Texas comes from behind in shootout victory
The Texas Tornado have struggled somewhat on the road so far this season and had to battle against the Fresno Monsters once again on Friday. But a goal by Ondrej Kopta tied the game at 2 with just over five minutes to play in regulation, and the Tornado eventually won in a shooutout, 3-2. Joakim Jutras started in goal and improved his record to 8-1-2, making 30 of 32 stops in the victory. The Quebec native also held Fresno scoreless in the shootout to earn the win.
Physical play dominated the first period of play, and it appeared the two teams would head into the dressing room scoreless. With under 45 seconds to play, however, Monsters forward Jeffrey McMinimy took a shot from the left-wing circle that was stopped Jutras. Jutras came too far out of his net, though, and the rebound caromed to Jordan Haskell, who beat Jutras for his first goal of the season with just 37 seconds to play in the period.
McMinimy’s play led to another goal early in the second period, and this time he got the credit for the goal. This time, it was Haskell who would earn the primary assist after finding McMinimy with a centering pass. The goal came at 5:02 of the second period, but it was the last time Jutras would get beat.
Texas still had some work to do, however, and in the closing stages of the second, they remained behind by two. With under 15 seconds to play in the period, Jack Prince’s shot from the right-wing circle was stopped. Mico Solorzano pounced on the rebound, though, and stuffed it past the pad of Monsters goalie Tomas Sholl with just seven seconds to play in the period. Solorzano, playing in front of friends and family who made the drive to Fresno from San Jose, picked up his fourth goal of the season to cut the Monsters lead in half.
Texas still trailed five minutes into the third period when Marc Biggs got control of the puck behind the Fresno net. He centered a pass for Kopta, whose shot seemed to confuse Sholl. The puck managed to slip through the goaltender’s five hole and into the net to tie the game at 2 at the 14:58 mark.
The game remained tied through the rest of regulation and the subsequent overtime, and the two teams went to a shootout. The lone goal for either team came in the second round for Texas, when Jordan Lovick got one past Sholl. Jutras made all the stops in the shootout, including the final one against Riley Borer.
The two teams will be back on the ice at Selland Arena on Saturday, with the game scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. central time start.