(Photo: Troy Young)
WICHITA FALLS, Texas – Behind a three-goal third period, the Wichita Falls Wildcats topped the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, 4-2, to complete the weekend sweep and push their winning streak to a season-high seven games at the Kay Yeager Coliseum on Saturday night.
Jake Townsend had a goal and an assist to pace the ‘Cats attack, while Matt Koch picked up a pair of helpers in the win. Shane Kuzmeski, Evan Okeley and Nick Farmer also found twine in the contest for Wichita Falls, and Nikita Litviak , Tommy Apap, Erich Jaeger and Kevin Charszyn also registered helpers, while David Zevnik made 20 saves to earn his sixth win of the year.
The Wildcats outshot the Killer Bees in the first period, 11-6, but it was Rio Grande Valley who scored first, as Stathis Soumelidis scored with a backhand effort while shorthanded to make it 1-0.
Wichita Falls quickly leveled the contest in the second period thanks to some nifty work by Litviak created a chance.
The Russian forward picked up a loose puck between the blue lines, danced around a defenseman and sent a weak shot towards the net, hoping for a rebound. Ben Johansson obliged in the Killer Bees net, kicking the rebound right to the stick of an onrushing Okeley, who wired it past Johansson to make it 1-1 on his sixth goal of the campaign.
The score did not remain tied for long however, as shortly after that Zach Bennett managed to deflect Kevin Clare’s point effort through a mess of bodies to make it 2-1.
Wichita Falls came out of the break with a sense of urgency in the third, pinning the Killer Bees in their own zone for long stretches of the period.
The ‘Cats made that pressure pay seven minutes into the final frame, as Townsend sent a wrister through traffic and over the shoulder of Johansson to tie the game, 2-2, on his second marker of the season.
Four minutes later, the red-and-black had their first lead off the game. After a shot in transition from above the hashmarks was blocked, the loose disc sat in the slot before being knocked aside to the left circle. Kuzmeski skated down from the point, and with Johansson out of position, the defense stuck the puck into the cage to make it 3-2.
With time winding down, Farmer tacked on a power-play goal to complete the scoring at 4-2 after a clever passage of play between Jaeger and Koch opened space for Farmer in front. The goal stands as Farmer’s seventh of the year.
The Wildcats are next in action when they travel to Odessa to take on the Jackalopes Nov. 28 and 29 at the Ector County Coliseum. Fans can follow all the action on FASTHockey.com, with an audio-only broadcast available via YouTube.
Single-game tickets for the 2014-15 Wildcats season are on sale now at the Kay Yeager Coliseum box office. 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).
NOTES: The Wildcats have now won seven games in a row, their longest winning streak of the season…The Wildcats improved to 15-4-0 with the win, marking the fewest games needed to reach 15 wins in team history…With a goal tonight, Farmer now has five goals in his last four games…David Zevnik has earned a win in five-straight appearances…
Rio Grande Valley – Stathis Soumelidis (shorthanded) (unassisted) 16:44
Wichita Falls – Evan Okeley (Nikita Litviak, Matt Koch) 1:50
Rio Grande Valley – Zach Bennet (Kevin Clare) 2:41
Wichita Falls – Jake Townsend (Kevin Charyszyn) 7:03
Wichita Falls – Shane Kuzmeski (Tommy Apap, Jake Townsend) 11:27
Wichita Falls – Nick Farmer (power play) (Matt Koch, Erich Jaeger) 16:18