BLAINE, MN – The Amarillo Bulls perfect record on the opening day at the North American Hockey League Showcase in Blaine Minnesota came to an abrupt halt on Wednesday night at the hands of the Coulee Region Chill. Two third period goals were not enough as the Bulls dropped a 3-2 decision to the Coulee Region Chill. The loss dropped the Bulls to 5-1 at the Showcase on Day 1 and 1-2 in the 15-16 regular season.
It will be a short and quick turnaround for Amarillo tomorrow (Thursday) as they face the defending National Champion Minnesota Wilderness at 1:30 pm. (PRE-GAME SHOW COVERAGE 1:10 PM CBS SPORTS RADIO 1440, WWW.AMARILLOBULLS.COM AND PPV FAST HOCKEY). That’s the second straight year the Bulls will face a Robertson Cup winner (Fairbanks IceDogs 2014-15 Showcase) and the first time the two teams will oppose one another.
After falling behind 3-0 in the third period, George Mika, and Trent Dillinger rallied the Bulls to within a goal, but were unable to get the equalizer. One of the big stories of the night was Coulee Region goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks who stopped 24 of 26 shots he faced including some point blank opportunities from a number of Bulls’ players.
The opening period saw the Chill grab a 1-0 lead thanks to a power play goal from the point in the final five minutes. The Bulls were not without their chances as George Mika and Johan Lundgren were both stopped on chances near the front of the net by the young Chill netminder.
Coulee Region extended their lead to 2-0 midway through the second on a wrap-around play after sustained pressure inside the Bulls zone. Forward Joey Molinario missed on a chance right in the front of the net, and Murphy’s point shot hit a player and caused difficulty for the goaltender.
The Chill increased their advantage to 3-0 with a goal to start the third period. After that the Bulls kept battling hard and were rewarded for their hard work. Mika was left alone at the top of the slot and he slapped one home off the crossbar behind Kivlenieks. Joey Molinaro assisted on the goal. Less than a minute later, Trent Dillinger pulled Amarillo to within one when his shot from inside the blue line was too hot for the goaltender to handle. Jacob Nitsche and Brendan Murphy assisted on the goal.
There was some furious activity in the Coulee Region end over the final four minutes as the Bulls applied the pressure. In the final minute, with the goaltender pulled, the Bulls scrambled and tried to tie the game up but couldn’t get equalizer.
Despite the Bulls have the shot advantage in the third 10-7, Coulee Region maintained the advantage when the final horn sounded 33-26. Each team had one power play in the game with the Chill collecting the lone power play marker.
The Amarillo Bulls North American Hockey League schedule continues through the weekend at the Schwann Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota with games on Friday versus the Minot Minotauros at 1:30 pm and the Aston Rebels at 9 am Saturday morning.
Fans are reminded that hockey returns to the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center on Friday, Oct. 16 and Saturday, Oct. 17 when the Amarillo Bulls host the Corpus Christi IceRays at 7 pm. Friday is Family Fun Night, while Saturday is Pink in the Rink for Breast Cancer Awareness.
Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets including United Supermarkets or online at www.amarillobulls.com. For further information on Full or Half Season Tickets, 10 Game Flex Packs or Group Tickets, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.