Tornado win season opener, 7-1
The Texas Tornado opened up the regular season with a 7-1 drubbing of the Michigan Warriors on Day 1 of the NAHL Showcase in Blaine, Minn. on Wednesday. All seven Tornado goals were scored by different players, including Cameron Brown and Ryan Tinsley, who each picked up their first career NAHL markers. Goaltender Hunter Leisner made 26 of 27 saves in the victory, including a sparkling pad save in the third period. With the win came some bad news, however, as Drew Mayer suffered a broken arm in the second period and is out for 6-8 weeks.
Michigan actually got on the board in the first when Sean Reynolds beat Leisner at 10:39 of the period. Jon Farkas skated into the Tornado zone on the left wing and hit Reynolds with a pass at the doorstep to give the Warriors the 1-0 lead, and they only goal they’d score all game.
A couple minutes later, the Tornado evened the score on a goal by C.J. Reuschlein. He took a pass from rookie defenseman Nick Blase, and ripped a shot home from the left-wing circle. Later in the first, the Tornado got their first power-play of the game and notched one of three power-play goals on the game. Jackson Leef’s initial shot was stopped by Warriors goaltender Trevor Gorsuch, but the rebound came to Mitch McPherson. McPherson, who was waiting just outside the crease, managed to tuck the puck underneath the crossbar and gave the Tornado the lead.
Texas went to intermission with the 2-1 advantage, and needed just 29 seconds in the second period to make it a two-goal game. McPherson had the puck at the left wing and sent it towards the slot for Leef. His stick got tied up and he couldn’t get to the puck, but it made its way to Nick Neville, whose wrist shot beat Gorsuch and made it 3-1.
Several minutes later, the Tornado tacked on two more goals in a span of just 15 seconds, ending Gorsuch’s day. First, it was Jason Eddy who got on the board. The play started when Michael Hoy sent a pass from the point down low to a waiting Leo Lumm. Lumm took the puck from the corner and walked in on goal before shooting. Gorsuch made the save, but the puck snuck behind him and Eddy was there to poke it over the goal line and extend the Tornado lead. 15 seconds later, Brandon Hawkins found Brown in the slot, and his wrist shot went top corner to Gorsuch’s glove side. He couldn’t make the save, and was replaced by Michael Pesendorfer.
Tinsley’s goal came on the power-play at 15:17 of the second period. With the puck at center point, he wound and fired it towards goal. With a ton of traffic in front, the shot was redirected by a Warriors defenseman and past Pesendorfer. It gave the Tornado a 6-1 lead through the rest of the second period and more than half of the third, until another power-play led to a Tornado goal. Leef took a shot that produced a huge rebound, and Hoy came down from the left point to go after it. He immediately took the shot, beating Pesendorfer and making it a 7-1 game.
The Tornado return to action Thursday morning, when they play the Fresno Monsters on Day 2 of the NAHL Showcase. The two teams played three times last season, with Texas earning wins in all three games.