(Photo: Troy Young)
Last weekend, the Wildcats played two games against the Lone Star Brahmas that could not have been more dissimilar. On Friday, Wichita Falls unleashed an offensive onslaught on the Brahmas, posting a 9-1 victory that saw 14 different players record points. The red-and-black could not replicate that output the next night however, as they fell to Lone Star, 2-1, in North Richland Hills. After the weekend split with Lone Star, the Wildcats sit in third place in the North American Hockey League’s South Division, eight points behind first-place Amarillo and three points ahead of fourth-place Topeka.
Kenai River Recon
The Kenai River Brown Bears head into this weekend with a record of 12-7-0 and sit in a tie for second place in the NAHL’s Midwest Division. Kenai River has hit a bump in the road over the last two weeks, losing four-straight games after winning 12 of 13 from Sept. 18 to Oct. 27. Alec Butcher, the league’s third-leading scorer, currently leads the Brown Bears in goals (10), assists (13), total points (23) and plus-minus (plus-13). Zach Quinn has tended the Kenai River net in 14 of 19 games, compiling a 9-5-0 record with a 2.30 goals against average and a save percentage of .918. The Brown Bears won the season series against the Wildcats last season, winning both games in Alaska before splitting the two-game set in Wichita Falls later in the year.
Last Friday’s 9-1 bashing of the Lone Star Brahmas provided a plethora of offensive notes. The Wildcats posted season-highs in goals (9), assists (15) and total points (24) in the contest, while 14 different players found their way onto the scoresheet, also a season-high. Seven skaters racked up multiple points on the night, highlighted by Will Vosejpka and Kyle Bauman both potting a pair of goals. Ben Kucera tallied four assists in the contest, making him the first Wildcats skater to record four assists in a game since Tyler Ledford complete the feat on Nov. 21, 2012. Nick Farmer also had a strong night, notching a goal and two assists for his first points since missing four games due to an upper-body injury.
Last weekend saw multiple Wildcats players record notable firsts. Playing in his first game in Friday’s contest, Kirk Van Arkel scored his first goal as a member of the Wildcats, and his first NAHL goal since Sept. 21, 2012 with Kenai River. Also on Friday, Ben Kucera posted four assists, marking the first four-point effort of his career. Saturday saw another Wildcat notch their first goal in a Wichita Falls sweater, as Evan Okeley scored his first-career NAHL goal in his 14th game of the season.
For the second season in a row, the Wildcats will head to Alaska for a two-week road trip. While there, the red-and-black will tackle the Kenai River Brown Bears on Nov. 15 and 16 before going Fairbanks to take on the Ice Dogs on Nov. 22 and 23. Last year, the Wildcats went 1-3 in their four-game swing into the Last Frontier, losing both contests to Kenai River before rebounding to earn a split against Fairbanks.
Programming Note: Please note that there will not be away audio on FASTHockey for this weekend's game. Be sure to select the "Home" feed when watching the game, and follow @WFWildcats on Twitter for in-game updates.