Tornado grind out shootout victory
Fans of the Texas Tornado were certainly treated to an exciting opening weekend. After a 2-1 Texas victory last night, the Tornado never held an actual lead in Saturday’s game against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, but managed to battle throughout the game and take home the victory in a shootout, winning by a score of 5-4. Justin Greenberg picked up the game winning shootout goal, while Reid Mimmack was peppered with 41 shots in his second victory in as many games. The Tornado came back to tie the game from deficits of 1-0, 2-1, and 4-2 before scoring two unanswered goals in the third period to force overtime.
Fairbanks got on the board first in the first period when Anton Racklin, who did not have any goals coming into the weekend, scored for the second time in two nights to open the scoring. Racklin’s initial shot was stopped, but he found the puck behind the net and put it in on the wraparound.
The Tornado drew even later in the first, however, when CJ Reuschlein slammed home a rebound after Mitchell McPherson’s initial shot kicked out to the far-side circle. Reuschlein’s second goal of the season tied the score at 1 at the 14:20 mark of the opening period.
The tie score was short-lived, though, because just 2:08 seconds later, Tayler Munson redirected a beautiful pass from Colton Wolter into the net to give the Ice Dogs another one-goal lead. Wolter passed it from the far-wing corner through the slot to Munson, who was waiting at the doorstep to tap it in.
The second period began with a Tornado power-play, which Texas was able to capitalize on after Jordan Lovick crashed the net hard and put back a rebound. Taylor Herndon drove to the net and was stopped at the near post by Ice Dogs goalie Nick Heimer. The rebound squeaked out to the far post, where Lovick streaked to the net and put it home.
But once again, Fairbanks regained the lead in short order. 31 seconds later, Logan Wendling skated to the high slot and shot it off the stick of Luke Nickels and over the shoulderof Mimmack for the goal. It gave Fairbanks a 3-2 lead, one which they held throughout the second period.
In the third, Colton Wolter was pulled down by Nick Neville in the Tornado zone. Neville appeared to be even with Wolter, but Fairbanks was awarded a penalty shot. Wolter took advantage and fired home the penalty shot, doubling the Ice Dogs advantage to 4-2.
Tyler Rostenkowski cut the deficit in half later in the third when, with 12:21 to play, skated in from the blue line and took the shot from the top of the left-wing circle. The puck made its way past Heimer and the Tornado drew closer.
After killing off a pair of penalties, Texas managed to tie the game for the third time, this time on a goal from Herndon. A shot from Lovick produced a big rebound which kicked out to Herndon in the right-wing circle, and Herndon slapped it past Heimer and into the net to tie the score with 1:58 to play in regulation.
The teams played a scoreless overtime and went to a shootout, where Jack Prince, Lovick, and Justin Greenberg all scored in the shootout as the Tornado took home the 5-4 shootout victory and swept the weekend series from the defending Robertson Cup Champions.
Three Stars of the Game
3. Tyler Rostenkowski
2. Nick Neville
1. Justin Greenberg