CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – Goaltender Brandon Bussi’s debut in an Amarillo Bulls uniform was thwarted away by the Corpus Christi IceRays on Thursday night at American Bank Center. The Bulls fell two points back of the IceRays for the fourth and final playoff spot in the South Division after a 4-3 shootout loss.
It was a see-saw affair all game long between the two teams that entered the game separated by just one point in the Division. Amarillo rallied from 2-1 and 3-2 deficits and survived overtime which had been an issue for the team prior to Christmas. Brendan Walkom, Jeff Solow and Steven Ipri tallied for Amarillo. Bussi was impressive in goal stopping 33 of 36 shots in faced, including a big opportunity on the goal line to keep his team within striking distance.
Brandon Bussi was acquired last week from the New Jersey Titans for forward Kosta Likourezos. Bussi was 7-4-1-0 in 15 games with the Titans in the East Division. The 6-4 Long Island Native is committed to St. Lawrence University and was a late cut of the Bloomington Thunder under Dennis Williams in the USHL.
It was certainly a quick start to the game for the Amarillo Bulls as they scored the game’s first goal just 90 seconds into the action. Brendan Walkom scored on a great shot from the high slot area from rookie Colin Price and defenseman Phil Fromberger. The rookie Price worked the puck around to Fromberger who spotted Walkom open in the high slot.
The IceRays pulled even just past the midway mark of the stanza when newcomer Larry Jungwirth’s shot eluded Bussi’s glove. The Bulls outshot the IceRays 10-8 in the first period.
Penalty trouble hurt the Bulls in the second period as Griffin Loughran scored on the power play with a great shot past the stick side of the goaltender. Seven minutes later, the Bulls tied the game when Jeff Solow worked hard to keep the puck in at the blue line and his second shot went through the legs of goaltender Tomas Vomacka. George Mika picked up an assist on the play. The Bulls outshot the IceRays 12-9.
It was a free-wheeling third period as the IceRays came out hard and grabbed another lead, this time, Mason Krueger was left alone in front of the net and he put the puck up high past the goaltender. The rally by the Amarillo Bulls continued as special teams helped them to tie the game. Brendan Michaelian’s shot from the point on the power play was deflected in by Steven Ipri who won the face off to start the sequence.
There was no scoring during the remainder of the third period and the team’s battled hard in overtime with the slate remaining clean. The IceRays won the game in the shootout when David Thomson scored the lone goal. Goaltender Vomacka turned aside Steven Ipr, Eric Cooley and George Mika.
The Amarillo Bulls were outshot by the hometown IceRays 36-29 each team had a power play goal in five attempts.
The two game set between the Amarillo Bulls and the Corpus Christi IceRays closes out tomorrow (Friday) night at 7 pm at American Bank Center. 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, Jan. 20 and Saturday Jan. 21 when the Bulls host the IceRays. Saturday is Star Wars Night in support of Children’s Miracle Network and the Bulls will wear special jerseys with an auction to follow immediately after the game.
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.