Standings in South Division: 3rd
Last Ten Games: 7-2-1-0
It was a long three-game weekend for your Warriors, as they took on the Shreveport Mudbugs in the Kay Yeager Coliseum. The Warriors were able to rise up the South Division Standings and took the third spot away from the Odessa Jackalopes.
Wichita Falls wanted to get off to a quick start Friday night and dictate the pace of play, and they did that, scoring two goals in the first period. Cole Teleki finished off a mad scramble in front of the Shreveport net to grab his first of the season at the 5:29 mark of the period on the ER-Now power play.
Joseph Harguindeguy grabbed his 12 of the season after winning the offensive draw to himself and roofed the puck short side, surprising the Mudbugs goaltender, Simon Bucheler.
A penalty late in the opening period by William Lawson-Body opened the door for the Mudbugs to score a goal of their own, with Burke Simpson beating Brandon Milberg to end the period with a 2-1 Warriors lead.
Brendan Williams scored on a two-on-one opportunity early in the second period, extending the lead back to two goals. The game showed physicality in that period with several parades to the box before the buzzer sounded to end the period.
The third period saw the Mudbugs attempt to create a comeback with Austin Brimmer, their leading scorer, grabbing a goal in the first half of the third period. Warriors netminder Brandon Milberg stole the show late, coming up with big saves to keep his squad ahead in the closing minutes and take home the first two points of the weekend.
Milberg collected his 14th win, stopping 20 of 22 shots faced. Bucheler would record a loss on his ledger, stopping 15 of 18 shots sent his way.
1980’s Miracle on Ice was in full display, with Wichita Falls wearing their commemorative white jerseys and the Mudbugs wearing their road reds.
The first period was relatively uneventful, with goose eggs shown on the board at the end of the first twenty minutes. Shreveport forward Logan Gotinsky recorded a minor penalty for high sticking.
For the first time in five games, the Warriors would concede the first goal of a hockey game, this coming courtesy of Drake Morse at 5:33 of the second period, who chipped it over the glove hand of Milberg on a face-off win. Cole Teleki and Hayden Nichol scrapped at center ice at the 7:42 mark, giving a burst of momentum to the Warriors bench.
Cade Lemmer would lead the comeback, scoring a minute later as he flew down the left wing and collected his rebound. Owen Baumgartner would sneak his way down the slot to fire home a pass from Lemmer in the corner, and with three seconds left in the middle frame, Lemmer would net his second goal of the game, banging home a loose puck on the front doorstep of the Shreveport netminder, Bobak. The Warriors would head into the locker room, leading the hockey game 3-1 as the teams got chippy with each other in the closing minutes of the second period.
Dominick Rivelli would ice the game with an empty-net goal in the third, and the Warriors set their sights on sweeping the weekend Sunday night.
Milberg added another win in consecutive nights and while Bobak would take a loss in his only game of the series.
Riding a seven-game win streak and owners of third place in the South, the Warriors wanted to continue their dominating form.
It was a carbon copy of a first period from the night before, as it was 0-0 at the end of the first twenty minutes with penalties coming from both sides that showed the emotion of a three-game series.
The Warriors would play from behind again, with Connor Gatto opening the scoring for the Mudbugs at the 7:02 mark on the power play. Another goal would come courtesy of special teams; this time, it was short-handed by Lukas Sedlacek in dying seconds of the period to give themselves a two-goal lead.
Sedlacek continued his offensive showing in the third period by scoring his second of the game at 5:55, extending the lead by three. Garrett Horsager tickled the twine for his first career NAHL goal to cut the lead by two on a one-time shot from the high slot.
The Warriors showed their fight on the man advantage and an empty net situation, grabbing their second goal with two minutes left in the game. Hunter Jones, who was injured midway through the second period, came back onto the ice for the third and showed his grit and determination standing in front of the net and putting home a grade-A opportunity.
Unfortunately, time would run out on the Warriors, and they would drop the third game of the weekend, snapping a seven-game winning streak.
Bucheler claimed the win in net on his second game of the weekend, stopping 31 of 33 shots, while Daniel Duris, his opposite, would keep 32 of 35 out of the net.
An off weekend means your Warriors will not be in competition until March 4th and 5th, when they battle the Corpus Christi Ice Rays on the road at the American Bank Center. Both games have a scheduled puck drop of 7:05 p.m.
Written by: Scott Masom