A 3rd straight weekend sweep over the struglilng New Mexico Mustangs have put the Tornado Winning Streak up to 6 games which have allowed them to storm up the South Division Standings from 4th place when the weekend began to a tie for first with the Amarillo Bulls who since their strong 7-1-1 start have struggled the last couple of weekends where they have lost 3 of their last 4 including getting a split against a strong Topeka team with a 4-2 victory on Friday Night, then losing 5-4 in a SO on Saturday Night.
A huge weekend came from Plano Native Sean Hendrick who after being held off the scoresheet for the first month of the season, exploded for a 4 goal night as a huge part of the 8-2 win over the New Mexico Mustangs, including getting his hat trick with 6 minutes left in the game and had another strong play in the final minute of the game, hopefully this is what is needed to get him going after the slow start to the season. Despite having some close chances in the early season, he finally was able to explode on Friday Night.
Other huge nights in the 8-2 win came from Jack Prince where he scored 2 PP Goals and could have had a lot more because of his 10 shots on goal in the game. Also Ralfs Freibergs and Jackson Leef also had 2 assists in the 8-2 blowout.
Saturday Night saw a more defensive showdown, despite out-shooting the Mustangs 55-27, including 30 SOG in the 2nd period, the Mustangs were able to take their only lead of the weekend with a goal late in the first period from Eli Riddle at 14:46, but that was all the Mustangs could muster on Saturday. After that the Tornado got 2nd period goals from Donald Olivieri and Tyler Royston who scored with just 16 seconds left in the 2nd period that was a gut check from goalie Bryan Jones who made 28 saves in the 2nd period and was able to help keep the Mustangs in this game.
The final nail in the coffin came from Jack Prince's 3rd point of the weekend with a goal with just under 6 minutes left in the 3rd period to secure the win and the weekend sweep.
This team is showing that they have momentum and are the only team that is on an upswing in the South Division. While other teams like Topeka and Amarillo have stalled since great starts to the season. Next weekend its another weekend series as the Tornado will travel to the Texas Coast to Corpus Christi for games on Saturday and Sunday this upcoming weekend.
This is a great sign for the Tornado that they are finally truly entering the new age after taking the 2008-2009 season off due to the Arena Reinventions and Expansion. Now what the team needs to do is find a way to help promote the team better as the crowds so far have been a bit sparse, but with the team on the road a lot this month and their next home game isn't until October 29 against the Wenatchee Wild.
This would be a good time to show them that the Tornado are truly back and that this team could have a shot of winning the Division and have a possible long playoff run that could end up at the NAHL Robertson Cup Championship in Topeka, Kansas coming up in May.
In addition, several players that should be able to play in the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament later this season and signing NCAA Scholarships as well as players like Jack Prince, Rock Einersen and Ralfs Freibergs. Also several local players like Sean Hendrick and Jake Stafford who are from the DFW Area as well.
After this weekend's road trip to Corpus Christi, it will be a huge home-stand with the Tornado playing a stretch of 12 of their next 16 that will begin on October 29 against the Wenatchee Wild. If they can continue to lead and eventually take a strangle hold on the division and play like this.
The fans will surely began to fill up the Dr. Pepper Arena, the belief in a possible championship will skyrocket and it will provide hockey fans to get excited in their junior team that hasn't been there that much over the last couple of years. This will tell their season in November and December up to the League's Holiday Break which goes from December 20 through 28.
Here's the Texas Tornado Update
Texas Tornado Stats
10/23: @ Corpus Christi Icerays 7:05 PM
10/24: @ Corpus Christi Icerays 3:05 PM
10/29: VS. Wenatchee Wild 7:30 PM
10/30: VS. Wenatchee Wild 7:30 PM
11/5: VS. New Mexico Mustangs 7:30 PM
11/6: VS. New Mexico Mustangs 7:30 PM
Here's the Game Recaps from over the weekend
10/15 VS. New Mexico
New Mexico Mustangs 2 Texas Tornado 8 (4-0, 1-2, 3-0)
Game Recap from the Texas Tornado Website
It was a career night for #16 Sean Hendrick. The Tornado forward from Plano, Texas scored four goals as the Tornado throttled the New Mexico Mustangs in Rio Rancho by a score of 8-2.
It didn't take long for the Tornado to get on the scoreboard as Marc Biggs opened the scoring with his 3rd goal of the year in as many games.
Ten Minutes later, Hendrick would get his first goal of the game as he tapped home a backdoor pass from Tyler Mort on the power play to make it 2-0. Nathan Sliwinski would make it 3-0, as he scored his first goal in a Tornado Uniform thanks to a beautiful end-to-end play play from line mate Jackson Leef. Hedrick scored his second of the night, again on the power play to make it 4-0 with an assist from Ralfs Freibergs to give the Tornado the big edge heading into the locker room.
New Mexico would try to make a game of it with two straight goals early in the second period, both of which came from almost the same indenctial spot along the left wing, which eluded a screened Tornado Goaltender Jake Stafford. But that would be all the Tornado would give up as the team allowed just 17 New Mexico shots the entire game. Jack Prince would would score on the power play late in the period late to make it 5-2. and essentially put the game out of reach.
The 3rd period was all Tornado as they screened three more goals, two more off the stick of Hedrick who could not miss on the night and the other from Prince. Sliwinski, Leff, Prince, Freibergs, and Hedrick all had multiple point games as the Tornado dominated the shots, 51-17.
10/16 VS. New Mexico
Texas Tornado 3 New Mexico Mustangs 1 (0-1, 2-0, 1-0)
Game Recap from the Texas Tornado Website
The Texas Tornado overcame a slow start and dominated the 2nd half of the game to sweep the New Mexico Mustangs by a 3-1 score on Saturday Night, out-shooting New Mexico 55-27. The win is an NAHL High six in a row for Texas, who moved in a first place tie in the NAHL's South Division. Donald Olivieri, Josh Royston and and Taylor Hendron scored for Texas in the win.
The Tornado started the game with the majority of the offensive chances, but Mustangs goaltender Bryan Jones stood tall. The Tornado almost struck first with Jackson Leef made a nice deke to get free, but his backhander hit the crossbar. The Mustangs stepped up the pressure the 2nd half of the first period thanks in large part two Tornado power play which were interrupted by Texas Penalties in both instances.
The Mustangs would make the Tornado pay for the mistakes as Eli Riddle slapped home a shot from the point on a Mustangs power play to give New Mexico their first lead of the weekend. The rest of the period included some great saves from Tornado goaltender Jimmy Kruger to keep the Mustangs lead at one nothing heading into the locker room.
The 2nd period saw both teams trade shots, but the Tornado started to show their offensive firepower out shooting the Mustangs in the period by a whooping 30-7 margin. The Tornado would tie the game at 1-1 on the power play as Jack Prince passed the puck to Donald Olivieri who lasered home a one timer slap shot from the point that Jones never saw go over his right shoulder.
Tornado net-minder Jimmy Kruger against stood tall in net, stopping two breakaways in the period. The led to the Tornado go ahead goal with 16 seconds remaining in the 2nd period as Josh Royston got a pass in the high slot from Tyler Mort and beat Jones to the blocker side giving Texas their first lead of the night.
The Tornado put their defensive screws to New Mexico in the 3rd period. Jimmy Kruger was solid in net stopping all 10 shots in the period. The Tornado put the game out of reach as a nice play by Sliwinski to keep the puck in the offensive zone got the puck to Taylor Hendron who sent a rocket of the shot from the left face off dot over the glove of Jones, who sent the stick into the netting of the goal for the 3-1 lead and eventual win. The Tornado once again dominated the shot chart as the NAHL Leaders pumped out a total of 55 shots towards Jones.
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