Wildcats Rally, but Fall in Shootout - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Wildcats Rally, but Fall in Shootout

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For the second straight night, the Wichita Falls Wildcats (9-2-3) and Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (7-3-4) needed a shootout to determine a winner.

Rudy Junda and Josh Haverstrom scored for the Wildcats in a late-game flurry to help Wichita Falls force overtime, but in the end it was the Killer Bees who claimed the win on Wednesday, 3-2.

The Killer Bees opened the scoring on Tyler Bruneteau's fifth goal of the season at 12:07 of the first period. A simple dump-in took an odd bounce off a glass support and caromed back in front for Bruneteau to put in the net.

The Wildcats looked to respond in the second period and had a couple of opportunities to do so. First, Max Reisinger whistled a shot wide of the cage as he tried to clean up a rebound in front. Then, Jordan Jancze had a shorthanded breakaway, but he was denied by the left pad of Olli Kalkaja.

The Killer Bees doubled their advantage early in the third period when a loose puck was jammed home after it looked like Chase Munroe had covered it.

But the Wildcats fought back and managed to force overtime thanks to two goals in the last 3:16 of the third period. First, Junda swiveled a weak shot towards the net from the top of the crease that just trickled over the line inside the right post. Then, less than two minutes later, Haverstrom rushed through the entire Killer Bees defense and deposited the puck into the top corner to tie the game at two.

With neither team able to find a winner in the extra session, the contest headed to a shootout. Aleksi Luhtalampi and Anthony Croston scored for Rio Grande Valley, and Kalkaja stoned every Wildcat shooter to seal the win for the Killer Bees.

The Wildcats are next in action on Oct. 25 when they hit the road to take on the Corpus Christi IceRays. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at the American Bank Center.

Scoring Summary

1st Period

Rio Grande Valley - Tyler Bruneteau (unassisted) 12:07

2nd Period

No Scoring

3rd Period

Rio Grande Valley - Tyler Bruneteau (power play) (Ian Janco) 2:15
Wichita Falls - Rudy Junda (unassisted) 16:44
Wichita Falls - Josh Haverstrom (Tyler Ledford) 18:26

Overtime

No Score

Shootout

Rio Grande Valley

Wichita Falls

SHOOTER

SCORE

Aleksi Luhtalampi

yes

Austin Fletcher

no

Anthony Croston

yes

Sami Pokka

no

SCORE

SHOOTER

no

Rudy Junda

no

Tyler Ledford

no

Max Reisinger

no

Sam Piazza

TOTALS: 2

0


Okeley Commits to Air Force Academy

Add Evan Okeley to the growing list of Wildcats who will play their collegiate hockey at the United States Air Force Academy.

Beginning in the fall of 2015, the Carmel, Ind.-native will head to Colorado Springs, Colo. to take the next step in his hockey career.

"It's a great opportunity and a great program," said Okeley. "It's always been a dream of mine to play Division I hockey and to get a good education. The Air Force Academy gives me a great opportunity to do just that."

Okeley joins four other Wildcats who have committed to the Falcons, of the Atlantic Hockey Association. Tyler Ledford, Will Vosejpka and Ben Kucera will head to the Air Force Academy in the fall of 2014, while Matt Koch is set to begin his collegiate career in the fall of 2015.

The 18-year-old forward acknowledged that although some might have concerns about heading to a service academy, he is not one of them.  He also noted that having current teammates already committed to Air Force played a role in his decision.

"It might be a little scary to some, but I'm not too concerned," Okeley said. "[Having teammates who had already committed to Air Force] definitely made the decision a little easier."

Wildcats head coach and general manager Paul Baxter said he believes Okeley has the necessary drive to succeed at the Division I level.

"Evan is a big-body, skilled player who is getting better at playing a 200-foot game," Baxter said. "He projects to be a power forward who can finish around the net.

"When you get to Division I, everyone on the ice scored at the midget and junior levels. The difference becomes who is committed to being a complete player, who takes pride in doing the little things correctly. I believe [Okeley] has the character and wherewithal to be one of those players."

Baxter also expressed his happiness at seeing another Wichita Falls player commit to one of the nation's top university.

"[The Air Force Academy] is an outstanding school," he said. "We are always excited to have the chance to send a player to one of the top academic institutions in the United States."