Dominating performance gives Tornado 6-2 win in road finale
The Texas Tornado closed out its road portion of their regular season with a 6-2 victory over the Corpus Christi Ice Rays at AmericanBank Center on Saturday. Jack Prince had a pair of goals, while he was joined in the goal column by Jordan Greenberg, Jackson Leef, Mitch McPherson, and Jordan Lovick. Hunter Leisner got the start in net and made 22 saves for the win.
It wasn’t until early in the second period when the scoreless tie was broken, and it was done by the league’s leading goal-scorer. Marc Biggs won an offensive zone faceoff back to the point, where Mychal Monteith took a slapshot from the right point. Anthony Stolarz made the save, but the rebound kicked out to Prince, who put it home to give Texas a 1-0 lead.
Later in the period, Corpus Christi was able to tie the score. Brandon Smith controlled a pass from Jonathan Grebosky and snapped a wrist shot over the glove hand of Leisner. The goal was Smith’s second in as many nights and tied the score at one at the 6:53 mark of the second.
After quelling a strong few shifts from the IceRays, the Tornado dominated the late stages of the second period and scored a pair of goals within less than a minute of each other. First, Prince scored for the second time after Biggs skated into the IceRays zone and hit the brakes at the half-boards. Biggs spotted Prince cutting to the slot and, after receiving the pass, snapped it underneath the left pad of Stolarz and gave the the Tornado a 2-1 lead. Prince now has 39 goals on the season and leads the NAHL in that department.
Less than 30 seconds following Prince’s goal, IceRays captain Frank Misuraca was whistled for high sticking, and the Tornado doubled their lead. Making a bid for his third goal of the game, Prince snapped a shot that Stolarz stopped. Jordan Greenberg was right there to put the rebound home, stuffing it past Stolarz to give the Tornado a 3-1 lead headed into the second intermission. With his assist, Prince tied Brad Cooper for the all-time franchise lead with 97 helpers.
In the third period, Texas found themselves down two men after penalties to both Drew Mayer and John Kirtland. Jonathan Grebosky scored on the 5-on-3 to cut the Tornado lead in half, but the Tornado killed off the remaining 57 seconds on the second minor to maintain their one-goal lead. Just about 30 seconds after both teams were back at full strength, Lovick forced a turnover and then found Jackson Leef in the slot. Leef slapped it past Stolarz and picked up his fourth goal in as many games.
Just over two minutes later, Stolarz was forced to make a flurry of saves, stopping three Tornado shots before McPherson stuffed a rebound home and gave the Tornado a 5-2 lead. Then, with under a minute to go and Texas back on the power-play, Taylor Herndon fed Lovick, who was waiting at the backdoor and simply tapped the puck into the open net and made it a 6-2 game.
Both Texas and Corpus Christi will return to action next Friday from Dr Pepper Arena, as the two teams close out the 2011-2012 regular season with a pair of weekend games from Frisco. Both Friday’s and Saturday’s games are scheduled for a 7:30 faceoff. Topeka was also winners in its game against Wichita Falls on Saturday, meaning the two teams remain tied for second place in the South division with two games remaining in the regular season. As of now, Topeka also has two more wins than the Tornado, meaning they hold the all-important tiebreaker.