? Colin Staub scored two goals for the Wichita Falls Wildcats (39-15-5), but it was not enough to prevent the Lone Star Brahmas (39-12-8) from claiming a 5-4 win at the NYTEX Centre in North Richland Hills on Friday night.
In addition to Staub?s two tallies, Nick Farmer and Kevin Charyszyn also found twine for Wichita Falls. Austin Beaulieu chipped in with two assists, with Matt Koch, Konstantin Chernyuk, Jonny Lazarus and Nikita Litviak registering helpers as well. Austin Shaw made 25 saves in net in the losing effort.
Wichita Falls raced out to an early edge in the first period, striking on the first shift of the game, but the Brahmas battled back to take the lead entering the first intermission.
Staub found the net first after just 34 seconds, and did so after a nice play by Litviak to get the disc into the offensive zone. As he side-stepped an open-ice collision and tumbled to the ice, Litviak forced the disc onto the tape of Beaulieu, who in-turn played to Staub in the slot.
With a man on his back, Staub protected the puck well and beat Jake Kupsky with a wrist shot for an early 1-0 lead.
Lone Star struck back on the power play though, with Oskar Andren tipping in a shot from the blue line to tie the score, 1-1, barely three minutes later.
The Brahmas then took their first lead of the night at 10:17 of the first when Hogan Davidson managed to squeeze a shot through the legs of Shaw on a breakaway, sending Lone Star into the break with a 2-1 advantage.
In the second period, both teams found the net twice as the Brahmas twice opened up two-goal leads, but both times the ?Cats clawed into the deficit.
Sebastian Vidmar scored within the first 40 seconds of the frame when he swatted home a loose puck following a friendly carom to make it 3-1 on his league-leading 35th goal of the season.
The red-and-black cut the deficit down to one on Staub?s second of the night, as he punched home a bouncing puck in front of the net after an effort by Chernyuk was partially blocked in front. The goal gave Staub 60 points on the year, and made the score 3-2 at 6:08 of the second.
The Brahmas re-opened their two-goal advantage following another friendly bounce, as a shot from the point was saved by Shaw but hit a Wildcat skater in front of the net and trickled over the line, but the two-goal lead did not last long.
After a big blast from Jake Townsend was turned aside, the ?Cats forced a turnover on the forecheck when Jonny Lazarus blocked a clearing attempt.
The puck landed right at Farmer?s feet, who wristed it home with a quick shot to send the game into the second intermission with the Brahmas leading 4-3.
An early third-period tally from Chad Guderian restored a two-goal lead for Lone Star, however the Wildcats would not go quietly.
With just under four minutes to go, Koch held a loose puck at the left-wing wall. After skating to the corner, Koch centered for Charyszyn in the high slot, who rifled a wrister into the top shelf.