Texas Looks to Get Even; Wichita Goes for Throat

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(Wichita leads best-of-7 series, 2-1)
Face-Off: 7:30 PM CT –

Pregame Notes

Game 1: TEX 1 @ WIC 3
Game 2: TEX 1 @ WIC 8
Game 3: WIC 2 @ TEX 3
Game 5: @ WIC, Saturday (Apr. 21)
Game 6: @ TEX, Monday (Apr. 23)
Game 7: @ WIC, Wednesday (Apr. 25)

Tonight’s game is huge for both teams; either Wichita can grab a hold of the series even more and go up 3-1, or Texas can wipe the past away and focus on the 2-2 future. It will be the second straight home game in Texas, which is quite important seeing how every home team has won during this series. Game 5 will be played tomorrow night back in Wichita.

Game 1 – April 13 –
Game 1 started off in Texas’ favor with a quick goal from Sy Nutkevitch, but it was not enough as that was the only goal the Brahmas saw all game. Wichita came back strong in the second with goals from RG Flath and Chris Chappell. The Thunder then closed the game out in the third with one more empty-net goal by Chappell, who earned the first star of the night. Russo saved 31 of 32 shots that night for the win, while Fogal saved 26 of 28.

Game 2 – April 15 – Game 2 was not nearly as close as the first one, but started off quite similarly. The Brahmas opened the game up with another early first period goal by Adam Hogg to give them the early lead. Wichita’s Matt Robinson answered back with a penalty shot goal tying the game after the first. The second period is when things got out of control; Wichita started their high-scoring comeback early with a quick shorthanded goal by Alex Bourret only one minute into the game. From then on out, it was downhill for the Brahmas; the Thunder managed to score six more times on only eleven shots from Davis (2), Beauregard (2), Summers, and Greene. There was no scoring in the third and the game ended at 8-1.

Game 3 – April 18 –
Down 2-1 in the series, Texas saw the importance of their first home game in the series and took full advantage. The first period ended with no score, however, the Brahmas put their foot to gas early in the second. Captain Adam Hogg started it off with a solid goal 6 minutes into the game. Andrew Lackner and Mike Hellyer followed suit and each netted a goal as well, giving their team the 3-0 lead. Wichita made a solid attempt to comeback in the third with two unanswered goals by Kevin Young and RG Flath, but it was not enough as the Thunder fell short 3-2.

Need to Know: Texas’ net minder Brad Fogal has gotten his fair share of starting time in this post season and is starting to emerge as the go-to goalie. He has started in every game this series, recording a 1-2-0 record with a 2.09 G.A.A. and a .912 SV%. Although his record does not show it, his performance has been solid and he is getting awarded with more playing time.

**In the entire playoffs, Fogal has gone 4-2-0 with a 2.09 G.A.A. (second-best) and a .912 SV% (fifth best).

Another key to tonight’s game is the special teams; the powerplay has been tricky for both teams so far in this series with each squad going 0 for 10 on the man-advantage. However, Texas has the best home powerplay percentage in the league at 28.6% (4 for 14) and will look to get a goal in that column tonight.

**Wichita has the second best penalty kill percentage at 90% (27 for 30).

The Lowdown: Wichita will look to their top players who have been getting it done in the post season. Alex Bourret (12pts), Thomas Beauregard (11pts), and RG Flath (9pts) all sit in the top 10 for point leaders and have been consistent throughout the playoffs. Bourret leads the entire league with his 12 points (5g, 7a) and has notched 4 (1g, 3a) of those during this series. Beauregard is second in the league with his 8 assists and has notched 2 goals and 3 assists already against the Brahmas. Lastly, Flath leads the league with his 8 goals and 2 game-winning goals and has scored twice in the Texas series.

Texas needs to step up and start finding ways to put the puck in the net; the Brahmas have the second-worst Goals For-per-game at 2.33, which is only better than Evansville’s (eliminated). On top of that, Wichita leads the league with the highest Goals For-per-game at 3.88.

**On a positive note, Texas is good at blocking shots and keeping the puck away from their goaltender; they have the league’s lowest Shots Against-per-game at 24.44.

Players to Watch:

Texas’ Mike Hellyer has been solid for the Brahmas this post season. Despite only playing with the team for 3 regular season games, Hellyer has found his role on the squad and is really fulfilling it. Hellyer has played in 9 games this post season and is tied for the team lead with 6 points (3g, 3a). He has already recorded two game-winning goals, and is only one of three players on the Brahmas to have a positive plus/minus rating (+2).

Wichita’s Chris Chappell has been the most underrated player on this squad and keeps finding ways to get on the scorecard, especially in this series against Texas. In only 3 games played so far, Chappell leads all players on the two teams with 5 points (2g, 3a). He has recorded a game-winning goal and is a +3.

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