SCHEDULING NOTE: Please note that Saturday's game (Jan. 23) has been changed to a 5 p.m. start time to accomodate the Jersey Off Our Back auction following the game.
TICKETS: 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).
The Wildcats and Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees meet for their final regular-season meetings at the Kay Yegaer Coliseum this Friday and Saturday. Wichita Falls has performed well against RGV this year, posting a 3-0-0 record against the Bees. The ‘Cats swept Rio Grande Valley at the KYC in November, using a late penalty-shot goal by Nick Farmer to claim a 4-3 win on Nov. 21, before rallying to a 4-2 win the next night behind third-period goals from Jake Townsend, Shane Kuzmeski and Farmer. Following that sweep, the red-and-black traveled to Rio Grande Valley in December and earned a 3-1 win in game one of the weekend set on Dec. 12; the Wildcats appeared to be on track for another sweep of the Bees after taking a 3-0 lead in the closing stages of the second period the next day, but ice issues prevented the completion of that contest. It will be concluded at a date and time that has yet to be determined. Colin Staub (1-5-6) leads Wichita Falls in scoring against RGV, with winger Austin Beaulieu not far behind (2-3-5). In net, David Zevnik is 3-0-0 against the Bees, with a 2.00 goals against average and .921 save percentage. The Wildcats are 7-3-1 all-time against Rio Grande Valley dating back to the beginning of last season.
Killer Bee Bulletin
Rio Grande Valley rolls into this weekend as winners of three of its last four contests, most recently splitting a home set with the Amarillo Bulls. The Killer Bees currently occupy the sixth and final playoff spot in the South Division with a mark of 13-17-5 and 31 points, but the Bees are looking to improve their road form to solidify their postseason prospects. Rio Grande Valley is 5-11-3 as the away team this year and has just one win in its last 12 road tilts, although six of those defeats have been by one goal. The Bees have dealt with a heavy roster rotation so far this season, with 17 players moving on from the roster in one form or another, including Kyle Stephan, who was their joint-leading scorer prior to being traded to the Wenatchee Wild on Jan. 12. Parker Wood currently leads Rio Grande Valley in scoring with 10 goals and 14 assists for 24 points in 33 games played, while veteran Anthony Croston has an 8-15-23 line in 35 games played. The Killer Bees have utilized a fairly even goaltending rotation between Ben Johansson and Nick Schmit, although Schmit has earned the decision in each of the Bees’ last six outings. Johansson is 7-7-3 with a 2.81 goal against average and .886 save percentage in 20 games played, while Schmit owns a 6-9-2 mark to go along with a 3.00 GAA and .899 save percentage.
Farmer is on Fire
With points in every game since Christmas, Wildcats forward Nick Farmer is one of the hottest skaters in the league right now. In the eight games played since returning from break on Dec. 27, the Spokane, Wash.,-native has recorded seven goals and nine assists for 16 points. The eight-game point-streak marks a new career-high for Farmer, but perhaps more impressively, the third-year forward has also record multiple points in each of his last five games to help the Wildcats start 2015 with a 4-1-0 mark. For his efforts, Farmer has been named the South Division’s Second Star of the Week in two successive weeks. He has 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists) on the year, setting new career high-water marks in each of those categories in just 34 games played.
Spotlight on Staub
Wildcats forward Colin Staub reached a milestone when he took the ice in the team’s 3-2 defeat to Topeka last Saturday. The Colorado-native became just the fourth skater in team history to play in 150 career games, joining Skylur Jameson (231 GP, 2004-08), Adam Cardwell (176 GP, 2005-08) and Brett Hartung (159 GP, 2006-09). Staub is poised to pen another piece of history into the ‘Cats record books, as he currently sits at 99 points (36 goals, 63 assists) for his career. Should the veteran reach the century mark in career points, he would be just the fifth player in the club’s history to do so, and the first to accomplish the feat since Cardwell (189 points), Jameson (135) and Luke Salazar (110) did so in 2007-08.
Koch-ing Up Points
After posting 17 assists in 56 games played in his first year, defenseman Matt Koch has found his offensive stride in 2014-15. The second-year skater currently leads all North American Hockey League defensemen in scoring with 33 points, and also ranks second among all league skaters with 29 assists on the year; The 29 assists stand as a new team record for most assists by a defenseman in a single season. The Hastings, Minn.,-native enters this weekend as the Wildcats’ third-leading scorer (4-29-33), while leading the team in plus-minus with a plus-24 mark. The Air Force Academy recruit is also on pace to set a new team record for points in a single season by a defenseman, a record set just last season when Sam Piazza posted 37 points in 58 games played.
Alumni Watch – Bauman Earns Weekly Honor
Wildcats alum Kyle Bauman enjoyed a successful start to the second half of the season with Bemidji State University last weekend. Bauman finished the weekend with three points (two goals, assists), posting his first collegiate goal and an assist in a 4-0 win for the Beavers on Friday, before potting the eventual game-winning goal in another 4-0 win for Bemidji State the next night. The Florida-native, who has a 2-4-6 line in 12 games for BSU as a freshman, was named the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Rookie of the Week for his efforts. Bauman played two seasons for the Wildcats from 2012 to 2014, dressing in 118 games and recording 83 points on 47 goals and 36 assists during his stint in Wichita Falls.
The Wildcats are pleased to once again be partnering with Children’s Miracle Network and the United Regional Foundation for the return of Jersey Off Our Back weekend this Friday and Saturday. The custome, Children’s Miracle Network-themed jerseys will be auctioned off following the conclusion of the game on Jan. 17. All proceeds go to support Children’s Miracle Network at United Regional Health Care System.
Don’t miss Noisemaker Night on Friday, Jan. 23 when the Wildcats host the Corpus Christi IceRays. The first 500 fans in attendance will receive a free noisemaker as we “Restore the Roar” at the Kay Yeager Coliseum.