WICHITA FALLS, TX – Special teams were in the difference in the between the Amarillo Bulls and the Wichita Falls Wildcats on Friday night at Kay Yeager Coliseum. The Bulls yielded a shorthanded and a power play and dropped a 5-3 decision to the South Division leading Cats.
The game’s script was very similar to the last two games for the Bulls as they dug themselves an early 3-0 deficit, but were only able to get back to a one goal game on two different occasions. George Mika, Coale Norris and Joey Molinaro tallied for Amarillo while Brian Baker took the loss in goal. It was Baker’s third straight Friday night start.
Special teams in the first period led to the Bulls giving up the game’s first goal. The Wichita Falls Wildcats netted their 11th shorthanded goal of the season to take a 1-0 lead. The Wildcats had the Bulls on the run in the first period firing 18 shots on goal but Brian Baker kept the team in the game with some great stops. The Bull best chance in the first period came off the sticks of George Mika on the power play and then later Liam Ferguson who’s shot was nearly mishandled by goaltender Julian Sime.
The second period opened up with the Wildcats cashing in a chance to make it 2-0 in the first three minutes. The Bulls penalty killing which had been pretty good in the first period left a man uncovered at the side of the net and the hometown Cats had a 3-0 lead. Amarillo’s offence chipped away at things in the second period and managed to get 15 shots on goal, while limiting Wichita Falls to just 11. In the final minute, George Mika deflected home a shot off his skate from Jeff Solo on the power play to make it 3-1.
The Bulls power play got rolling in the third period as Coale Norris got into the offence tipping in a shot from Jeff Solo at the 2:50 mark. Wichita Falls restored its two goal lead on a busted play and a shot that eluded goaltender Brian Baker.
The resiliency of the Bulls continued to be strong down the stretch of the game as Joey Molinaro’s scored his 16th of the year on a great second effort. The play started when the Bulls were finally able to clear the zone and work the puck up to Zack Sarnowski who spotted Molinaro open. The Bulls pressed hard in the final minute looking for the equalizer but it was Wichita Falls collected the puck along the far boards and depositing it into the empty net.
For just the second time in their last seven games, the Bulls were outshot by their opponent as the Wildcats had the advantage 37-26.
The Amarillo Bulls and Wichita Falls Wildcats close out a weekend series tomorrow (Saturday) night at 7 pm at Kay Yeager Coliseum. Fans can tune into the action on CBS Sports Radio 1440, online at www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV with Fast Hockey beginning with the Wayland Baptist University Warm Up at 6:40 pm. Denis J. Puska has the hard hitting action to follow.
Hockey is back at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center on Friday, Mar. 11 and Saturday, Mar. 12 when the Bulls host the Topeka RoadRunners at 7 pm. Friday is Community Options and 806 Sports Night, while Saturday Khiva Shriners Night. The Bulls will wear specialty jerseys with a live auction to follow after the Saturday game with proceeds to benefit the Shriners. Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office or Panhandle Ticket Outlets including United Supermarkets or by calling 806-242-1122.