Friday, 03.17.2017 / 10:40 pm CT
By Alex von Keudell / Photo: Rebekah Bing
Heading to NYTEX Sports Centre to take on the first-place Lone Star Brahmas on Saint Patrick’s Day, the Wildcats rallied to force overtime but fell 3-2 in sudden death.
The Brahmas dominated play in the opening twenty minutes, completely controlling the flow of the game in the neutral zone. It only took the home side 4:08 to crack the Wildcats’ defense.
After cycling the puck along the boards for an extended shift, Lone Star’s Drake Glover skated from the right boards into the slot and fired the puck past Jared Dempsey to open the scoring on just the Brahmas’ second shot on goal.
After being outshot in the opening period 11-5, the Cats responded with a much better effort in the second. They outshot the Brahmas 8-6 in the middle period, and were finally rewarded for their persistence at the 39:10 mark of the game.
Nick Rosa snapped a 21-straight power play scoreless drought. Aleksi Poikola cycled the puck up to Jonathan Waring at the top of the right circle, and the defenseman fed Rosa at the left side of the Lone Star net. Rosa tucked home his seventh goal of the season to level the score late in period two.
A relatively clean game which had not yielded many power plays rapidly changed course in the third period. A questionable penalty called against CJ Walker came back to haunt the Cats, who conceded a power play goal to Carson Kelley.
Late in regulation, the Cats pulled Dempsey for a sixth attacker. On the ensuing faceoff, Rosa fed the puck back to Waring in the deep slot. Waring ripped a hard wrist shot which was blocked and changed direction, caroming right to Rosa. The Wildcats Captain buried his second goal of the night with 1:11 remaining in regulation to tie the game and force overtime.
Just 54 seconds into the 3-on-3 sudden death, Kelley received a stretch pass by John Zimmerman in the neutral zone. On a partial breakaway, Kelley dipped his shoulder, put the puck on his backhand and roofed it inside of the right post to beat Dempsey for his second goal of the game.
Dempsey went 21 of 24 in his second overtime loss of the season, while Max Prawdzik stopped 16 of 18 for the Brahmas. The Wildcats and Brahmas will close out their season series tomorrow night at NYTEX Sports Centre. Puck drops at 7:30 pm CT.