AMARILLO, TX – The Amarillo Bulls put it all together in front of the hometown fans on Sunday night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. Five different goal scorers and a 22-save performance by Alexei Masanko powered the Bulls past the Topeka RoadRunners 5-0. The victory snapped a four game losing streak versus the Topeka and climbed the Bulls back into a tie for third place in the South Division.
Jon Russell, Steven Ipri, Alex Peterson, Jason Brancheau and Gleb Murtazin tallied for the Bulls. Masanko was solid in net in posting his first North American Hockey League win and shutout.
It was a brilliant performance by the Bulls that had fans remembering back to the first four years of the franchise where they played a brash, rough and tumble style that had opponents fearing their trip to the Texas Panhandle but fans excited to attend games. There were two fights and several skirmishes after the whistle.
Jon Russell and Steven Ipri opened the scoring for the Bulls with two goals in the first five minutes. The two forwards combined via the power play with the first goal as Russell potted home a pass from Ipri past the short side of the goaltender. A short time later, it was Ipri that did the work himself stealing the puck from the blue line and slipping it past the far post. The Bulls outshot Topeka 8-5 in the first period.
The power play went to work to start the second period as Brendan Michaelian’s point shot was tipped in by Alex Peterson at the 3:57 mark to make it 3-0. Topeka attempted to climb back into the game during the period but all of their opportunities were stopped either by the Bulls defense or goaltender Masanko. Each team had 11 shots on the goal in the stanza.
The third period had been a problem for the Bulls and their ability close out games when they had the lead. That wasn’t the case on Sunday night as the Bulls kept the peddle down and added two more goals. Jason Brancheau scored on a play near the side of the net from Quinn Warmuth and Gleb Murtazin. Near the end of the period Brancheau and Murtazin combined on the final goal to round out the scoring. Brancheau feathered a pass over to Murtazin who was able to beat the goaltender on a great shot.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot Topeka 32-22. There were 10 combined power plays in the contest with the Bulls going 2 for 7 and Topeka was 0 for 3.
Next home action for the Amarillo Bulls is this coming weekend when the first place Shreveport Mudbugs make their first trip to the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. Both games face-off at 7 pm. Friday is the arrival of Santa Claus and it’s also Family Night with the Family Four Pack for $44 and the Bring A Bud Pack for $22. Saturday it’s the annual Toys For Tots Teddy Bear Toss. 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.
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 by calling 806-242-1122.