ODESSA, TX – After an 18 month layoff, the Amarillo-Odessa rivalry was renewed North American Hockey League style on Saturday night at Ector County Coliseum.
The Amarillo Bulls won their 10th of the season, defeating the Odessa Jackalopes 2-1 in a feisty affair. Joe Kozlak netted the game winner with 30 seconds remaining in the second period and the Bulls defense and goaltender Gregg Gruehl did the rest. Gruehl stopped 18 of 19 shots he faced including some big ones during the second period
This was the second straight weekend that the Bulls were able to seep their opponents. It was a tight game that featured lots of big hits and skirmishes after the whistle.
It didn’t take long for the new Amarillo-Odessa rivalry to heat up as John Rey and Alex Ostrowski went at it in a great fight. The Bulls jumped out to a 1-0 advantage when Karl Beckman fired home a shot from Darren McCormick and Omar Mullan at 9:29. The play was set up by the strong forechecking of McCormick, Mullan and Clint Carlisle. The Bulls outshot the Jackalopes 11-5 in the first period.
In the second period the Bulls had a two consecutive power plays, including a five on three but failed to score. The Jackalopes tied the game up when they converted their second man advantage of the game. It remained tied until the final 30 seconds of the period when Brandon Lubin’s shot from the point was tipped in by forward Joe Kozlak,
The Bulls controlled most of the third period and limited Odessa to just a few scoring chances. The Jackalopes pulled their goaltender in the final 90 seconds but couldn’t’ get the equalizer.
Amarillo outshot Odessa 28-19. There were a total of 11 power plays in the game with the Jackalopes scoring the lone goal.
Hockey returns to the Budweiser Bull Pen next weekend when the Amarillo Bulls look to continue their red hot play. On Saturday, Oct. 29 the Bulls entertain the Wichita Falls Wildcats at 7 pm. It’s United Way Night and the Bulls will wear their special United Way jerseys. A live auction followed immediately after the game with proceeds to benefit the United Way. A portion of the ticket sales from Saturday’s game will also benefit that organization.
On Sunday, Oct. 30 the Amarillo Bulls host the Topeka RoadRunners at 6 pm. All children 13 and under can come watch the game free. Tickets can be picked up at the Bulls Office or at the Civic Center Box Office.