The longest streak in Amarillo Hockey History came to an end on Saturday night.
The Amarillo Bulls suffered their first regulation loss in 22 games with a 4-2 setback to the New Mexico Mustangs at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. The Bulls last regulation loss occurred on Saturday, Nov. 22 spanning some 76 days between that day and tonight.
The South Division lead remained intact for the Bulls as they are still 13 points ahead of both the Topeka RoadRunners and the Texas Tornado. Texas dropped a 4-2 decision to the Wichita Falls Wildcats.
The difference in the game was the second period when New Mexico snapped a 1-1 tie with two goals in a span of 11 minutes. The Bulls mounted another third period charge, but couldn’t get the equalizer.
“New Mexico played well all weekend and I think we took them a bit for granted,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams. “We caught ourselves not being able to bury the puck the way we wanted tonight.”
Williams said he hopes the game will serve as an eye opener for the team.
“As I said coming up the stairs, sometimes a loss is just as good as a win,” said Williams. “We will learn from this and just move on and prepare for Tuesday (at Wichita Falls).”
It was a fast start to the period for the Amarillo Bulls as they came out strong and took the play to the Mustangs, outshooting the visitors 10-1. It would be New Mexico that would dominate for a five minute stretch and score the game’s first goal. Amarillo had the shots on goal advantage 14-12
In the second period the Bulls tied the game when Brooks Behling scored on one-timer from Clint Carlisle at 2:39. However, after that the Mustangs opened up a two-goal lead. The first goal was converted off a Bulls turnover and the second one was a deflection off a New Mexico player. New Mexico outshot Amarillo 16-13 in the middle stanza.
The third period was a rough-and-tumble one and featured a fight off the puck drop between John Rey and Dallas Crum. The Bulls were assessed two five minute major penalties in a span of just over two minutes. However, Amarillo’s penalty killing, ranked the best in the North American Hockey League, prevented New Mexico from adding to its lead.
The Bulls trimmed the deficit to 3-2 when Joe Kozlak tipped the puck from in front of the net on the power play from John Rey and Matt Johnson at 11:12. After that goal Mustangs Head Coach Jason Kerzner pulled goaltender Jake Stafford and replaced him with Randy Graham. The Bulls were unable to score in the final eight minutes despite having the extra attacker on a power play. The Mustangs scored into an empty net to round out the scoring.
New Mexico outshot Amarillo 41-39 including 29-25 over the final 40 minutes. The Mustangs were 0 for 7 on the power play, while Amarillo finished 1 for 4.
The Amarillo head on the road on Tuesday to face the Wichita Falls Wildcats at Kay Yeager Coliseum at 7 pm. Fans can tune into the game live on ESPN1440 and www.amarillobulls.com fueled by UStream, beginning with pre-game coverage presented by Wayland Baptist University at 6:45 pm.
The Bulls then move to Frisco to face the Texas Tornado in a big showdown at Dr. Pepper Arena on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm.
The next home game for the Amarillo Bulls is set for Friday, Feb. 24 and Saturday, Feb. 25 when the Bulls entertain the same Texas Tornado at 7 pm. Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets including United Supermarkets. For further information on Playoff Tickets, Group Rates or Corporate Marketing Partnerships, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.