(Photo: Troy Young)
WICHITA FALLS, Texas – Nick Farmer scored in overtime, and Austin Beaulieu notched a goal and an assist to help the Wichita Falls Wildcats claim a 3-2, overtime victory over the Lone Star Brahmas at the Kay Yeager Coliseum on Friday night.
Erich Jaeger scored his first-career goal in the contest, and Tommy Apap and Colin Staub each registered a pair of assists to help the ‘Cats claim their fifth-straight win. Jake Townsend and Shane Kuzmeski also tallied helpers in the game, while Austin Shaw made 15 saves for his fifth win of the year.
A cagey first period saw both teams spend most of their time trying to work the puck through the neutral zone, and it seemed the teams would head into the break scoreless before the Brahmas converted on a half-chance.
Roman Uchyn knocked an outlet pass out of mid-air, and skated towards the goal line, before playing a drop pass to Sebastian Vidmar, who blasted a one-time effort home to make it 1-0 at 17:30 of the period.
The Wildcats emerged from the locker room hungry to control the second period and did just that, outshooting the Brahmas 12-2 in the frame. They made that pressure pay roughly eight minutes in thanks to a strong effort to hold the zone on the forecheck.
Staub showed good strength to protect the puck behind the cage and feathered a pass in front for Apap. He shanked his shot, but it landed right on the tape of Beaulieu at the post, who stepped to the front of the net and stuffed a backhander under Jake Kupsky to tie the contest 1-1. The tally was Beaulieu’s team-leading sixth of the year, and fifth in the last three games.
The start of the third period presented Wichita Falls with a great opportunity to take the lead after Caleb Thompson was called for a five-minute major for checking from behind, but the Wildcats came up empty on the lengthy man advantage.
Lone Star rallied behind that strong penalty kill, and took the lead on a power play goal of its own, as Hayden Hanson snuck an effort from the point through traffic to make it 2-1.
The ‘Cats clawed back instantly however thanks to Jaeger’s first-career tally. In almost a carbon-copy of the Brahmas’ goal, Jaeger received a pass from Beaulieu at the blue line and wristed it towards the cage and past a screened Kupsky to tie it, 2-2.
Despite outshooting Lone Star 17-5 in the final frame, Wichita Falls failed to notch a decisive goal, so the contest headed to overtime.
In the extra session, the ‘Cats continued to control the game, and would eventually find a winner at the 2:08 mark thanks to a great rush by Farmer.
After Townsend feathered a pass to Farmer on the left-wing wall, the forward pulled up slightly to draw the defenseman towards him, then turned on the jets and blew past him at the faceoff dot. While cutting towards the net, Farmer quickly shifted from backhand to forehand and stuffed the puck home past Kupsky to give Wichita Falls the 3-2 win.
With the win, the ‘Cats have now won five games in a row. The game also marked the second overtime victory of the year for Wichita Falls.
The Wildcats and Brahmas will complete their weekend set on Saturday at the KYC, with puck drop schedule for 7:05 p.m. Saturday is First Responders Appreciation Night presented by Whataburger, with all firefighters, police and EMTs receiving free admission. Fans that cannot make it to the KYC can catch all the action on FASTHockey.com.
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).
Lone Star – Sebastian Vidmar (Roman Uchyn) 17:30
Wichita Falls – Austin Beaulieu (Tommy Apap, Colin Staub) 7:40
Lone Star – Hayden Hanson (power play) (Roman Uchyn, Sebastian Vidmar) 6:22
Wichita Falls – Erich Jaeger (Austin Beaulieu, Tommy Apap) 6:51
Wichita Falls – Nick Farmer (Jake Townsend, Shane Kuzmeski) 2:08