The Wichita Falls Wildcats will open up their 2015 playoff run Thursday night at the Kay Yeager Coliseum when they host Rio Grande Valley in Game 1 of a best-of-3 South Division playoff series. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m.
The Wildcats were 5-1-2 against Rio Grande Valley in the regular season, with one overtime loss and one in a shootout. There will be no more shootouts this season, with all overtime games being decided by unlimited 20-minute periods until a goal is scored.
Wichita Falls went 3-1 at home against RGV this season, only losing 1-0 on January 16th.
The Killer Bees play a style that Wildcats coach John LaFontaine described as, "scrappy," looking to play stifling defense and force turnovers that could lead to goals.
"They try to frustrate you," LaFontaine said. "They really try to frustrate you, get you off your game, by gapping up, by being tight on you, by not giving you any time and space. They're not big, but they work hard, they finish checks hard, they compete hard. They're hard to play against, and they want to get you frustrated. They want you to make a mistake, and put it in the back of your net."
It's a style perfectly suited to a road team in the playoffs, which LaFontaine says the team will have to guard against.
Wildcats forward Nick Farmer, who recently became the eleventh Wichita Falls player to make a college commitment this season, said the Wildcats will have to focus on their defense and let the offense take care of itself.
"We know we can put up goals, we're an offensive team," Farmer said. "We've just got to focus on our defense, and really stick by our defense. Because we know if we play good defense, we will score goals, and we will have a good offensive game."