Tornado grind out 2-1 victory over Wildcats
(Click here for a Photostream of Saturday's game)
In what was a major defensive battle, the Texas Tornado broke out of an abbreviated skid on Saturday night and battled their way to a 2-1 victory over the Wichita Falls Wildcats at Dr Pepper Arena. Neither team was able to generate more than 7 shots on goal in any period, but the Tornado were able to come out on top. Joakim Jutras stopped all but one shot for the Tornado, who won just their second game in the last five, and remain three behind Amarillo for first place in the South Division.
CJ Reuschlein broke a 1-1 tie at the 7:29 mark of the third period with Texas on the power-play. With the puck at the point, Jordan Greenberg laid it across for Nick Neville. Neville one-timed a shot that was deflected in the slot, and got past Wildcats goalie Tyler Green for what turned out to be the game-winning goal. Reuschlein now has 5 goals and 5 assists in his first season in the NAHL.
The game was still scoreless late in the first period, however, when Marc Biggs received a pass from Jack Prince in the high slot. Biggs snapped it past Green with just 5 seconds remaining in the first to open the scoring for Texas.
The Wildcats responded with a goal early in the second period, thanks to Chris Pontello’s second goal of the season. The play in the Tornado zone turned into a scramble after Jutras made the initial save on Tyler Bruneteau and the puck went wide. Jutras had trouble finding the rebound, and was caught out of position when Tyler Hope sent it through the crease to Pontello, who was waiting on the doorstep to find the open net.
The score remained tied at 1 through the second period and half of the third, until a penalty to Brennan Bohnsack led to the Tornado power-play which delivered the game-winning goal.
The lone fight of the game took place between Nick Szopinski and Skyler Spiller. Directly off a neutral-zone faceoff, Spiller and Szopinski dropped the gloves and headed for center ice. Szopinski initially scored a knockdown on Spiller, but the Southlake, Texas native got back to his skates and eventually took Szopinski the ground.
With the win, Tornado head coach Tony Curtale tied the all-time U.S. Junior Hockey wins record with 529. The Tornado will be back in action on Friday, October 28th against the New Mexico Mustangs. The opening faceoff at Dr Pepper Arena is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Three Stars of the Game
3. Marc Biggs
2. Joakim Jutras
1. CJ Reuschlein