The Wichita Falls Wildcats are back home for what could be the last stand of not just their season, but their existence as a franchise.
With their future uncertain, they get set to host the Lone Star Brahmas for Game 3, and if necessary, 4 of their NAHL South Division First-Round series. The Brahmas won the first two games of the best-of-5 series last week in North Richland Hills, pushing the Wildcats to the brink.
After playing very well for the first 50 or so games of the season, the bottom fell out in the final 10 for the Wildcats. They went 0-8-2 after a win on March 10, falling to 4th place and setting up the matchup with the Brahmas.
That skid has extended to 12 straight losses with the two playoff losses, but Head Coach Josh Nelson is confident one win is all it will take to get back on track.
"You know, we're just a dangerous team," Nelson said Thursday. "If we just get this one victory here, get this taste in our mouth again, I think a lot of teams will be a little nervous for us. So I think it's just finding a way to get that one."
For the past few weeks Nelson has at least had some help behind the bench. For much of the season after taking over the lead duties from Tony Curtale in November, the young coach has been alone leading the team. But in late March, Corey Leivermann came up from the Jersey Shore Wildcats to serve as assistant coach.
The two go way back, as they were college teammates at Minnesota State.
"It's been great," said Nelson. "He's one of my good buddies from college, played over in Mankato there. And he's just a great person, human being. Brings a lot of energy and passion to this sport, and I think it's very good for these boys to have some rejuvenation and some extra energy here, so it's been great."
Nelson and the Wildcats hope for a big crowd on Friday night as it could be the final chance to see hockey in Wichita Falls for a while, but they also hope to see that same crowd Saturday, by making Game 4 a necessity.
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