(Photo: Troy Young)
The Wildcats and Lone Star Brahmas face off in the fifth of eight scheduled regular-season meetings on Wednesday. Wichita Falls is 3-1-0 against Lone Star thus far this season, most recently posting a commanding 6-2 victory on Dec. 11. The Wildcats have not allowed the Brahmas to score more than two goals in any of their four previous meetings, outscoring Lone Star 19-6 in head-to-head competition. Will Vosejpka has thrived against the Brahmas in 2013-14, compiling four goals and two assists to compliment a plus-6 mark. Kyle Bauman has also played well against Lone Star, notching four goals and an assist in four games played. Following Wednesday’s meeting, the two teams will play a two-game set in North Richland Hills on March 7 and 8, before concluding the season series at the Kay Yeager Coliseum on March 26. Dating back to 2004-05, Wichita Falls is 33-49-6 against the franchise formerly known as the Texas Tornado.
Boning Up on the Brahmas
Lone Star enters Wednesday’s contest sitting in sixth place in the South Division with 31 points in 42 games played. The Brahmas split a two-game set against the Topeka Roadrunners last weekend, losing 4-1 on Saturday, before rebounding with a 5-4 shootout victory on Sunday in a contest that twice saw Lone Star overturn a two-goal deficit. Matt Lison leads the Lone Star attack, with a 15-7–22 line in 40 games played. Defenseman Anthony Mousseau has also been heavily involved on offense, with 22 points from the blue line in 37 games played. TJ Black has seen the lion’s share of playing time in the Lone Star net recently, starting eight of the last 10 games. In 18 total games played, Black is 6-10-1 with a 2.46 goals against average and a save percentage of .911.
Catching Up with the ‘Cats
When the puck drops on Wednesday, Wichita Falls will be looking to build on an encouraging performance against Fairbanks last Saturday. The Wildcats offense came to life in that contest, scoring four goals for the first time since Dec. 20 against Amarillo, but the effort came up just short as the Ice Dogs scored with 42 seconds remaining to claim a 5-4 win. Wichita Falls has now lost six straight games dating back to Jan. 3 against Topeka, and currently sits in fourth place in the NAHL South Division with 45 points in 40 games played.
Looking Ahead at Odessa
Following Wednesday’s one-off contest with Lone Star, the Wildcats will turn their attentions to a two-game weekend series with the Odessa Jackalopes. Wichita Falls is 4-0-0 against Odessa this season, outscoring the Jackalopes by a combined score of 16-5 in those meetings. The Wildcats are 16-8 all-time against Odessa, including an 11-1 mark during the 2012-13 campaign, and have won 15 straight contests against the Jacks dating back to a 1-0 road loss on Nov. 9, 2012. Additionally, the ‘Cats have won 10-straight games against Odessa at the Kay Yeager Coliseum, with their last home loss to the Jackalopes coming on March 30, 2012.
100, Not Out
With the 2013-14 season two-thirds complete, a number of veteran Wildcats are approaching a career milestone. The next game played by forwards Colin Staub and Kyle Bauman will be the 100th career game for each. A number of other Wildcats are approaching the century mark in that category, including forwards Tyler Ledford (98 career games played), Will Vosejpka (95), Nick Farmer (92) and Ben Kucera (97), and defensemen Jake Townsend (90) and Kristaps Bazevics (91).
Trio Tapped for Top Prospects Tournament
The North American Hockey League announced the teams for the 2014 Top Prospects Tournament, with three Wildcats players earning a roster spot. Defenseman Sam Piazza, forward Kyle Bauman and goaltender David Zevnik will all skate for the South Division team at the annual event. Piazza and Zevnik are participating in their first Top Prospect event, while this will be Bauman’s second after being selected in 2013. This year’s Top Prospect Tournament will take place from Feb. 17-19 in Troy, Mich.
Fans may follow the weekend’s action in a variety of ways. Video streaming is available on FASTHockey.com, with an audio-only broadcast available by visiting our Ustream channel. Fans can also follow along on Twitter (@WFWildcats) for score updates throughout the contest.