That’s the reaction of the Amarillo Bulls players and coaching staff after ending a 12 game winless streak on Saturday night beating the Corpus Christi IceRays 5-2 at American Bank Center.
Bray Crowder notched a goal and an assist for the Bulls, including the game winner late in the second period. Jake Nitsche, Kosta Likourezos, Brendon Walkom and Luke Edgerton with his first in the North American Hockey League had the others. Nikita Babintsev was brilliant in net stopping 40 of 42 shots he faced.
Amarillo jumped over the Topeka RoadRunners and into fifth place in the crazy South Division trailing the IceRays by three points for fourth.
The Bulls faced adversity during the game but battled through it trailing at one point 2-1 early in the second period. Two goals 26 seconds part later in the stanza propelled the Bulls to the lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
The Amarillo Bulls played one of their stronger first periods in a while and out-chanced their opponents. Brendon Walkom gave the Bulls the early lead when he tipped home a point shot from Jeff Solow at 10:59. A short time later, the IceRays pulled even as Cody Fleckenstien scored at the side of the net from Jason Tripp. The Bulls kept pushing forward and Kosta Likourezos nearly notched one on a partial breakaway that was thwarted by Cam Burggrabe. Another Bulls chance was stopped at the side of the net as three players converged and battled for the loose puck. Amarillo was outshot by one 12-11 in the first period by the IceRays.
Corpus Christi gained a 2-1 lead early in the 2nd period when Jayson Dimizio finished off a play from Brad Power on a delay penalty call. After that, the Bulls banded together and took over momentum and control of the game with two goals 26 seconds apart. Jake Nitsche tipped home a shot from Bray Crowder at the point. On the ensuing face-off, Crowder fired a puck to the back of the net from Steven Ipri as the Bulls put plenty of traffic around goaltender Burggrabe. The IceRays outshot the Bulls 13-8 in the second period.
Nikita Babintsev protected the Bulls lead in the third period with timely saves, pushing the puck towards the open side so his teammates could easily get it out of the zone. Luke Edgerton, who had missed nearly two months due to injury, notched his first junior goal off a face-off win from Steven Ipri and Alex Truscott. Special teams rounded out the scoring in the final three minutes, as Kosta Likourezos scored his second of the weekend from Steven Ipri and Eric Cooley.
The Bulls penalty killing was outstanding again preventing the IceRays from scoring on four opportunities. The Corpus Christi IceRays outshot the Amarillo Bulls 42-29.
The extended road trip continues next weekend for the Amarillo Bulls when they visit the Shreveport Mudbugs next Friday and Saturday at George’s Pond Hirsch Coliseum at 7 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 the Wayland Baptist University Warm Up Show 20 minutes before the puck is dropped.
Hockey returns to the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center on Friday, Dec. 9 and Saturday, Dec. 10 when the Amarillo Bulls host the Topeka RoadRunners at 7 pm. It’s the return of $5 Friday tickets available at the Bulls Office only. Saturday’s the annual Toys For Tots Teddy Bear Toss and fans are encouraged to bring a new or gently used Teddy Bear or Stuffed Animal to the game and when the Bulls score their first goal, throw the toys onto the ice in support of the great cause. The Sonic Family 4 Pack for $44 (four tickets, four hotdogs and four sodas) and Sonic Bring A Bud Pack for $22 will both be available (two tickets, two hotdogs and two sodas). Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket locations including United Supermarkets or online at www.panhandletickets.com. For further information on Group Rates or the Christmas Package, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.