(Photo: Troy Young)
WICHITA FALLS, Texas – The Wichita Falls Wildcats (31-23-4) registered a season-high 55 shots on goal, and received goals from Evan Okeley, Tyler Ledford and Jake Townsend, but could not complete the comeback as they stumbled to a 4-3 defeat against the Lone Star Brahmas at the Kay Yeager Coliseum on Wednesday.
Ben Kucera registered a multi-point night for the Wildcats, while Sam Piazza, Matt Koch, Nick Farmer and Will Vosepka each notched an assist in the contest. Chase Munroe made 18 saves on 20 shots in relief on the night.
Lone Star opened the scoring just over two minutes into the game, taking advantage of an early power play opportunity to do so. The Wildcats gave Sebastian Vidmar too much time on the puck at the right-wing half-wall, allowing Vidmar to rifle a backdoor pass to Roman Uchyn, who buried the feed to make it 1-0.
The Brahmas doubled their lead at 9:32 of the frame, as Nick Blase snuck a snapshot from the blue line through a mess of traffic to make it 2-0.
The Wildcats cut the deficit in half in the second period, as Okeley managed to squeak a shot through the body of TJ Black for his fourth goal of the season. The tally, coming at 7:51 of the period, was assisted by Kucera and Koch.
Lone Star quickly answered back however, scoring twice in less than 40 seconds to take a 4-1 lead. First, Uchyn picked up his second of the night from the slot at 11:51 of the frame to make it 3-1. Moments later, Uchyn turned provider, as he teed up Vidmar for a one-timer from the slot to make it 4-1 right off a faceoff.
Wichita Falls cut into the deficit as the period wound to a close though. Piazza’s backdoor pass was touched back towards the front of the net by Kucera, where Ledford was waiting to poke it home for his ninth tally of the season.
The Wildcats poured on the pressure in the third period, and managed to pull within one at the 11:06 mark. With the red-and-black on a power play, Townsend took Will Vosejpka’s pass and skated to the middle of the blue line. Townsend then unleashed a blast from the point that beat Black to make the score 4-3.
Wichita Falls continued to press in search of an equalizer, and outshot Lone Star 24-2 in the third period, but Black and the Brahmas held on to claim the 4-3 victory.
The Wildcats are next in action this Friday and Saturday, when they conclude the regular season with two games against the Topeka Roadrunners. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at the KYC. Fans that cannot attend the game can follow all the action on FASTHockey.com, or by accessing an audio-only broadcast on UStream.com. Fans may also follow the Wildcats on Twitter (@WFWildcats) for in-game score updates.
NOTES: With his goal tonight, Tyler Ledford has set a new career-high in points with 37 (nine goals, 28 assists)…Jake Townsend’s goal is his eighth of the season, and first since Feb 1 against the Odessa Jackalopes…With two points, Ben Kucera has now reached 30 points for the season (11 goals, 19 assists), making him the sixth Wildcat to register 30 points this year.
Lone Star – Roman Uchyn (power play) (Sebastian Vidmar, Matt Lison) 2:15
Lone Star – Nick Blase (Roman Uchyn, Sebastian Vidmar) 9:32
Wichita Falls – Evan Okeley (Ben Kucera, Matt Koch) 7:51
Lone Star – Roman Uchyn (Ben Owen, Thomas Aldworth) 11:51
Lone Star – Sebastian Vidmar (Roman Uchyn) 12:30
Wichita Falls – Tyler Ledford (Ben Kucera, Sam Piazza) 17:01
Wichita Falls – Jake Townsend (power play) (Will Vosejpka, Nick Farmer) 11:06