NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas ? A record-setting night for Matt Koch and a strong performance from Jake Townsend were not enough for the Wichita Falls Wildcats on Friday night, as they fell to the Lone Star Brahmas, 6-3 at the NYTEX Centre.
Koch posted a goal and an assist to set a new single-season record for points by a Wildcats defenseman, Townsend notched a goal and an assist as well, while Nick Farmer also found twine for Wichita Falls. Austin Azzinnaro picked up a helper for his first-career point in the North American Hockey League, and Erich Jaeger registered an assist as well.
The first period featured a trio of tallies from defensemen, with Wildcats? blue-liners posting the first two before the Brahmas answered back late in the frame.
Townsend got things going just over three minutes into the game after some quick puck movement on the perimeter. Jaeger moved the disc to Azzinnaro at the left point, who swept it quickly along to Townsend. The veteran held on a wrist shot before letting a slap-shot fly that snuck through traffic and past TJ Black to make it 1-0 on his ninth of the year.
Barely two minutes later, the red-and-black doubled their edge. This time it was Koch nabbing the goal, as he chased down a clearing attempt, walked to the top of the circle and shot through a maze of bodies, beating Black to make it 2-0. The goal marked Koch?s 38th point of the season, setting a new franchise record for most points in a single season by a defenseman.
Lone Star pulled one back late in the period however, as Alex Carle?s shot found a lane through traffic to make it 2-1 at 14:54 of the first.
The Brahmas controlled the second period, outshooting Wichita Falls 16-4 in the frame, and made that pressure pay in the form of three-unanswered goals in the stanza.
The first two tallies came with the ?Cats shorthanded, with both being scored as the penalty was set to expire. First, it was Ludvig Larsson cleaning up a broken play to make it 2-2 at 3:13 of the second.
Johan Steen found the net next, ripping a slapshot past David Zevnik to give Lone Star its first lead of the night at 12:14 of the frame, 3-2, before Larsson tacked on an even-strength goal at 15:00, as he raced past the Wildcats? defense and beat Zevnik upstairs to make it 4-2 and chase Zevnik from the cage.
The ?Cats roared out of the locker room in the third period and cut the deficit to 4-3 in the early stages of the frame, as Farmer slammed home
the rebound from Townsend?s point-shot for his 17th of the season, but Wichita Falls would get no closer.
With time winding town, Lone Star slated away the win with two goals in quick succession, as Larsson completed his hat-trick to make it 5-3 at 15:14 of the third. Barely 25 seconds, Pat Egan iced the affair with a breakaway goal to take the score to 6-3 and complete the scoring.
The Wildcats and Brahmas return to the ice to conclude their two-game set on Saturday evening at the NYTEX Centre, with puck drop scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Fans that cannot make it to the game may follow all the action on