BLAINE, MN – The young Amarillo Bulls found a way to gut out a win at the 2017 North American Hockey League Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota on Friday night. Two goals in the opening period and then an empty net one that proved to be the game winner as the Bulls stopped the Bismarck Bobcats 3-2.
Brett Abdelnour, Marcus Chorney and Quinn Warmuth netted goals for the Bulls while Jason Grande was outstanding between the pipes stopping 36 of 38 shots he faced.
It was the fifth all-time meeting between the two teams that dates back to two previous Showcase match-ups and two others at the Robertson Cup National Championship tournament. The win by the Bulls was the fourth in five meetings.
“We didn’t play very well in the game but the boys found a way to gut it out and get the win,” said Bulls Head Coach Rocky Russo.
Marcus Chorney gave Amarillo a 1-0 advantage when he wired a shot off the goaltenders glove and just under the cross bar. The Bobcats argued that the puck did not go into the net, but after conferring with the goal judges the goal was deemed good. Simon Morberg and Alex Peterson earned assists on the play. Five minutes later, the Bulls added to their lead when Quinn Warmuth slapped a puck home off a face off win. The Bulls outshot the Bobcats 12-8 in the first period.
Much of the 2nd period was spent penalty killing by the Bulls and they did an excellent job limiting the opposition to just one goal as Patrick O’Connor scored from Jared Resseguie. Bismarck continued to press the issue in the stanza looking for the equalizer but Grande was quick to respond with glove saves and moving the puck away from his goal crease so his team mates could work the puck up the ice.
“We put ourselves in some bad spots with some stick penalties but that is going to happen from time to time with a young team,” said Russo. “With the exception of the one-timer goal, I thought our penalty kill was extremely solid and we got some great work from Brett Abdelnour, Steven Rex and Alex Boroweic, and all of our defense. Sometimes you get wins when you don’t deserve it and tonight was one of them.”
In the third period the Bulls were able to mount a better offensive charge but unable to push anything past Vladimir Cibulka. In the final two minutes, the Bulls were rewarded with a power play and Brett Abdelnour scored into an empty net from Jason Brancheau as Bismarck pulled their goaltender looking to tie the game. The Bobcats rounded out the scoring with a goal in the final second when Pavel Kharin tipped home the puck past Grande.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot by the Bismarck Bobcats 35-28. Bismarck was 1 for 8 on the power play while the Bulls were 1 for 6.
There is one final game left for the Amarillo Bulls at the NAHL Showcase and it takes place tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon at 12:45 pm versus the Northeast Generals from the East Division. 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 Warm Up Show at 12:25 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.