(Photo: Troy Young)
BLAINE, Minn. – Kevin Charyszyn tallied twice for the second time in three games to pace the Wichita Falls Wildcats to a 4-2 win over the Michigan Warriors at the North American Hockey League Showcase on Saturday morning.
Austin Beaulieu notched his first-career marker in the contest and Matt Koch also found the net for Wichita Falls, while Erich Jaeger picked up an assist for the first point of his career. Austin Shaw made 30 saves in net for the ‘Cats to claim his second win in as many starts.
The first period played out evenly, with the Wildcats outshooting the Warriors by the narrow margin of 12-10, but it was Wichita Falls who had the better of the chances thanks to Nick Farmer.
Twice in the frame, Farmer skated into the zone on a breakaway with a chance to give the ‘Cats the lead, but twice Tyger Howat was equal to the task in net for Michigan.
The second stanza played out similar to the first, with both teams directing plenty of rubber towards the cage, but both Shaw and Howat stood tall in net, turning all efforts aside to keep the game scoreless.
The third period brought an offensive eruption, with the two teams combining for five goals in the span of seven minutes.
The Wildcats tallied first thanks to Charyszyn’s grit and determination. After being stripped of the puck, the Air Force-commit won back possession and fought through a couple of checks to maintain possession. He then stepped towards the net from the faceoff circle, and snuck a shot through the body of Howat to make it 1-0.
The Warriors answered back quickly, as Colin Horton converted on a breakaway from the blue line, but Wichita Falls quickly regained the lead thanks to Koch and Beaulieu.
After Jaeger won an offensive zone draw cleanly to Koch, the defenseman rifled a wrist shot under the bar to make it 2-1 on his second marker in as many games.
Moments later, the lead was doubled on Beaulieu’s first-career tally. Tommy Apap took an outlet pass from Cam Knight and rushed up the left side with Beaulieu alongside. Apap’s drop-pass was right to the tape of Beaulieu, who sent his wrist shot through traffic into the back of the net to make it 3-1 at 10:32 of the third.
Michigan pulled one back on a goal from Tyler Groat, but would get no closer before Charyszyn tacked on the empty-netter to ice the affair.
Wichita Falls completes its 2014 NAHL Showcase schedule with a record of 3-1-0, closing with back-to-back wins.
The Wildcats are next in action when they return to the Kay Yeager Coliseum to host the Topeka roadrunners on Friday, Sept. 26. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., with tickets available at the KYC box office.
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Wichita Falls – Kevin Charyszyn (unassisted) 4:55
Michigan – Colin Horton (Mitch Wedding) 6:09
Wichita Falls – Matt Koch (Erich Jaeger) 7:49
Wichita Falls – Austin Beaulieu (Tommy Apap, Cam Knight) 10:32
Michigan – Tyler Groat (Ryan Burr) 11:23
Wichita Falls – Kevin Charyszyn (empty net) (Evan Okeley) 19:44