The Texas Tornado ended the NAHL Blaine Showcase with a 6-4 win over the Austin Bruins as the Tornado are sending a message that they indenty will be a firing squad as for the 3rd time in 4 games, the Tornado posted 40+ shots in the win.
Perhaps the one to watch will be Rock Einersen who finished with a Showcase high 10 points (4G 6A) including a 3 point performance back on Saturday Afternoon.
Other big performances came from J.D. Howard and Jack Prince as both of them increased their assists totals to 4 during the season opening showcases as both players will be watched closely by different NCAA Teams this season.
If your looking for what to expect for the Tornado this season. It's going to be a high octane offense as the team scored 17 goals in the 4 games. However, to be a serious contender in what's looking to be a very strong South Division, the defense needs to show up as they also gave up 17 goals to end with an even goal differential.
Can they get this fixed in the early portion of the season, time will tell, but with this strong offense this will put a lot less pressure on the defense to protect goalies Jake Stafford & Josh Hillegas?
After the Showcase, they won't have much time to get ready for what will be another busy season. Friday Night will see them head to the Panhandle to face the Amarillo Bulls, then on Saturday & Sunday Night will be their home opener against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs.
Press Release for the Texas Tornado
Austin Bruins 4 Texas Tornado 6 (2-1, 0-1, 2-4)
Austin Bruins VS. Texas Tornado Photos
The Texas Tornado met the expansion Austin Bruins to close out the Showcase for both teams. Texas sitting on a 1-1-1 record was looking for a win to equal their mark in last year's tournament while Austin at 1-2-0 were trying to even their record .500 in their first ever Showcase.
The Bruins would strike first when Connor Quinn cleared the puck off the far boards, then James Dickinson and Kevin Thomassoni worked to give and go springing Dickinsion for a clear path to the goal and he put the puck past Jake Stafford. Time of the goal was 8:05.
The Tornado would answer just over seven minutes later while on the Power Play as Donald Olivieri found the back of the net for his first point of the season with Ralfs Freibergs and Jack Prince picking up assists on the play.
Rock Einersen was hit with a cross checking minor at the 18:39 mark sending the Bruins on a late power play. With just 34 seconds left in the period Jonathan Gehrt sent a booming slap shot post a screened Stafford to give Austin a 2-1 lead. Charlie Adams was credited with the lone assist.
The Bruins made a bid to increase the lead on the ensuing faceoff. Alex Tesensky got a good bounce and went straight down the slot on a breakaway splitting the Tornado defensemen. Stafford stood tall and turned away the scoring chance with the stick.
Shots on goal were 19-10 in favor of the Tornado, but they trailed 2-1 on the scoreboard. The lone goal of the 2nd period came via the stick of Tornado Rookie Jon Mottiqua. The Tornado had an extended stay in the Austin Zone and had peppered multiple shots at Keegan Asmundson. Michael Zigari grabbed a rebound and fed the puck to Mottiqua at the top of the far circle and he fired it under Asmundson to pull the Tornado even to 2-2 a piece.
Shots on goal were again in favor of the Tornado 11-5.
The tone for the third period was set as early as 57 seconds into the period the Tornado took a one goal lead. Strong play along the boards by Einersen freed the puck and Freibergs hit Jackson Leef with a pass at the top of the far circle. Leef skated the puck in and fired a shot off Asmundson's shoulder. Leef stayed with the play, grabbed his own rebound and from just beyond the crease on the stick side he went stick side he went high over the blocker.
The Tornado would score again at the 4:46 mark on Tyler Underhill's first of the season with the assists going to Leef and J.D. Howard.
The Bruins would fight their way back into the contest with two goals by Jeremy Finger. The first coming at 8:32 with assists by Dickinson and Nolan Kirley. The second came with the Tornado on the power play when Dickinson picked off a Tornado pass and hit Finger streaking into the zone to knot the score at four.
However, the Tornado would not say die and 32 seconds later would take the lead for good. David Rigatti pulled the puck from a scrum along the boards and Mico Solorzano found Einersen alone on the backdoor to put the Tornado up 5-4.
With just under 1:30 left, Austin pulled their goalie for the extra attacker. They were applying pressure in the Tornado Zone when a shot from the point went off a Tornado shin pad. Einersen grabbed the loose puck and flipped it the length of the ice into the open net for the final 6-4.
The Tornado led in shots 11-3 for the period and 41-18 for the game. The Power Play got back onto the scoring sheet going 1-6 after failing to score against Coluee Region, while the penalty killing went 1-2.
There were some bright spots for the Tornado coming out of the Showcase. The offense led in shots on goal in all but 2 periods and out-shot their opponents 172-102 over the four days. Rock Einersen sets at 10 points with four goals and six assists. J.D. Howard also has four goals and an assist for 5 points.
The Tornado are going to put points on the board this season, but they must find ways to cut down on the turnovers and defensive breakdowns. It is early so as the defensive pairings gel the goalies should face fewer odd man rushes.
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