The Texas Tornado (4-1-1, 9pts, #3 South) came into the opening weekend of games against Defending Robertson Cup Champion Fairbanks as a bit of an unknown. Kicking off the season 2-1-1 was a solid start, but Fairbanks had stormed to a 6-0-2 record before visiting the Dr Pepper Arena last weekend. And as they say in some circles, their reputation had preceded them to Texas.
But preparing for stern tests are nothing new for Coach Tony Curtale, who has already instilled some mental toughness in this group, and it was on full display early in the young season. Both games were hard fought right to the end, with Friday night's contest decided in OT while Saturday's match-up went the distance and had to be decided in the
skills comp, err, shootout.
More on this past weekend's action after the jump...
It has been said that one should never leave a hockey game, and that could not have been more true than this past weekend.
The Tornado opened their season on Friday night at the Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco and seemed to have their nerves in check for the most part as they rode solid goaltending from Reid Mimmack and a beautiful early 1st period goal by Taylor Herndon to a late 1-0 3rd period lead. It would not be held as a seeing-eye backhand found it's way through Mimmack's pads and tied the score at 1 with just under 5 minutes remaining in the 3rd. A Fairbanks penalty with 0.1 seconds left in regulation would give the Tornado a 4-on-3 PP in OT. With the man advantage about to expire, Jordan Lovick flew down the left wing, dropped a pass to Marc Biggs, who padded his goal-scoring lead by unleashing a Howitzer that blew by the Fairbanks goalie and sent the Tornado home with a 2-1 OT victory in the home opener.
There are some games you are just thankful to win, and this would fall into that category for the Tornado. After failing to register a shot in the first 13+ minutes of the game and trailing 4-2 with just under 12 minutes left in the game, Texas dug deep, got late 3rd period goals from Tyler Rostenkowski and Taylor Herndon and forced OT. After the teams traded glorious scoring chances in some good old-fashioned, 4-on-4, run-n-gun hockey, the shootout was left to decide the winner. Jack Prince, Jordan Lovick, and Justin Greenberg scored for the Tornado on shootout moves that would make a one, Mr. Ribeiro, quite happy and relied on Reid Mimmack to spit aside enough Ice Dogs opportunities to seal the victory for the Tornado in a game in which they were outshot 41-24.
With the home opening weekend in the books, the focus now shifts to the New Mexico Mustangs (2-5-0, 4pts, #7 South) who will venture to the Dr Pepper Arena this Friday, October 7th and Saturday, October 8th. New Mexico has struggled early this season, but will be looking for a confidence builder when they visit for the weekend series.
Tickets for all Tornado games start as low as $10 WITH FOOD and can be found here.
*In a side note/story. Three of the Texas Tornado goalies played in the Dallas Stars Alumni Classic this past weekend. While it was a bit of an "All-Star Game" experience as far as the goals allowed aspect goes, the guys had the chance to skate with some great current and former NHL players. Full story here.
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