WICHITA FALLS, TX – The Amarillo Bulls extended their winless streak to eight games on Friday night. It was overtime again that was the end result as the hometown Wichita Falls Wildcats scored 15 seconds into the extra session to edge the Bulls 3-2 at Kay Yeager Coliseum. The overtime loss was the fifth by the Bulls this season and it marred an amazing comeback after falling behind 2-0. Jeff Solow and Eric Cooley, with his first in the North American Hockey League, netted the markers, while Nikita Babintsev who had a standout game, took the loss.
It was a slow start for the Amarillo Bulls as they managed just seven first period shots. The combination of Hayden Broomhead, Steven Ipri and Connor Inger gave the Bulls the best chance when they were pressing the Wildcats defense. Ipri’s centering pass towards the front of the net was deflected wide by Broomhead. The Wildcats jumped out to a 1-0 lead at the 12:55 mark when Steve Tillie scored on a knuckeball shot from inside the blueline.
The second period featured some outstanding work from goaltender Nikita Babintsev who made 20 saves, and also got a little help from defenseman Phil Fromberger who stopped a shot in the goal crease area. CJ Regula gave Wichita Falls a 2-0 lead early in the second when he fired a loose puck into an open net. After that it was the Bulls special teams that went to work and got the team on the board. Jeff Solow wired a shot past goaltender Jared Dempsey at the 13:41 mark from Phil Fromberger and Hayden Broomhead.
Amarillo came out firing in the final 20 minutes and tied the game. Quinn Warmuth kept the puck in at the blue line and then proceeded to fire it towards the net. Eric Cooley, with help from Connor Inger and Hayden Broomhead, scored on the third rebound attempt. The Wichita Falls Wildcats were rewarded with a penalty shot in the final seven minutes, but CJ Regula was stopped by the goaltender Babintsev. The Bulls had two power plays in the final four minutes of regulation time but were unable to score. The teams went into overtime tied and it was Alexi Poikola with the game winner as he one-timed a puck past Babintsev for the lone shot of the period.
The Wichita Falls Wildcats outshot the Amarillo Bulls 46-26. There were eight total power plays in the game with the Bulls going 1 for 4 and the Wildcats were 0 for 4.
The second game of the weekend series between the Bulls and the Wildcats is set for tomorrow (Saturday) night at 7 pm at Kay Yeager Coliseum. Fans can tune into the action live on CBS Sports Radio 1440, online at www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV with Fast Hockey, now Hockey TV beginning with the Wayland Baptist University Warm Up Show at 6:40 pm. Denis J. Puska has the hard-hitting action at 7 pm.