Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tornado Surging with sweeps over Wichita Falls

The month of November became a good one for the Texas Tornado after a sweep in Washington against the Wenatchee Wild with a 6-4 and 3-1 losses at the first of November. However, after a split in Alaska against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs with an impressive 6-2 win over the Fairbanks Ice Dogs back on November 13.

Then after a loss against Fairbanks the next night, 2 weekend sweeps over the Wichita Falls Wildcats with 4 straight wins over the Wichita Falls Wildcats have helped propel them up to a battle with the Springfield Jr. Blues for 3rd and just 5 points back of the St. Louis Bandits for 2nd which would get them home ice advantage in the first round of the NAHL Playoffs.

Jack Prince has really started to lift his game in November with a 6 game point streak where he scored 12 points in that time (7G 5A) and is clearly becoming the best player on the team and is gong to be a huge factor for any kind of success the team has this season. Scott Deur is also now the team leader in assists with 13 as he has surprised his career total in the NAHL when he had 16 points (6G 10A) with the Kenai River Brown Bears back in the 2007-2008 season.

Just 6 games for the Tornado coming up in December, but the next 4 are at home with weekend series against the Topeka Roadunners this weekend and the Wichita Falls Wildcats next weekend. Finally, just before the Winter Break, the Tornado head back to Kansas to play the Roadrunners which will take them into the League's Holiday Break which will go on until early Jan.

The games against Topeka are huge, because will see if the Tornado can challenge the Roadrunners and St. Louis Bandits in the South Division as we head into the 2nd half of the season. If the Tornado can play well against Topeka, it could become a 3 team race down South.

For the Wichita Falls Wildcats, a 6 game losing streak has the team sinking in the league. Just 5 wins through 23 games this season (5-14-4 overall) has them 12 points back of the Texas Tornado for 4th place.

In the entire league, the team also has the 3rd worst record overall, only better then the Albert Lea Thunder and the Kenai River Brown Bears who are tied with 12 points in the league standings. The team has probably nothing but doubt right now as nothing has been going right and turning out to be one of the biggest disappoiments this season in the entire NAHL.

One of the few bright spots for the Wildcats right now is Brian Sheehan who's leading the team with 18 goals. However the defense has been weak as only Ian Young and Ryan Frost are the only players who have positive plus/minus ratings.

Goaltending wise, Phillip Graveline has been having a hard time adjusting to more playing time with a 3.67 GAA and a .895 SV% during the regular season. He needs to find the magic that helped him out during the playoff series last year where they almost upset the Topeka Roadrunners in the South Division Semifinals last season.

Currently, theirs no worries about head coach John Bowkus losing his job. But he better find a way to turn around and salvage the season. If theirs no improvement soon, he could be on the hot seat in Wichita Falls in what is turning out to be a very long season for the Wichita Falls Wildcats.

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