Saturday, 04.15.2017 / 10:32 pm CT
By Alex von Keudell / Photo: Rebekah Bing
Hoping to split the weekend against the Lone Star Brahmas, the Wildcats never recovered after an untidy first period and dropped Game 2 by a 7-3 final in North Richland Hills.
The Cats did not have the same jump in their step they did to start Game 1. Lone Star, by comparison, were on full throttle and punished the Cats three times in the opening 20 minutes.
Just six minutes into the contest, Julian Biondo corralled the puck following a clean faceoff win in the Wichita Falls zone. From the left circle, he slung a shot low-glove side on Jared Dempsey to give the Brahmas an early 1-0 lead.
An aggressive forecheck at 16:43 caused Seamus Donohue to concede possession of the puck behind his own net. It rolled up the slot, where Pete Kessel was looming after having just hopped off the bench. The Brahmas’ top sniper one-timed a shot past Dempsey to double Lone Star’s lead. Just a minute later, Drake Glover rifled a shot over Dempsey on a power play to give the home side a 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Carson Kelley would score a textbook playoff goal at 26:42. He won an offensive zone faceoff, battled along the half boards, chipped the puck back to the point for a shot, and he pounced on a rebound to bury his first goal of the postseason.
Just 22 seconds later, CJ Walker would respond. After getting a breakout pass by Ricky Carballo, Walker skated down the right wing and fired a wrist shot from the right circle. Max Prawdzik, who’d been having a stellar weekend, fanned on the shot with his glove. The Wildcats’ youngest player, Walker scored the team’s first goal of the 2017 playoffs a week before his 18th birthday. However, the Cats still trailed by three at the end of the second period.
A roller coaster of a third period was underway to close out the night. Jonathan Waring kicked things off on a high note with a heavy snap shot from the mid-slot to bring the Cats to within two. However, they failed to build off of Waring’s tally and conceded the next goal. Austin O’Rourke scored a goal on a fluky deflection after another offensive zone Brahmas faceoff victory.
Following the goal, Biondo was given an unsportsmanlike penalty, which the Cats used to their advantage to score a power play goal. Waring fired home his second goal of the night on a one-timer from the top of the left circle. Waring’s power play blast would mark the last time the Wildcats would score.
An untimely penalty called against Isaac Kobienia gave the Brahmas another chance on a power play, and Austin Kamer sealed the deal with a goal on the man advantage. Aidan Spellacy added an empty-net goal to give the Brahmas a 7-3 win.
Game 2 was not as friendly to the goaltenders, as Dempsey denied 26 of 32 Brahmas shots while Prawdzik stopped 14 of 17. The Wildcats will host the Brahmas next Friday night, April 21st at Kay Yeager Coliseum for a decisive Game 3. The Cats must win to avoid elimination. For tickets, contact the KYC box office at (940) 716-5555.