Leef, McPherson lead Tornado to 6-3 win over Fresno
The Texas Tornado scored a goal in the opening two minutes of each period en route to a 6-3 victory over the Fresno Monsters on Thursday on Day 2 of the NAHL Showcase. Jackson Leef had five points (two goals, three assists), while Mitchell McPherson added a pair of goals of his own. Hunter Leisner started in net for the second straight game, making 24 of 27 saves in the victory.
Leo Lumm opened the scoring at just 1:24 of the first to give the Tornado a 1-0 lead. Leef, who had three assists in the 7-1 Tornado win on Wednesday, had the puck behind the net before spotting Lumm in the high slot. Lumm collected the puck and snapped a wrist shot past Fresno goaltender Corey Foster for the opening goal of the game.
But Fresno answered back, scoring twice in the first period and taking a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. The first came at 9:50 of the first and was scored by David Dalbec. Mikhail Bushinski, who earlier in the period rang a shot off the post, skated towards goal but had the puck ricochet off of his stick. Luckily for the Monsters, Dalbec was waiting at the far post to power it past Leisner and tie the score. Later in the period, a blast from Kyle Buffardi appeared to deflect off of Tornado defenseman Nick Neville and snuck past Leisner to give Fresno the lead.
But the Tornado struck early in the second period, as well, tying the score on Leef’s first of two goals. Five minutes later, Texas had the power-play and scored its first of two goals with the man advantage. Temby took a pass from Justin Greenberg and blasted a slapshot from center-point through a C.J. Reuschlein screen to give the Tornado a 3-2 lead. But just 40 seconds later, Sean Kalbac spotted Carl Witty coming down from the point. Witty took the pass and ripped a wrister past Lesiner to once again tie the score.
Just under two minutes later, the Tornado picked up another power-play and managed another goal. Neville set up the play by skating down the wing and making a great stickhandling play to get some space to the goal. His shot was stopped, but McPherson was right there to put home the rebound as the Tornado regained the one-goal lead, 4-3, as the two teams went to the dressing rooms for second intermission.
McPherson scored again at 1:12 of the third period, on Leef’s third assist of the game. He had the puck behind the net, but found the Peoria, Ill. native in the slot. He sent a wrist shot five-hole, and gave the Tornado a 5-3 lead. Later in the period, Leef scored for the second time as the Tornado went on to double up Fresno by a score of 6-3.
The Tornado return to action on Friday when they take on the Janesville Jets on Day 3 of the NAHL Showcase. Opening faceoff is scheduled for 8:15 p.m.