Tornado can't hang on to lead, fall in shootout
The Texas Tornado blew a three-goal lead in the final minute and lost in a shootout to the New Mexico Mustangs 8-7. Texas was up 7-4 with 47 seconds to play against the New Mexico Mustangs on Friday night. But with three Tornado penalties on the board, the Mustangs converted on all three power-plays--including Jason Angus’ game-tying goal with 2.3 seconds left in regulation-- to tie the game and force overtime. The extra period did not yield a goal, but Marcus Nordlund’s shootout goal in the sixth round of the shootout clinched the New Mexico victory. The loss snaps the Tornado’s three-game winning streak while extending the team’s road losing streak to four games.
New Mexico struck first in this one, with Adam Chapie picking up the opening goal at the 4:30 mark of the first period. He took a drop pass in the slot from Patrick Anderson and wristed it past Joakim Jutras to give the Mustangs a 1-0 lead.
By the time the horn sounded to end the third period, however, the Tornado had taken a 3-1 lead. Taylor Herndon tied the game in short order, just 40 seconds following the goal by Chapie. At the 10:00 mark, Texas capitalized on the game’s first power-play on a goal by Jordan Greenberg, which gave the Tornado a 2-1 lead. Later in the period, Justin Greenberg scored a goal of his own to extend the Tornado lead. It was also the third time this season that both Greenberg brothers have notched a goal in the same game.
The second period was an entirely different story, though, with New Mexico dominating for the majority of play. The two teams traded goals in the first half of the second, with Connor Kingsbury scoring for New Mexico and Herndon picking up his second of the night for the Tornado. The Tornado had a chance to extend their 4-2 lead further with a power-play, but after John Kirtland’s slapshot was blocked out to center, Brandon Bistodeau ended up with a short-handed breakaway opportunity. The shot caught most of Jutras’ glove, but he didn’t get enough to keep it from trickling over the goal line.
With the Mustangs now trailing by just one goal, Patrick Anderson scored to tie it at the 15:44 mark of the second. Again, the shot was stopped by Jutras, but it snuck through the crook of his arm and over the goal line. Jutras was then pulled in favor of Reid Mimmack.
With the game tied at 4 headed into the third period, the Tornado needed a quick boost to regain the momentum. They got one in the form of a goal from Marc Biggs, who snapped a one-timer past Mustangs (and former Tornado) goalie Jake Stafford to give Texas a 5-4 lead.
The Tornado picked up another goal at the 8:00 mark, and it came with the team short-handed. Drew Allen picked Connor Kingsbury’s pocket in the neutral zone and had a breakaway of his own. He stickhandled, forced Stafford to drop to the butterfly, and lifted it over his shoulder for the goal. Just 1:24 later, a slapshot from Andrew Paras deflected off traffic in front but past Stafford to make it a 7-4 lead.
But things unraveled late for the Tornado. At 17:36, Andrew Paras was whistled for checking-from-behind. With the Tornado still working on the penalty kill, Lucas Whelan was called for roughing, much to the chagrin of Tornado head coach Tony Curtale. Curtale was given an abuse of the officials minor in addition to a game misconduct, which meant Texas now had three penalties on the board in the final 47 seconds.
The first goal of the comeback came at 19:23 on a wrist shot from Adam Chapie with the Mustangs on a two-man advantage. The goal set Paras free from the penalty box, but Whelan and Ondrej Kopta (who was serving the Curtale minor) remained inside. New Mexico continued its 5-on-3 play, but after winning the faceoff at center, pulled Stafford in favor of the extra attacker. With 11 seconds to play, Nordlund scored from the slot to make it a one-goal game.
Still on the conventional 5-on-4 power-play, New Mexico kept its net open and played with six skaters. Once again, the extra man paid off as a deflection off a skate put the puck right on the tape of Jayson Angus, who scored with 2.3 seconds remaining to tie the game at 7 to force overtime and the eventual shootout.
The Mustangs and Tornado will be back on the ice at 8:30 Saturday night at Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.