26 in 26: Lone Star Brahmas
August 30, 2019
The 26 in 26 series features a look at all 26 teams in the NAHL for the 2019-20 season, with a new team being highlighted daily, leading all the way up until the start of the regular season. 26 in 26 looks into each NAHL team and will include video interviews with 26 coaches in the NAHL, as they provide fans with their expectations and outlook for the season, including taking a look at their strengths as a team and thoughts on the league. It will also take a look back on last season and how each team fared and what they accomplished.
Lone Star Brahmas
Head Coach: Dan Wildfong (7th Year)
2018-19 record: 31-21-8, 70 pts. (2nd in the South Division)
2018-19 leading scorer: Matt Guerra (53 pts.)
2019 Playoffs: Lost to the Shreveport Mudbugs in the South Division Semi-Finals, 3 games to 2
2019-20 Division: South
First regular season game: Wednesday, September 18th vs. Aberdeen Wings
Home opener: Friday, September 27th vs. Corpus Christi IceRays
The Lone Star Brahmas yet again had another successful season in the South Division as they finished with a record of 31-21-8 to give them 70 points and second place in the division standings. Once again in the postseason, they faced off against the Shreveport Mudbugs. After trading wins in Games 1 through 4, the two teams engaged in a Game 5 instant classic.
To the dismay of the Lone Star faithful, it was the Mudbugs potting the series winning goal in triple overtime. The mad scramble brought an end to the Brahmas season. Despite the early playoff exit, 12 Brahmas players earned NCAA commitments, nine of them being Division I opportunities.
“We had a really young team last year and we didn’t get where we wanted to go but I think we gained some experience to go hopefully where we want to go this year,” said Lone Star Brahmas head coach Dan Wildfong. “We’re excited about the new group coming in and the returners coming back so it’s a very exciting time in Brahmaland.”
While Lone Star will potentially bring back a lot of veterans, there are still a few key pieces that Wildfong’s staff will have to replace.
“We lost both our goaltenders, they both are going to be playing Division I so we had to fill those spots. We don’t have a lot of defenseman back, we had to replace a lot,” said Wildfong. “We didn’t have a lot of returners last year but this year we have the potential to have a lot guys returning and know our systems and know what were about and how we’re going to play.”
If the Lone Star Brahmas want to go deeper in the playoffs, they are going to need to address their issues up front. The Brahmas scored just 143 goals over the 60-game regular season, averaging just over two goals per game. They ranked 21st out of the 24 NAHL teams last season in scoring. Only Maryland, Kenai River and Brookings scored less. They were also the lowest scoring team to qualify for the Robertson Cup playoffs. The Brahmas had just three players reach the 40-point plateau in 2018-19.
Defensively, the Brahmas have long been one of the best clubs in preventing goals. Since the 2014-15 season, Lone Star has ranked in the top five in goals allowed every season. Prior to this past season, the Brahmas ranked in the top three each of the last four years.
The Brahmas are seeking to get back to the Robertson Cup and win their second title in four years and coach Wildfong is confident that this group could be the one that gets Lone Star back to the top of the NAHL.
“Our team goals are to win the Robertson Cup like a lot of teams. There’s obviously a lot of work that we’ve got to put in to win that. It’s not easy, we’ve won it before, we know what it takes but it is a journey and I’m really excited about the group I’m going to go into battle with here,” said Wildfong. “We got a great organization, great coaching staff all around and we’re excited about this journey.”
Next up: Maine Nordiques