Behind Scott Sheppard's lead, the Brahmas were able to hand the Odessa Jackalopes their first loss of the season and take over first place in the Southeast division with a 7-3 win Saturday at the NYTEX Sports Centre.
Starting goaltenders, Brett Jaeger for Texas and Juha Toivonen for Odessa, were put to work early in the first as both teams were in penalty trouble. Stellar play by both netminders proved valuable for the Brahmas and Jackalopes, ending the opening period scoreless.
The Texas offense was able to solve the mystery of Jackalope rookie goaltender Toivonen twenty-eight seconds in the second when defenseman Justin Kinnunen netted his first goal of the season. Six minutes later sniper Scott Sheppard took advantage of a Brahmas powerplay and netted his second goal in as many nights.
A tripping penalty by Kinnunen gave Odessa the 4 on 3 advantage and Sebastien Thinel slapped a goal past Jaeger to put the Jackalopes within one goal. Coming off of an incredible night of special teams, the Brahmas continued to display their strength on the powerplay at the 4:54 mark in the second when Tyler Skworchinski pushed the puck past Toivonen. Grant Jacobsen was credited with his third assist of the evening on the goal.
A Russ Moyer holding call against Odessa put Texas on the advantage once again, and the Brahmas answered again for their third powerplay goal of the evening. Forward Marc Belanger shot a pass from a Craig Minard and Justin Kinnunen feed to put Texas up 4-1. The three goal lead was cut short when Kory Karlander snuck the puck past Jaeger with four seconds remaining in the second.
The Scott Sheppard show continued in the third when he scored his second goal of the evening on a breakaway to put Texas up 5-2. The physical play heated up for both benches as did the shots as Jaeger and Toivonen were tested throughout the final period. The Brahmas added to their lead with a Matt Quinn goal at the 7:23 mark with a pass from Pete Rouleau and Marc Belanger.
Odessa was able to add one more goal, but a Texas Brahmas shorthanded goal from Grant Jacobsen two minutes later interrupted the celebration. Jacobsen's fourth point on the night finished the scoring for Texas and gave them the 7-3 victory.
The Brahmas will be on the road next week but will return to the NYTEX Sports Centre on Saturday, November 8 for a rematch with the Odessa Jackalopes at 7:05 PM. For ticket information please contact the Brahmas Box Office at (817) 336-4423 or visit www.brahmas.com <http://brahmas.com/tracker/?e=fheinz%40ibsys.com&u=3635&s=447&t=url&d=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.brahmas.com> .
* Texas forward Mark Carragher was put on the 30-day IR on October 18. The Brahmas traded forward Brad Bonello to Mississippi Saturday and waived defenseman Ross Rouleau this week. Added to the Brahmas roster was forward Topher Scott.