THE SERIES: This is the first ever meeting between the Amarillo Bulls and the New Mexico Mustangs. It is the first of back to back games between the two teams. They will see each other again on October 30, but at Sana Anna Star Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
HISTORICAL NOTE: The cities of Amarillo and New Mexico have had a long history of playing one another in the game of hockey dating back to the former Western Professional Hockey League and later the Central Hockey League.
PENALTIES AND MORE: The Bulls and the New Mexico Mustangs rank in the top 10 as the most penalized teams in the NAHL. Amarillo is sixth, while the Mustangs are in eighth spot. In the specialty teams department, the Bulls are the seventh best penalty killers, while New Mexico is down on the list.
BULLS STATS PACK: The Amarillo Bulls are tied for third in the North American Hockey League with 26 goals for. The Fairbanks Ice Dogs lead the way with 35 goals, followed by the St. Louis Bandits and then Amarillo, Janesville Jets, and Corpus Christi. The Bulls and the Mustangs both have something in common, and that is starting quickly. Amarillo has scored nine first period goals, while New Mexico has tallied 10. However, in the final 40 minutes that is where the Mustangs have fallen off as they have been outscored 17-7. The Bulls and the Mustangs are a combined 5-1-1 when they are leading after 40 minutes of play. Amarillo (no record) has yet to be behind entering the third period, while New Mexico has not won (0-3-0).
UPCOMING SCHEDULE: Tomorrow night is the first of 14 Saturday home games for the Amarillo Bulls this season. The first 500 fans through the doors will receive a cowbell courtesy of Budweiser. It’s the first of three consecutive Saturday home games before the Bulls play one on the road. The month of October for Amarillo features a total of eight games includes several new opponents the New Mexico Mustangs, Topeka Road Runners and the Wichita Falls Wildcats.
BULLS LEADERS:Forward Zack Smoot leads the team in scoring with five goals and three assists for eight points, while Joe Kozlak has seven points. Cody Freeman is second on the team in goals scored with four, while defenseman Derek Hills is tops among assists with five. Goaltender Nikifor Szczerba has played in six of the team’s first seven games and has posted a 5-0-1 mark, with a sparkling goals against average of 1.66.
MUSTANGS SCORING: The New Mexico Mustangs head into the contest with an even record of 3-3-0 for six points. Jimmy Peplinski is their force offensively with seven points, while two other players share the goal scoring lead with four each.