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'Cats Look to Stay Hot Against Lone Star

(Photo: Troy Young)

Game Notes: 10/3 vs. Lone Star Brahmas

The Matchup
This weekend sees Lone Star skate into the Kay Yeager Coliseum for the first set of eight regular-season meetings between the Brahmas and Wildcats in 2014-15. Wichita Falls claimed the season series with a 5-2-1 mark last year, outscoring Lone Star 33-16 in the process. Much of that edge in head-to-head scoring was due to the Wildcats’ success against Lone Star at the KYC, where they outscored the Brahmas 25-9 in four contests. Of all returning players, defenseman Jake Townsend’s eight points (two goals, six assists) were the most against Lone Star last year. In net, David Zevnik compiled a 4-1-1 mark, 1.74 goals against average and .918 save percentage in head-to-head competition with the Brahmas.

Looking at Lone Star
The Brahmas enter play this weekend standing at 2-3-0, and are looking to rebound from a 2-1 loss in their division opener. Lone Star traveled to Corpus Christi for one game last week, and despite posting a season-high 32 shots on goal, the Brahmas could not scratch out a win. Lone Star currently ranks last in total offense, with just 11 goals scored in five games played, but have been getting by with solid defense and goaltending. The Brahmas have allowed the fewest goals (14) of any team in the South Division, and Jake Kupsky has played well in net, posting a 2-0-0 record, 1.73 GAA and a .863 save percentage in September.

Recapping the Roadrunners
The Wildcats roll into this two-game set winners of four-straight contests, including a weekend-sweep of the Topeka Roadrunners their last time out. Wichita Falls handed previously-undefeated Topeka its first loss of the campaign with a 3-1 win on Friday, before finishing off the sweep with a comprehensive 5-1 triumph Saturday afternoon. Austin Beaulieu and Austin Shaw were the key players over the two games for the ‘Cats; Beaulieu (4-1-5) scored half of the eight Wildcats goals on the weekend, while Shaw turned aside 51 of 53 shots faced for his fourth-straight win.

Accolades for the Austins
Thanks to their strong play against the Roadrunners last weekend, Austin Beaulieu and Austin Shaw received recognition as the South Division’s Easton Divisional Stars of the Week for the for the week ending Sept. 28. Beaulieu earned Star of the Week honors after notching four goals and an assist in two games against Topeka, with two of his tallies standing as the game-winning goal. The first-year forward leads the Wildcats in points with a 5-3-8 line in seven games played. Shaw earned Second Star of the Week after he carried a shutout into the third period of each contest, and only allowed two goals on 53 shots faced. After finishing September as the league-leader in wins (4), goals against average (1.00) and save percentage (.966), Shaw was recently named the Easton Hockey Goaltender of the Month.

On the Plus-Side…
Wildcats defenseman Matt Koch has enjoyed a strong start to his second year in Wichita Falls. The Air Force-commit is currently in third on the team in points (2-4-6) after notching his first two career goals at the Showcase in Blaine, Minn. last month, but the veteran blue-liner has been strong on the defensive side of the puck as well. Koch currently leads all league skaters in plus-minus with a plus-9 mark, and has helped solidify a Wildcats defense that has not allowed more than two goals in any of their last four contests.

Upcoming Promotions
This Saturday, Oct. 4, the Wildcats will host First Responders Appreciation Night presented by Whataburger. All police, firefighters and emergency medical personnel will receive free admission, with family members able to take advantage of $5 admission. This weekend is also the Wildcats Pride Booster Club annual pumpkin auction. Pumpkins decorated by the players and coaches will be on display throughout the weekend, and will be up for auction during Saturday’s game.

Following this weekend’s action, the Wildcats will return to the KYC on Friday, Oct. 17 to face the Odessa Jackalopes on Magnet Schedule Night. The first 2,500 fans in attendance will receive a magnetic 2014-15 schedule courtesy of Darrel and Carol Walker – State Farm.