AMARILLO, TX – The Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees spoiled the 5th anniversary home opener of the Amarillo Bulls on Friday night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. It was discipline that led to a late power play and allowed the visitors to nap the game winner late in the third period, and then go on to a 5-3 victory over the Bulls.
The Bulls saw a 3-2 third-period lead evaporate as Rio Grande Valley scored even strength to tie the game, and then took the lead on that late power play. Cody Gylling, Kasper Emanuelsson and Robert Smits scored for the Bulls, while Jacob Weatherly was handed his first regulation loss of the season.
Amarillo Bulls fans welcomed the new look team with a terrific opening ceremony as each player was introduced. Rio Grande Valley cooled the crowd by notching the game’s first goal on the power play to make it 1-0. The Bulls kept battling and pushing forward, tying the game with a power play goal of their own. Cody Gylling’s quick wrist shot beat goaltender Nick Schmit to tie the game from Ruslan Rhakmatov. The Bulls had the better scoring opportunities and shots on goal total 13-11 in the first stanza.
Robert Smits gave the Bulls a 2-1 lead just 24 seconds into the second period when he tipped home a pass from Cody Cylling. Ruslan Rakhmatov started the play when he intercepted an Killer Bees clearing attempt out of their zone. Four minutes later, the Killer bees tied the game when the Bulls failed the clear the puck out of their own zone. The Bulls missed several opportunities to take the lead as Connor Wood and Mitchell McPherson were stopped by goaltender Nick Schmit. The Bulls held the shot lead 13-7 through 40 minutes.
A five-on-three power play gave the Bulls a 3-2 advantage early in the third period when Kasper Emanuelsson’s shot along the ice beat goaltender Schmit. Ruslan Rakhmatov and Robert Smits picked up assists on the play. The Killer Bees tied the game 3-3 when they converted a three-on-two rush up the ice. Four minutes later, the visitors took the lead for good on the power play. The Bulls pulled their goaltender in the final minute looking for the equalizer, but surrendered an empty net goal that rounded out the scoring.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees 37-27 including 11-9 in the third period. Each team was able to score two power play goals with the teams combining for 11 power play attempts.
Opening weekend for the Amarillo Bulls concludes tomorrow (Saturday) night when they host the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees for a second time. The face-off is set for 7 pm. The Bud Light girls will be in attendance to welcome fans to the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets. For further information on Group Rates, or 10 game Flex Packs, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.
Fans not making it to the game, can tune in 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 6:40 pm. Denis J. Puska has the hard hitting action to follow.