November 19, 2012 - North American Hockey League (NAHL) - Wichita Falls Wildcats
After a sweep at the hands of the Kenai River Brown Bears three weeks ago in Alaska, the Wildcats ended the losing streak against them with a weekend split at home. The Brown Bears took a nail-biter on Friday by a 2-1 final, while the Wildcats trounced them 6-2 on Saturday.
Friday started out as a goaltending duel early on, as Evan Cowley and Gustav Johansson traded save after save for the first forty minutes of play. It wasn't until the 3:25 mark of the third period that anyone scored as Kenai River got a goal from Matt Zeidel, followed twelve minutes later by an Alex Jackstadt goal on a 2-on-0 breakaway. The 'Cats pulled Cowley for an extra attacker with two minutes to play and they immediately capitalized: George Pagonis broke the shutout off a Nick Farmer assist for a 2-1 game. Cowley was pulled again with about a minute to play but the Wildcats were unable to score the equalizer.
Saturday looked to be the same early on as the teams headed into the final minute of the first period scoreless, but Tyler Ledford got the Wildcats on the board, redirecting an Eliot Grauer shot for a 1-0 game. The 'Cats struck again only 22 seconds later as Ben Kucera went to the net and tapped home a loose puck and suddenly the scoreless opening 19 minutes became a 2-0 lead at the first intermission.
The Brown Bears stopped the bleeding briefly with a goalie switch, bringing in Sean Healy, but the scoring continued as Eliot Grauer picked up a puck, scooted around the defense. and sniped Healy high on the glove side for a 3-0 game. Kenai River used their time out, and only 14 seconds later got themselves on the board as Alec Butcher made it a 3-1 game.
The Wildcats' penalty killing units rode quite a hot streak into the game and it even gave them some offense. Killing off 17 penalties in a row dating back to November 3 against Fairbanks, Kyle Bauman scored a shorthanded goal via a breakaway, extending the lead to 4-1. Unfortunately only a minute later, the successful PK streak ended as Kenai's Alex Jackstadt scored his second goal of the weekend, cutting it back to a two-goal deficit for the Brown Bears.
Fortunately though, that was as close as the game ever got. Bauman added a second goal with fifteen minutes left, followed by the final nail in the coffin via a Conor O'Neil goal to finish things off at 6-2. Bauman received first star of the game honors with his pair of goals and an assist on Kucera's opening-period tally.
NOTES: Scott Douglas' season is over due to the concussion he suffered on October 26 in Kenai River. The Wildcats added Lenny Caglianone to the roster to help bolster the defense with Douglas' season-ending injury and Marshal Tema's indefinite absence. Caglianone played in both games this weekend and will wear #2. The Wildcats now have three shorthanded goals this season (Bauman, Grauer, and Pagonis), ninth best in the NAHL. They had six all of last season and seven the year before... Evan Cowley has a 1.81 GAA and .931 save percentage over his last five games. He is third among NAHL goalies in minutes played this season with 1007. Attendance on Friday's Military Appreciation Night was 3,476.
Preview: Wildcats vs. Texas, November 21; Fairbanks, November 23-24
The Wildcats will finish up their set of this season's games down in Frisco with a single game on Wednesday before returning home for a pair against Fairbanks.
The Wildcats are 1-1-1 in Frisco this season and 1-3-1 overall against the Tornado. Texas is in first place in the South Division, but only 5-5 in their last ten games. Brandon Hawkins leads the entire NAHL with 21 goals and his 32 points tie him for the league lead in that area as well. Former Wildcat Jason Eddy, now with the Tornado, leads the entire NAHL in PIM with 76.
The Ice Dogs are currently in first place in the West Division. Kyle Lee is their top scorer with 23 points and 14 assists. Devin Loe leads in goals with 11. The Wildcats went 1-1 against the Ice Dogs two weeks ago up in Alaska and were 1-1 against them at the Kay Yeager Coliseum last year.
Upcoming Wildcats' Events
We're on the air! Join us for the Wildcats' Coaches' Radio Show at our new show host, El Mejicano on Wednesdays at 7 pm. The Voice of the Wildcats, Drew Pelto, will interview the Wildcats' coaches and your favorite Wildcats' players. If you can't get to the show, tune in on the radio at 7:30 pm on 94.9, KOLI, The Outlaw. All in attendance wearing a Wildcats' jersey will get 20% off! There's no show this week due to Wednesday's game, but we'll be back on November 28!
Get out on the ice! We have open skating every Sunday in October and November from 3-5 pm. It's $8 including skate rental, or $6 if you bring your own skates. We also offer birthday party packages at a Wildcats game or an open skating session. Any questions about our ice programs? Contact Sarah Scrivner in the Wildcats office.
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Cal Heeter added another win to his totals on Wednesday, stopping 36 of 37 shots as the Adirondack Phantoms beat the Manchester Monarchs 4-1.
Chad Costello was named the ECHL's Sherwood Player of the Week last week. He leads the league in scoring with 27 points and assists with 21. With four assists in three games this week, he extended his scoring streak to nine games.
After only 18 professional games, Sean Duddy announced his retirement from hockey on Wednesday. He had been playing with the ECHL's Gwinnett Gladiators. In 11 games this season, he had four assists after putting up a goal and three assists in seven games last season.
Continuing in the ECHL, Kyle Kraemer had a goal and an assist as the Ontario Reign beat the San Francisco Bulls 7-0 on Saturday.
Brian Sheehan had a goal and an assist over the weekend for Sacred Heart in a loss to Army and a tie with American International College.
Brett Hartung had two assists and Zach Ledford had one as Bentley beat American International College 7-2 on Friday.
Brandon Stroud and Andy Cramer had a big weekend for Western New England College. Stroud had two goals and three assists, while Cramer had a goal and an assist in wins over Curry and Salve Regina.
Meanwhile, at Curry, Brett Kaneshiro had a pair of assists in a 3-1 win over Nichols Saturday.
Jason McAloon had a goal and two assists in two games for Lake Forest.
Nick Hopper stopped 32 of 33 shots as Wisconsin-Stout beat Wisconsin-Superior 4-1 on Friday.
Kyle Gallegos had a hat trick, while Brian Phillips stopped 23 of 25 shots as Tufts beat Wesleyan 4-2.