive zone.
The defenseman combined with Farmer to keep play alive, before moving towards the left face-off circle. Kuzmeski spun off a check and walked to the goal line, then centered for Charyszyn to tap home for his team-leading 25th of the season to make it 2-1 at 15:59 of the first.
The second period featured end-to-end play as the Bees and ‘Cats traded chances, but the only scoring in the frame came early in the stanza, and came from the stick of a Wildcats skater.
With the red-and-black shorthanded following a tripping minor to Austin Beaulieu, Koch collected the disc just inside his own zone. The defenseman played a quick pass up to Farmer at the offensive blue line, catching RGV changing and springing the ‘Cats on a two-on-none odd-man rush. Farmer skated into the zone, played it across to Charyszyn, who quickly returned it to Farmer to swat home to tie the contest. The goal, scored at 1:25 of the frame, marked Farmer’s 22nd of the season.
The Wildcats took a lead late in the third period when Chernyuk deked his way through everybody in the neutral zone, and walked in to the offensive zone before beating Ben Johansson upstairs, but the lead was short-lived.
Less than a minute later, Wood completed his hat-trick for the Bees, tucking home a loose puck from a blocked shot after Wichita Falls was unable to clear the zone, tying the score, 3-3.
Neither team could find a winner in overtime, so the contest head to a shootout. In the skills competition, Jake Townsend and Farmer scored for the ‘Cats, but the first three skaters scored for the Bees to give them the edge as Charyszyn stepped up. The winger’s effort was saved by Johansson, giving RGV the win, 4-3.
The Wildcats are next in action on Tuesday, Mar. 24 when they travel to Amarillo to take on the Bulls, with puck drop slated for 7:05 p.m. at the Amarillo Civic Center. Fans that cannot make it to the game may follow all the action on FASTHockey.com, with an audio-only broadcast provided via YouTube.
Stay updated on the latest team news and notes by connecting with the Wildcats on Facebook (WFWildcats), Twitter (@WFWildcats), Instagram (WFWildcats) and on YouTube (Wichita Falls Wildcats).
Rio Grande Valley – Parker Wood (Anthony Croston, Stathis Soumelidis) 3:35
Rio Grande Valley – Parker Wood (Stathis Soumelidis, Evan Bell) 7:19
Wichita Falls – Kevin Charyszyn (Shane Kuzmeski, Nick Farmer) 15:59
Wichita Falls – Nick Farmer (shorthanded) (Kevin Charyszyn, Matt Koch) 1:25
Wichita Falls – Konstantin Chernyuk (unassisted) 13:37
Rio Grande Valley – Parker Wood (Gavin Cummings, Stathis Soumelidis) 14:36
Rio Grande Valley