The Texas Tornado is riding an NAHL season-best 12-game winning streak, and, looking at the numbers, it’s not hard to figure out why the team has had such success during that stretch.
The Tornado leads the league in shots on goal per game, averaging over 40 a contest. It’s also second in the league in shots allowed per game (just under 24) and it’s undefeated in regulation against the South Division, going 10-0-1.
However, Tornado head coach Tony Curtale believes the main reason for the early success lies within the depth of the roster and the consistency of the players’ performance.
“It’s one thing for a guy to step in and play, but it’s another for a guy to step in and have immediate success,” said Curtale. “The day this winning streak began, we lost two of our top forwards, followed by a third a week later.
“We’re where we are because the guys who had to step in and play have made a difference right away. It’s a testament to them buying into the system and utilizing their talents to their full ability.
“We don’t worry about the other team; we worry about ourselves,” he continued. “We’ve played some tough competition and our players make mistakes, but they learn from them and move on. That’s the most important thing.”
And who can argue? The Tornado has 20 players on the roster who have scored at least one goal this season and contributions are coming from young and old.
First-year Tornado players have accounted for 31 of the team’s 75 goals scored.
“Contributions are coming from everywhere,” said goaltender Jimmy Kruger, statistically the best goaltender in the NAHL. “One night, if the offense is down, the defense steps up. The next night it may be the exact opposite.
“When you look at the scoresheet at the end of some of these games, it always seems like someone new or different is stepping to the forefront and providing us with the spark when we need it.”
The Tornado hopes to keep the streak alive this weekend when Corpus Christi comes to down for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday.
“It’s nice to know that if things don’t go 100 percent right for you on a particular night, a teammate is there to back you up,” Kruger added. “It gives everyone a lot of confidence.”
SOUTH DIVISION NOTEBOOK
AMARILLO BULLS: With last weekend off, the Bulls visit Wichita Falls to face off against the Wildcats on Saturday. It’s Amarillo’s only game of the weekend. The Bulls are 2-2-1 on the road this season.
CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS: Four different players scored in the IceRays’ 4-2 victory over Wichita Falls last Thursday. Forward Ben Hughes, a 19-year-old from Jacksonville, Fla., notched the game-winner.
TOPEKA ROADRUNNERS: Top Prospects Tournament selection Michael Hill put home two goals and two assists in the ‘Runners’ 6-4 victory over Springfield on Saturday. "Michael stepped up when we needed him and scored some timely goals that really got us going," head coach Scott Langer said of the 20-year-old from Fort Worth, Texas.
WICHITA FALLS WILDCATS: Forward Ryan Frost, 20, connected for two goals, including the game-winner, in the Wildcats’ 4-2 win over Corpus Christi on Friday. The Top Prospects Tournament selection from Corona, Calif., leads the team in scoring with 21 points.
NEW MEXICO MUSTANGS: Forward Ian McGilvrey tallied the Mustangs’ only goal last weekend in two losses to Texas. It’s the first goal for the 18-year-old from Omaha, Neb., as a member of New Mexico since being acquired from Janesville earlier in the season.