Kings hold off Bees 3-2
Hidalgo, TX - The Lubbock Cotton Kings jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening period and held on for a 3-2 win Tuesday night at the Dodge Arena over the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees to extend their overall and road winning streaks to a season-high four games. The win places the Kings record at 26-27-4 and moves them within eight standing-points of Rio Grande Valley for the final playoff spot (Lubbock has 7 games remaining with two games-in-hand over Rio Grande Valley).
Rio Grande Valley came out strong and controlled the tempo of the third period, but big time saves by Lance Leslie and a pair of power play opportunities gave the Kings confidence. That confidence led to a trio of first period goals. Bobby Brown book-ended the period with a pair of goals with his first coming with 6:17 remaining in the period on a power play conversion. 2:18 later, the Kings remained perfect on the power play with Emery Olauson connecting on a one-timer fed from Bobby Brown that was smoked by goaltender Terry Dunbar. Brown closed the period with a goal as 30.5 seconds remaining by converting on a two-on-one by poking a pass from Josh Anderson through the five-hole of Dunbar for the 3-0 lead through the first period.
Lubbock received their third power play opportunity of the game early in the second period, but it was the Bees that took advantage of the Kings power play. Bees defenseman Sean Gillam split the Kings defense with a lead pass that hit the tape of the stick of Aaron Phillips, leading to a shorthanded breakaway goal 7:32 into the period. Rio Grande Valley received a power play opportunity of their own and cashed in on it 3:47 later. Nathan Rosychukl was able to dig up a loose puck in the left side of the crease and shovel it past a sprawled out Lance Leslie to cut the Kings lead to 3-2.
Rio Grande Valley's offensive pressure was unreal in the third period. They out-shot the Kings 14-7 and the final 1:45 of regulation had all the drama. After pulling goaltender Evan Lindsay (replaced Dunbar in the secon d period) for the extra attacker, a kneeing penalty on Jason Beatty led to a six-on-four man advantage for the Bees but the Kings defense and Leslie persevered for the win.
Leslie stopped 42 of 44 shots in the win to improve to 14-12-3, while Dunbar (stopped 11 of 14 shots) suffered the loss with his record dropping to 8-6-2. Lindsay stopped all 15 shots in relief. The Cotton Kings closed the game going 2 for 4 as Rio finished 1 for 4. Bobby Brown led all scorers with a pair of goals and an assist for a three-point night.
Lubbock returns home Friday to host the Fort Worth Brahmas at the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum.
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Central Hockey League Stories from March 14, 2006
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