In one of the best defensive battles of the season, the Wichita Falls Wildcats (39-16-5) held the Lone Star Brahmas (40-12-8) to just 16 shots on goal but could not pull out the win, as the Brahmas claimed a 2-1 victory at the NYTEX Centre in North Richland Hills on Saturday night.
Evan Okeley scored the lone tally of the game for the Wildcats, with Jake Townsend picking up the lone assist on the goal. Austin Shaw made 14 saves in the losing effort.
The first period was controlled by defensive play, as both teams posted just six shots on goal apiece in the frame, but Wichita Falls managed to find a breakthrough in the latter stages of the stanza.
With Lone Star buzzing in the offensive zone, Townsend sent the puck the length of the ice in an attempt to relieve some pressure. Okeley raced onto the loose puck down the left-wing wall, collected at the bottom of the circle and cut towards the middle, before throwing a shot into the roof of the net to give the ?Cats a 1-0 lead at 14:11 of the first.
The Brahmas carried the play in the second period though, and although Wichita Falls held them in-check for the first 10 minutes of the frame, Lone Star managed to post a pair of goals in the second half of the period to take a 2-1 lead into the break.
First, AJ Vanderbeck tied the game at one goal apiece when he followed up a rebound and beat Shaw upstairs, making it 1-1 at 9:03 of the frame.
Then, Hogan Davidson picked up his second of the weekend to give the Brahmas their first lead. After a turnover behind the cage of the ?Cats,
Cody Wickline centered for Davidson to tap into a vacated net at 17:22 of the second.
Wichita Falls launched an impressive surge in the third period, outshooting Lone Star 11-4 in the frame, however the red-and-black could not beat TJ Black for a second time, as the Brahmas held on for a 2-1 win.
With the regular season completed, the Wildcats will now wait to see who they will face in the first round of the Robertson Cup playoffs. Full details will be made available on the Wildcats website and social media channels as soon as they have been decided.
Regardless of time, location or opponent, all postseason games will be streamed live on
, with an audio-only broadcast available via YouTube.
Stay updated on the latest team news and notes, including playoff dates and postseason ticket information, by connecting with the Wildcats on
Facebook (WFWildcats), Twitter (@WFWildcats), Instagram (WFWildcats) and YouTube (Wichita Falls Wildcats).
Wichita Falls - Evan Okeley (Jake Townsend) 14:11
Lone Star - AJ Vanderbeck (Hunter Stanley, Cody Wickline) 9:03
Lone Star - Hogan Davidson (Cody Wickline) 17:22