(Photo: Troy Young)
TICKETS: Single-game tickets for the 2014-15 Wildcats season are on sale now at the Kay Yeager Coliseum Box Office, and can be purchased by calling (940) 716-5555. Take advantage of 4-for-$24 tickets tonight, good on any seat in the arena.
Wednesday’s tilt marks the sixth matchup of the season between the Wildcats and Brahmas, and is the final regular-season meeting between the two teams at the Kay Yeager Coliseum. These two teams recently played three games in six days against one another, with Wichita Falls earning wins in two of those contests, including a weekend split at the NYTEX Centre and a 4-3 shootout win for the ‘Cats on Feb. 4 at the KYC. Overall, the red-and-black are 3-2-0 against Lone Star this season, and are 2-1-0 against the Brahmas on home ice, with forward Austin Beaulieu (4-2-6) and defenseman Jake Townsend (2-3-5) pacing the ‘Cats attack in their five meetings. Dating back to last year, Wichita Falls owns an 8-5-1 all-time record against its North Texas neighbors, and is 5-2-0 against Lone Star at the KYC. Following Wednesday’s matchup, the Wildcats and Brahmas will next meet for a two-game set in North Richland Hills on the final weekend of the regular season on March 27 and 28.
Lone Star Look-In
The Brahmas enter Wednesday’s matchup sitting in second place in the South Division with 65 points and a record of 29-10-7. Lone Star is fresh off a three-game series against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees that saw the Brahmas lose the first two games in a shootout, before rebounding for a 2-1 win in overtime on Saturday to maintain a three-point lead over the Wildcats in the division standings. Lone Star finds itself at the tail-end of a six-game road trip, and while the Brahmas have been dominant at home in 2014-15, they have struggled to replicate that form away from the NYTEX Centre. Lone Star is 8-8-6 on the road compared to a 21-2-1 mark at home, with much of that due to the disparity in scoring. Entering Wednesday’s contest, the Brahmas were averaging 2.64 goals per game on the road, as opposed to the 4.25 goals per game they post at home. Despite that discrepancy, they still boast one of the league’s top offenses thanks largely to the efforts of an all-Swedish first line that features the league’s leading goal-scorer, Sebastian Vidmar (25-38-63), along with Ludvig Larsson (17-25-42) and Oskar Andren (15-19-34). In net, TJ Black has the edge in minutes played for Lone Star, with a 17-6-4 record and 2.02 goals against average to go along with a .914 save percentage, although he has split time evenly with Jake Kupsky over the past six games. Kupsky owns a 12-4-3 mark, 2.21 GAA and .909 save percentage in 22 games played this season.
Following their mid-week bash with the Brahmas, the Wildcats will continue their battle with the cattle when they saddle up for a two-game trip to Amarillo to take on the Bulls on Friday and Saturday. These two teams locked horn four times in the span of seven days around the New Year, with the red-and-black coming away with wins in three of those contests. Wichita Falls is 7-1-0 against their rivals from the Texas Panhandle and is 3-1-0 at the Amarillo Civic Center this season thanks in large part to the efforts of Nick Farmer, who has 13 points (seven goals, six assists) against Amarillo, and Kevin Charyszyn, who has recorded 10 points on six goals and four assists. Colin Staub (3-6-9) and Jake Townsend (4-5-9) have also posted solid numbers against the Bulls, with Max Reisinger chipping in seven points on six goals and an assist as well. Amarillo has been a troublesome opponent for the red-and-black historically speaking; Wichita Falls is 15-25-1 all-time against the Bulls, and is 7-13-1 at the Amarillo Civic Center dating back to 2010.
Last Saturday’s 5-2 win over the Odessa Jackalopes saw Jake Townsend etch his name into another column in the Wildcats history book. When the defenseman tapped home a loose puck in the second period to notch his 11th goal of the season, he equaled the franchise record for most goals in a single-season by a Wildcats defenseman, tying the mark set by Sam Piazza in 2013-14. Townsend currently holds the franchise records for most career goals by a defenseman (22), most career points by a defenseman (67), most career power-play goals by a defenseman (5), and most games played in a career by a defenseman (153).
After rounding out their short four-game home-stand on Wednesday against the Lone Star Brahmas, the Wildcats will close the 2014-15 regular season with 12 of their final 15 games on the road. That stretch includes seven-straight away from the KYC to close the regular season, plus the completion of the game from Dec. 13 against the Killer Bees that was suspended due to unsafe ice conditions. Wichita Falls is not the only team in the South Division to finish the year with a road-heavy slate; the Topeka RoadRunners will close the year with 12 of their last 16 on the road, while the Lone Star Brahmas close the campaign by playing 11 of their final 17 games away from the NYTEX Centre.
This week’s alumni update begins with an update on Zach Pochiro (2011-12), the only Wildcat alumnus currently playing major junior hockey in Canada. A draft pick of the St. Louis Blues in 2013, Pochiro has been red-hot of late, posting four goals and three assists in five games played for the Prince George Cougars (Western Hockey League) last week. He now has 13 goals and 12 assists for 25 points in 30 games for Prince George after starting the season with the Alaska Aces of the ECHL.
At the collegiate level, a trio of freshmen headlined the performances of Wildcats alumni last weekend, led by Dennis Kravchenko of the Massachusetts Minutemen. Kravchenko (2011-12) was a bright spot in a down weekend for the Minutemen, posting three assists in two games to extend his point streak to seven games (4-6-10 in that span). Elsewhere last weekend, Tyler Ledford (2012-14) and Ben Kucera (2012-14) turned in solid efforts for the Air Force Academy Falcons. Ledford had an assist in both games of the Falcons’ sweep of American International College to run his point-streak to a season-best five games (0-6-6), while Kucera notched the first multi-point game of his collegiate career with a goal and an assist on Feb. 13.
Season Ticket Sales Open
Season tickets for the 2015-16 season are now on sale, allowing fans to guarantee their seats for every game of the new campaign. In addition to lowering prices on nearly all seats in the Club (formerly, ‘Lower’) and Reserved (formerly, ‘Upper’) levels, the 2015-16 season will also see the Wildcats offer two new categories of seating. Fans may now get an “up-close-and-personal” look at the action on the ice with seats near the glass in the new “Premium” sections. Alternatively, fans who prefer watching the game from a higher vantage point may now reserve seats in the new, season-ticket only, “Roar Zone” located in Sec. 21. Season tickets can be reserved for as little as $75 per seat. However, fans who provide full payment for their season tickets by Feb. 28 will receive additional savings of $42 per seat. Full pricing information can be found by visiting www.wfwildcatshockey.com, or by calling the Wildcats office at (940) 716-5587.
– Fans may take advantage of a 4-for-$24 ticket special good for any seats in the arena when the ‘Cats host the Lone Star Brahmas on Feb. 18. Simply contact the KYC Box Office at (940) 716-5555 for tickets.
– When the Wildcats return to the KYC at the beginning of March, fans should mark their calendars for a weekend of auctions. March 6 will see the Wildcats Pride Booster Club hold their annual player poster auction, while the Wildcats will be auctioning off game-worn, player jerseys on March 7.
– Additionally, fans should mark their calendars for the annual Fan Appreciation Night on Wednesday, March 11, when all single-game tickets will be available free of charge.