Tornado fall in final game of weekend, 4-2
The Texas Tornado had their three-game winning streak snapped on Saturday night, losing 4-2 to the Wichita Falls Wildcats at Kay Yeager Coliseum. Tornado captain Jack Prince assisted on both Tornado goals, and finished the weekend with five goals and three assists. Hunter Leisner started in goal for the Tornado and was handed his first loss in three games with Texas.
Though the Tornado got off to a hot start, they were unable to get the early goal which allowed them to coast to victory in Thursday’s game against Wichita Falls. Instead, it remained scoreless for the first half of the period, until Jason Eddy gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead. Eddy’s first shot was stopped, but the rebound came behind the net for Nick Szopinski. Szopinski sent a centering pass back out front for Eddy, who was able to slip it between the legs of Leisner for the game’s opening goal.
Just under five minutes later, former Wildcat Drew Allen scored for the third time in four games to tie the score. Texas was not shy about putting shots on goal in the first period, with Leon making 14 saves in the opening frame. The one Leon didn’t get to, however, came after a shot from Prince went wide. The puck rebounded off the end-boards and came out front, where Allen collected the puck. He spun and sent a wrist shot over Leon’s glove for the goal.
The early stages of the second did not produce as much back-and-forth play as had the last two games between the teams, but things opened up as the period went on. First, Renato Engler scored his second goal in as many games after skating into the zone on the left wing and putting a wrist shot short-side that beat Leisner to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead.
It remained 2-1 into the late stages of the second period until a goal by T.J. Stuntz tied the score once again. After the Tornado intercepted a long pass into the defensive zone, Prince sent one back the other way for Stuntz. He collected the puck off the boards and into the zone, where it was just him and Leon. Confidently, Stuntz snapped a wrist shot over Leon’s glove hand for his first career NAHL goal.
Just over a minute later, the Wildcats answered. With Wichita Falls on a counter-attack of their own, Renato Engler gained the zone on the right wing, then sent a cross-ice pass to the left circle, where Sergei Soloviev ripped a one-timer past Leisner for the goal at 18:07 of the second period.
Both teams had a few chances in the third period, but with 1:28 left to play, the Wildcats still held their 3-2 lead. With a neutral zone faceoff upcoming, the Tornado called timeout and pulled Leisner in favor of the extra attacker. Texas got the puck into the Wildcats zone, but George Pagonis won the puck back for the Wildcats a:nd sent it across all three zones before it found the back of the empty net for the insurance goal at 18:58 of the third.
The Tornado will return to the ice next Friday, when the Amarillo Bulls return to Frisco for two weekend games. Both Friday and Saturday’s games will get underway with a 7:30 faceoff.