The Wichita Falls Wildcats came back from a 2-0 deficit to score four unanswered goals and take a 4-2 victory over the New Mexico Mustangs on Monday. The win gives the Wildcats 2-of-3 games in the weekend series between the North American Hockey League teams at Kay Yeager Coliseum.
Wichita Falls stayed on the attack against Mustangs’ goalie Randy Graham with 48 shots on goal, including 20 in the third period alone. New Mexico was held to just 27 shots on goal as Jo Jo Jeanetta picked up his second consecutive win between the pipes for the Wildcats.
Forward Zach Pochiro continues to wield a hot stick, picking up a goal and two assists in the game. Pochiro has scored goals in five consecutive games, racking up six goals and four assists in that span. The Nevada native currently leads the Wildcats with 15 goals on the season.
A nice crowd of just over 1,200 for the rare Monday night game saw both goalies in top form through a scoreless first period. New Mexico would finally break through in the second, taking a 2-0 lead in a span of less than five minutes.
Patrick Anderson broke the scoreless tie with his 10th goal of the season. The unassisted effort came 6:25 into the second period to give the Mustangs a 1-0 lead.
Fresh off a fine performance at the NAHL Top Prospects tournament, Evan Johnston put the Mustangs up 2-0 with his 13th goal of the season 11:06 into the middle period. Adam Chapie and Ryan Dau would both pick up their second assists of the series on the goal.
The New Mexico offense was stifled the rest of the game, coming up empty on just 14 more shots on goal through the rest of regulation. Meanwhile, the Wildcats mounted their comeback.
Tucker Poolman took a flawless pass from Renato Engler to put the Wildcats on the scoreboard with 1:47 left in the second period. Pochiro would record the secondary assist on the defenseman’s sixth goal of the season, cutting the Mustangs lead to 2-1 going into the second intermission.
The Mustangs one goal lead held until the 8:09 mark of the third period when Pat Thompson notched his first NAHL goal off a pass from Chris Pontello. Poolman would also record an assist on the Hellertown, Pennsylvania natives career first, which tied the game 2-2.
The crowd came to life when defenseman Sergei Soloviev scored what would be the game winning goal with 8:22 left to play. Engler and Pochiro would both get their second assists of the game on Soloviev’s third goal of the season and second game winner.
Pochiro would keep his streak alive, tacking on an insurance goal with 2:59 left to play. Former Alexandria Blizzard defenseman Rodney Lalonde recorded his first assist for the Wildcats on the goal.
Jeanetta recorded 25 saves on 27 shots to improve to 3-5-2 on the season. All three of Jeanetta’s wins this season have come against the Mustangs.
Graham stopped 44-of-48 shots, falling to 8-14-1 on the season. The Mustangs’ goalie is 0-3-1 in his last six appearances.
Wichita Falls improves to 19-27-5 and pick up five points with two wins and an overtime loss in the three game series. The Wildcats have tied the elusive fifth place Odessa Jackalopes with 43 points, and sit just five points behind the fourth place Corpus Christi IceRays.
New Mexico falls to 18-31-3 with the loss and are now four points behind the Wildcats in the standings.
The Wildcats are off until March 9-10 when the Jackalopes make their first ever appearance at Kay Yeager Coliseum for a two game series. The puck drops both nights at 7:05 p.m.