CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – The Amarillo Bulls dominated their opponents on Friday night at American Bank Center, but had to hold on to beat the Corpus Christi Icerays 3-1.
It was the Bulls 16th win of the season and pulled them to within seven points of the idle first place Texas Tornado in the NAHL’s South Division. Dennis Williams’ charges fired 39 shots on goal and had most of the play inside the Icerays zone. The two teams will meet again on Saturday night back in Corpus Christi.
The Bulls opened the scoring when Matt Johnson scored on a partial breakaway, unassisted, at 9:05 mark. Approximately six minutes later, the Ice Rays pulled even when Mike Benedict converted a chance in front of the net.
In the second period, Amarillo regained the lead they wouldn’t relinquish when Zack Smoot’s shot eluded goaltender Marcus Wieser. Derek Hills earned an assist on the goal.
Mitch Rogge was tripped on a partial breakaway in the third period that set up a penalty shot. Rogge didn’t make a mistake as he found the back of the net to give the Bulls a two goal advantage at 3-1.
Goaltender Nikifor Szczerba for Amarillo did the rest as he turned aside 31 of 32 shots he faced including several big Corpus Christi chances late in the third period.
There were just a total of six power plays in the game with the Bulls going 0-4.
The Amarillo Bulls and the Corpus Christi Ice Rays will meet again on Saturday night at American Bank Center at 7 pm. Fans can tune into the game on ESPN1440 and the www.amarillobulls.com beginning with pre-game show coverage at 6:50 pm. Denis J. Puska is ill and didn’t make the trip so fans can listen to Icerays broadcaster Ryan Holt. The game is also available on Pay Per View courtesy of Fast Hockey and a high speed internet connection is required in order to view the game.