(Photo: Troy Young)
WICHITA FALLS, Texas – For the second straight night, the Wichita Falls Wildcats (9-2-3) and Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (7-3-4) needed a shootout to determine a winner.
Rudy Junda and Josh Haverstrom scored for the Wildcats in a late-game flurry to help Wichita Falls force overtime, but in the end it was the Killer Bees who claimed the win on Wednesday, 3-2.
The Killer Bees opened the scoring on Tyler Bruneteau’s fifth goal of the season at 12:07 of the first period. A simple dump-in took an odd bounce off a glass support and caromed back in front for Bruneteau to put in the net.
The Wildcats looked to respond in the second period and had a couple of opportunities to do so. First, Max Reisinger whistled a shot wide of the cage as he tried to clean up a rebound in front. Then, Jordan Jancze had a shorthanded breakaway, but he was denied by the left pad of Olli Kalkaja.
The Killer Bees doubled their advantage early in the third period when a loose puck was jammed home after it looked like Chase Munroe had covered it.
But the Wildcats fought back and managed to force overtime thanks to two goals in the last 3:16 of the third period. First, Junda swiveled a weak shot towards the net from the top of the crease that just trickled over the line inside the right post. Then, less than two minutes later, Haverstrom rushed through the entire Killer Bees defense and deposited the puck into the top corner to tie the game at two.
With neither team able to find a winner in the extra session, the contest headed to a shootout. Aleksi Luhtalampi and Anthony Croston scored for Rio Grande Valley, and Kalkaja stoned every Wildcat shooter to seal the win for the Killer Bees.
The Wildcats are next in action on Oct. 25 when they hit the road to take on the Corpus Christi IceRays. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at the American Bank Center.
Rio Grande Valley – Tyler Bruneteau (unassisted) 12:07
Rio Grande Valley – Tyler Bruneteau (power play) (Ian Janco) 2:15
Wichita Falls – Rudy Junda (unassisted) 16:44
Wichita Falls – Josh Haverstrom (Tyler Ledford) 18:26
Rio Grande Valley