HIDALGO, TX – The Amarillo Bulls extended their win streak to nine games on Friday night.
Two goals in the first 40 minutes and Collin Delia did the rest as the Bulls edged the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees 2-1 at State Farm Arena in Hidalgo.
It was the Bulls 10th win of the season and it put them in sole possession of third place in the South Division. Brendan Vetter and Roman Ammirato notched the goals for the Bulls, while Delia stopped 21 of 22 shots he faced.
The first 40 minutes was controlled by the Bulls who couldn’t get an important insurance goal on the power play in the third, to put the game out of reach and stop any type of comeback. After the Killer Bees scored to make it 2-1, they couldn’t get the equalizer after pulling the goaltender.
“We had two big power plays in the third period but couldn’t score and that gave Rio some life,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams. “Our guys were able to find a way to close the game out for the victory.”
It was the first ever meeting between the two teams and it seemed to take them some time to feel one another out. The Killer Bees had a couple of good scoring opportunities but were denied by Collin Delia. The Bulls continued a string with at least one power goal in each game with a goal by Brendan Vetter. Roman Ammirato and Matt Sieckhaus set up the play at the 14:05 mark. Ammirato and Tyler Gernhofer missed on two great chances earlier in the period that were denied by goaltender Nick Schmit. The Killer Bees outshot the Bulls 11-8 in the first period.
“There is no familiarity with our opponent,” said Williams. “One thing about junior hockey, and we noticed it playing Topeka this year is that it’s all new. There is so much turnover every year, and if you are doing the right thing and moving players on to college then you want to have 12 or 13 guys gone.”
The Bulls raced out to a 2-0 advantage 2:08 into the second period on a wrap around goal by Roman Ammirato who banked a shot off goaltender Nick Schmit and into the net. Amarillo had a strong stanza controlling most of the play, firing 12 shots on goal. Collin Delia wasn’t that busy but the three saves he made were big ones.
The final 20 minutes featured three fights and several skirmishes after the whistle. After the Bulls failed to score on a late power play chance, the Killer Bees pulled to within one 15 seconds after that on a shot that eluded goaltender Delia. Despite getting outshot 8-5 in the third period, the Bulls still maintained the shot advantage over Rio Grande Valley 25-22.
There were six total power plays in the game with the Amarillo Bulls going 1 for 4 and Rio Grande Valley was 0 for 2.
The Amarillo Bulls look for their 10th win of the season tomorrow (Saturday) night when they close out the series with the Killer Bees. Fans can tune into the game live on CBS Sports Radio 1440, www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV courtesy of Fast hockey, beginning with the Wayland Baptist University Warm Up Show at 6:15 pm. Denis J. Puska has the hard hitting action to follow at 6:35 pm.
Hockey returns to the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center next Friday and Saturday as the Amarillo Bulls host the Topeka Road Runners at 7 pm. Friday is United Way Night while Saturday is Panhandle Spirit Night and $1 hotdogs. Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets including United Supermarkets. For further information on Group Rates, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.