BLAINE, MN – An early deficit was too much to overcome for the Amarillo Bulls on the opening day of the North American Hockey League Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota on Wednesday afternoon.
The Bulls fell behind 3-1 in the first 21 minutes of the game and dropped a 3-2 decision to the Wilkes-Bare/Scranton Knights. That loss dropped Amarillo’s record to 6-2 in eight first game games at the annual event at the Schwann Super Rink.
Marcus Chorney and Jon Russell netted goals for the Bulls, while Jason Grande took the loss in goal. The young goaltender stopped 35 of 38 shots he faced. The difference in the game was a 40- second span when Wilkes-Bare/Scranton was able to score twice and take the lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
The Knights got goals from Tyson Bronte, Curtis Carlson and Reed Robinson. Christian Stoever posted the win in goal turning aside 23 of 25 shots he faced. The Bulls will be back in action tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon at 5:30 pm versus the Minnesota Wilderness who were blanked 1-0 by the Philadelphia Rebels.
In Wednesday afternoon’s contest, the Bulls drew first blood at the 5:05 mark of the game as Marcus Chorney fired a shot past goaltender Stoever, following a great pass from Michael McPherson. Nine minutes later Wilkes-Bare Scranton tied the game when Tyson Bronte scored on a play in front of the net. The Bulls had pressure in the Knights’ zone to start but an errand pass send the team into retreat mode and allowed the opponent to set up a play. Forty seconds later, Curtis Carlson was able to make a move around the Bulls defense and score to make it 2-1. Wilkes-Bare Scranton outshot the Bulls 13-9 in the first period.
The middle stanza didn’t start well for the Bulls as Reed Robinson bounced a shot off the pad of goaltender Grande and into the net to extend the advantage to 3-1. The Bulls had several quality chances to score including ones by Jason Brancheau and Steven Rex but were unable to collect the loose rebounds in front of the net. The Bulls were outshot 10-7 by Wilkes-Bare/Scranton in the second period.
Amarillo’s offense and work-ethic came alive in the third period as the team attempted to mount a comeback. The hard-work was rewarded on the power play when Jon Russell threw a puck in front of the net that Alex Truscott was able to put near the goal crease. Russell was able to take his stick and push the puck by the goaltender and into the net to cut the deficit to 3-2.
The last minute was frantic as the Bulls penalty killing worked the puck up the ice and applied pressure with the goaltender pulled inside the Knights zone. However, despite numerous attempts the Bulls were unsuccessful in tying the game.
The Wilkes-Bare/Scranton Knights outshot the Amarillo Bulls 38-25. There were five total power plays with the Bulls netting the lone marker.
The North American Hockey League Showcase resumes tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon for the Amarillo Bulls as they face the Minnesota Wilderness at 5:30 pm. Fans can tune into the action live on CBS Sports Radio 1440, online at www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV with Hockey TV beginning with pre-game show coverage at 5:05 pm.
Hockey is back at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center on Friday, Sept. 29 and Saturday, Sept. 30 when the Bulls host the defending Robertson Cup National Champion Lone Star Brahmas at 7 pm. Friday is College Night with Discounted Tickets available.
Fans can purchase tickets to both games at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket locations including United Supermarkets or by calling 1-806-242-1122.