AMARILLO, TX – For the first time since mid-January the Amarillo Bulls posted back-to-back wins, and it was the second period that fueled their attack.
The Bulls fired five second period goals including four in a row to beat the Wichita Falls Wildcats 7-3 and remain five points back of the sixth and final playoff spot in the South Division. The Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees kept their spread after beating Corpus Christi on the road.
It was a game that featured three disallowed goals with two of them to Amarillo. One of them the referee said the puck was held by the goaltender long enough and another was waived off because the puck actually went under the net. The Wildcats had a goal called back in the second period.
Charlie Combs notched two goals for the Bulls and had two assists, while Joe Leonidas, Will Harrison, Luke Novak, and Joey DiBenedetto chipped in singles. Novak also added three assists, while Ben Jentsch had two. Goaltender Jacob Weatherly posted the win in goal. After letting in two goals early in the contest he settled down and was very effective turning aside 26 of 27 shots he faced over the final 40 minutes.
The Amarillo Bulls had the shot advantage and carried much of the play in the opening 20 minutes of play. The Bulls capitalized on several odd-man rushes but were only able to get one past goaltender Austin Shaw. The Wildcats scored two goals 35 seconds apart. The first one was scored on a turnover in deep while the second one was as a result of a pass in front of the net. It didn’t take long for the Bulls to get that one back as Riley Christensen converted a shot in front from Trent Dillinger and Kyle Hartman at 8:10. Hartman began the play keeping the puck in at the blue line and his shot was miss-handled by goaltender Austin Shaw. The Bulls outshot the Wildcats 13-8 in the first period.
Will Harrison tied the game early in the second period when his shot beat goaltender Austin Shaw up high. Luke Novak and Tristan Rostagno picked up assists on the goal. Sixty one seconds later, the Wildcats regained the lead when they converted a rebound and scramble in front of the net. After that it was all Amarillo Bulls with four straight markers.
It started with Joe Leonidas’ shot went through a screen at the 8:31 mark from Joey DiBenedetto and AJ Duggan. Nearly two minutes later, the Bulls took the lead for good when Charlie Combs scored after Ben Jentsch kept the puck in at the blue line. Combs was at it again four minutes later when he scored on the power play from newcomer George Mika and Luke Novak. The Bulls added their fifth goal of the stanza in the final 90 seconds as Joey DiBenedetto scored at the side of the net from Ben Jentsch and Charlie Combs.
At the other end of the rink it was Jacob Weatherly who preserved the lead with some great saves including several off the sticks of some of the Wildcats’ top point getters. The Bulls outshot the Wildcats 18-16 in the second.
The Wildcats came on with an early flurry to start the final period that the Bulls were able to withstand. Luke Novak got on the scoreboard when he converted a great passing play on the man advantage from Will Harrison and Charlie Combs.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Wichita Falls Wildcats 41-34. The Bulls were 50 per cent on the power play going 3 for 6 while the Wildcats failed to score on three attempts.
The Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center will certainly be a busy place tomorrow night (Saturday) at 7 pm when the Bulls host the Wildcats to close out the weekend series. It’s Suddenlink Night and there will be Disney characters in attendance for fans to get their pictures with. It’s also Boys and Girls Scouts Night with many expected from across Texas and New Mexico.
Tickets are available including the $5 section at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk or by calling 242-1122. Additionally, tickets may also be purchased at the Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets including United Supermarkets or online at www.panhandletickets.com.