Hawkins stays hot, Tornado win seventh straight
After a natural hat trick in Thursday’s win over Corpus Christi, Brandon Hawkins had three more points—two goals and one assist—as the Texas Tornado beat the IceRays for the second straight night, this time by a score of 3-2. The two teams traded goals all game, but the Tornado scored first and last en route to their seventh straight victory to open the season. C.J. Reuschlein scored the other Tornado goal, on which Hawkins collected the secondary assist. Hunter Leisner was in net for the second consecutive night, making 37 of 39 saves.
Texas had two power-play goals on the night, the first of which came from Reuschlein and gave the Tornado a 1-0 lead. The East Lansing, Mich. native had the puck at the side of the net and looked like he was setting up to throw the puck to the slot. IceRays goaltender Jett Salinas had the same idea, and started moving post-to-post before Reuschlein let the puck go. Seeing this, Reuschlein slipped the puck short-side on Salinas to give the Tornado the one-goal advantage.
Just less than three minutes later, however, the IceRays evened the scoring thanks to their captain, Perry D’Arrisso. Defenseman Grant Hutton had the puck at the point before moving it down low to Rudy Sulmonte. Sulmonte spotted D’Arrisso at the left post, who powered it past Leisner to tie the score. But later in the period, the Tornado found themselves with the man advantage once again, and Hawkins lit the lamp for the fourth time of the weekend. Similar to Reuschlein’s goal, Hawkins had the puck at the side of the net before banking it in off of the pads of Salinas from below the goal line. With under a minute left in the first period, Hawkins’s goal gave the Tornado a 2-1 lead.
Just one goal was scored in the second period, and it came from the IceRays and Roman Uchyn. Midway through the period, a scramble in front created a loose puck that Uchyn spotted. He got to it and lifted it past Leisner to tie the score at 11:39 of the second. Though it was the only goal of the period, both teams had plenty of chances, with the two teams combining for 26 shots on goal. Corpus Christi outshot Texas 15-11, but the score was tied heading into the third period.
With the score still tied, the stage was set for Hawkins to once again give the Tornado the lead. He skated the puck into the zone at the left wing and unleashed a wrist shot, beating Salinas for the eventual game-winning goal. Hawkins has scored seven goals in his last four games and now leads the team in both goals (8) and points (11). He and the rest of the Tornado will be back in action this Sunday at 5:00 p.m., when the team returns to Dr Pepper Arena to take on the Wichita Falls Wildcats.