Tornado come from behind for 4-2 win
The Texas Tornado won their third straight game with a come-from-behind, 4-2 win over the New Mexico Mustangs on Friday. Taylor Herndon notched a pair of goals while Drew Mayer had three points, including his first goal as a member of the Tornado. Jackson Leef was the other Tornado goal-scorer, while Hunter Leisner got the win for the Tornado. He saw just eight shots on goal all game, however, as Texas outshot New Mexico by a wide 38-8 margin.
Herndon opened the game’s scoring at 5:48 of the first period after the Tornado forecheck forced a New Mexico turnover. Leefintercepted a pass inside the Mustangs zone and connected with Herndon, who was able to power the puck past the stick of a New Mexico defenseman and in for the first goal of the game.
Later in the first, New Mexico evened the score on an individual effort by Jimmy Peplinski. Peplinski took a pass from Dallas Crum in the neutral zone and found himself across the Texas blue line with just one defenseman in front of him. He scooted past his man and ripped a wrist shot past Leisner’s glove to tie the score with exactly seven minutes left in the first period.
Before the period came to a close, New Mexico scored once again to take its first lead of the game. This time, Peplinski got his name in the scoresheet with an assist after his pass found Marcus Nordlund in the high slot. Leisner got a piece of the quick one-timer, but not enough to keep it from trickling over the goal line and giving New Mexico a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
Texas outshot New Mexico 15-5 in the first period and were outshooting the Mustangs 28-8 after two, but neither team scored in the second period and it remained a 2-1 Mustangs lead as the teams headed to the third. It took almost ten minutes of gameplay in the third for the Tornado to tie the score, but once they did, the Mustangs did not lead again.
Mayer’s goal at 9:55 came after a strong shift by the Tornado fourth line. Texas was attacking from behind the Mustangs goal line when Mayer snuck out from behind the net and tucked the puck in between the near post and Jake Stafford’s right pad for the goal that tied the score.
It remained a 2-2 game for the next few minutes, but Herndon’s second goal of the game came at 16:20 and gave the Tornado their first lead since the first period. Once again, the Tornado set up behind the Mustangs net. Marc Biggs and Jordan Lovick both battled hard to keep the puck in the Tornado’s possession until Lovick’s pass from the corner found a waiting Herndon in the slot. The Oklahoma City native blasted a one-timer into the top corner for his 18th goal of the season.
Just over two minutes later, the Tornado added an insurance goal thanks to work done by both Mayer and Leef. Initially, Mayer made a heads-up play in lifting the stick of a Mustangs defenseman to win the puck back at the side of the net. When he tried to stuff it home, Mayer lost his footing, but Leef was there to finish the job and make it a 4-2 game. New Mexico, meanwhile, did not register a shot on goal in the entire third period.
The Tornado will host the Mustangs for the final time this season on Saturday, when the two teams meet again at Dr Pepper Arena for a 7:30 faceoff.