Thursday, 12.03.2015 / 9:30 pm CT
By Alex von Keudell
The Wichita Falls Wildcats braced themselves for a hungry and frustrated Lone Star Brahmas team on Thursday night and defeated them 4-1 to earn their seventh straight win.
The last time these teams had met, the Wildcats shut the Brahmas out at the Nytex Sports Centre, which was the first time Lone Star had that happen to them since February of 2014. With this in mind, they did not respond against the Wildcats with the level of intensity they were expected to. In fact, the Cats came out of the gates flying and jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first period.
Noah Gilreath banked the puck off the end boards, where it ricocheted off the skate of the Brahmas’ goaltender Conor O’Brien and into the net. The goal would be Gilreath’s first as a Wildcat and his tenth point on the season. About a minute later, Rourke Russell fired a long-range wrist shot on goal. O’Brien didn’t see the puck until the last moment, so he made a bit of an awkward save. Austin Beaulieu scooped up the rebound and buried it past O’Brien to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.
Justin Kapelmaster stopped all 18 shots fired his way through the first two period. On the Wildcats’ third penalty of the night, Adam Goodsir hauled the puck down the right wing and backhanded a heavy shot between O’Brien’s blocker and right pad. The shorthanded tally would be Goodsir’s 15th goal on the year and the team’s fourth shorthanded goal. Having conceded three goals on 16 shots, Lone Star Head Coach Dan Wildfong had run out of patience with O’Brien, and pulled him in exchange for Corbin Kaczperski.
The third frame would be the slowest of the three periods by a long shot. Only seven total shots were taken, two of which were goals. The first was a point-blank shot by Lone Star’s Defenseman of the Month for November, Cameron Clarke, who scored a controversial goal as the net had been knocked off its moorings beforehand.
With the Wildcats’ lead within striking distance and 7:21 remaining in the game, the Brahmas could sense a comeback. However, Kapelmaster shut the door for the remainder of the game and stymied the Lone Star attack. Austin Albrecht would net an empty-net goal in the last minute to seal the deal for the Wildcats.
Kapelmaster earned the First Star of the Game with 22 saves on 23 shots, while O’Brien made 13 stops on 16 shots in his first regulation loss of the season. The Wildcats meet the Brahmas again on Friday, December 11th at the Nytex Sports Centre.
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