2/4/2013 9:59:00 AM Sundogs top Brahmas, extend win streak
Arizona Sundogs forwards Adam Smyth, left, and Cody Purves work the power play in Saturday night’s win over Ft. Worth.
The Arizona Sundogs won their third straight game on Saturday, nipping the Central Hockey League's third-place Fort Worth (Texas) Brahmas, 2-1, at the NYTEX Sports Center in North Richland Hills, Texas.
Behind yet another strong defensive performance, Arizona upset Fort Worth, which entered the weekend as arguably the hottest team in the league with a 7-2-1 record over its previous 10 games.
Sundogs team captain and interim coach Jason Morgan, who replaced departed head coach David Lohrei on Wednesday, is now 2-0-0 as the team's lead mentor.
With the win, Arizona inched above the .500 mark, sporting a 21-20-4 overall record.
More importantly, the Sundogs are now in a three-way tie for sixth place with the Bloomington (Ill.) Blaze and the Missouri Mavericks. Each team has 46 points. The top eight squads in the 10-team CHL will qualify for the 2013 playoffs when the season ends in late March.
Meanwhile, the Brahmas dipped to 24-15-5 (53 points). They had won seven of their past nine games heading into Saturday.
The Sundogs trailed Ft. Worth 1-0 just 6 minutes and 59 seconds into the first period after forward Sy Nutkevitch lit the lamp on an assist from forward Shawn Szydlowski.
But Arizona responded some 6-1/2 minutes later when forward Derek LeBlanc registered his 14th goal of the season on helpers from Chad Nehring and Jake Hauswirth.
Tied at 1-1 less than midway through the second period, Sundogs forward Ron Meyers drilled the go-ahead tally on an assist from Morgan. Arizona made the 2-1 lead stick for the final 32-plus minutes of regulation.
Sundogs goalie Adam Russo picked up the win, snapping a personal two-game losing streak, after converting 26 saves on Ft. Worth's 27 total shots. Russo owns an 11-7-3 record with a 2.82 goals against average and a .909 save percentage.
Brahmas net minder Brad Fogal suffered the loss, stopping 21-of-23 Sundogs shots. His record dropped to 10-8-1 with a 2.88 goals against average and a .902 save percentage.
Arizona next travels to the Denver Cutthroats for a Tuesday night showdown. The puck drops at 6:05 p.m.
Saturday's game marked only the fourth meeting between the Sundogs and the Brahmas this season. The teams are 2-2-0 against each other, but they will play seven more times, including a three-game series to finish the campaign in late March at Tim's Toyota Center.
Nehring, the Sundogs' leading scorer with 25 goals and 18 assists heading into the weekend, snapped a three-game scoreless streak with an assist versus the Brahmas.