NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX – With their backs against the wall for the second straight day, the Brahmas punched their ticket to the South Division Final with an 8-4 victory on Monday.
Atlanta jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first five minutes thanks to Drake Cartwright and Jack Cleaver, seeming to temporarily knock the wind out of the sails of the home side. However, thanks to an energetic shift from Sam Gagnon, Oliver Hay, and the eventual goal scorer Trey Greene, the lead was cut to one. Two minutes later, Bryan Whelan snuck a power play wrister through Aleksandr Zendejas to tie the game at two. Before the first intermission, the Caps regained the lead when Alex Johanson beat Tyler Myers for the second power play goal of the frame for his team.
Head Coach Al Rooney appeared to turn the ship around in the locker room though, getting his team to spring-board back into the lead when Victor Ekk and Bryan Whelan scored just over a minute apart in the early second. A crucial part of holding the lead came when Myers shut down Kyle Rimbach on a penalty shot around the 8:00 mark. Rimbach generated the opportunity while being short-handed two men but the Colorado native’s save seemed to boost the confidence of the entire bench. However, the Caps would knot the game up late in the period once again, courtesy of Ross Bartlett. Bartlett received a feed from his own zone and danced through Niklas McCallum and eventually scoring.
With the score at 4-4 after two, that would be the last time the game would remain at an even post. Just three minutes into the third Nick Nitta broke the tie with yet another power play goal to push his team ahead. The Caps would hang around following that for a few minutes, but then for the second consecutive day Sam Gagnon put the icing on the cake, adding a sixth goal. It would force a goaltending change for Atlanta, entering Corey Boettcher for the first time in the series. The final nine minutes were a tough responsibility to endure for him, as he was beaten by Kyle Galloway and Nitta once again to conclude the scoring at 8-4.
Myers earned the win in net for Texas stopping 24 of 28, thus propelling his side into the second round of the playoffs.
The team will now travel to Point Mallard to take on the Ducks next weekend. A schedule of the series will be released in the coming days.