Kings Have Comeback and Playoff bid come to an end with 5-4 SO loss in Amarillo
Amarillo, TX - Lubbock Cotton Kings forwards Jan Melichercik and Jon Foster each contributed a pair of goals, but it was not enough as the Amarillo Gorillas survived the Kings comeback attempt with an overtime shootout goal by Derek Hahn to lead the Gorillas to a 5-4 shootout. The Kings receive one standing-point with the overtime loss, placing the Kings record at 27-28-4, but Rio Grande Valley's 7-3 victory over Memphis eliminates the Cotton Kings from postseason contention. The overtime loss also ends the Kings four-game road winning streak.
The Gorillas were held without a shot on goal for the opening 9:53 of the game and their first shot ended up in the back of the net. Trevor Read was able to get a pass through the Kings defense to a wide open Derek Hahn in the left slot, who passed the puck to the doorstep of the crease for Joe Guenther to place past a helpless Lance Leslie for a power play conversion and a 1-0 lead. Jan Melichercik tied the game at 1-1 with 6:51 remaining as he received a pass in the left slot from Vic Pereira and backhanded a shot over the left shoulder of Gorillas goaltender Shawn Degagne. Dan Donnette regained the lead just 24-seconds later for the Gorillas. Kings defenseman Matt McNeely turned the puck over to Jason Chafe, who was able to get the puck in front to an open Donnette, who was cutting in from the right slot and one-timed the shot past Leslie.
Lubbock tied the game up for a second time 10:26 into the second period. Mike Brolsma rushed the puck into the offensive zone and centered a pass to Jon Foster in the low-point and he connected with a blast into the top shelf, tying the game 2-2. Like the previous time the game was tied, the game would not remain knotted up for long. Scott Wray ripped a shot from the point past Lance Leslie 3:07 later to unlock the tie at 3-2. The Gorillas extended the lead to 4-2 with 1:16 remaining on a goal by Gorillas General Manager Darren McLean. He signed a five-game tryout due to injuries and he scored his first goal since he was an everyday pro in 00/01. It was his 14th of his pro career.
The Kings stormed back in the third period. Foster picked up his first two-goal game of his career with a goal 2:18 into the period to cut the deficit to 4-3 and then Melichercik tied the contest up 5:56 later with his second goal of the game. The pair of goals forced overtime and in the overtime, play was back and fourth but emotions of the overtime hype would certainly die down with under a minute remaining in overtime with an injury to Bobby Brown. Gorillas defenseman Mark DeSantis rifled a slap shot from the right point that hit the face of Bobby Brown ten feet in front of DeSantis, sending Brown crumbling to the ice. The game was delayed for five minutes as medical personnel tended to Brown's needs and he eventually went off the ice under his own power.
In the shootout, the Cotton Kings were unsuccessful on four attempts and never could get the equalizer off Hahn's conversion. Trevor Socholotuck ended the game with his fourth round shootout tally.
Lubbock out-shot the Gorillas 42-40 in the high paced contest. Leslie suffered the overtime loss stopping 35 of 39 shots faced, while Degagne grabbed the win for the Gorillas by denying 38 of 42 shots. Amarillo converted one of three power play opportunities, as the Kings were scoreless in two sessions of their own.
The Kings and Gorillas will close out the home-and-home weekend set Sunday at the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum with a 5:05 PM face-off.
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Central Hockey League Stories from March 18, 2006
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