NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX – The Amarillo Bulls hadn’t surrendered a shorthanded goal in nearly three quarters of their North American Hockey League regular season, but that all changed on Friday night here at NYTEX Sports Center in North Richland Hills, Texas. The hometown Lone Star Brahmas tallied two goals five minutes apart, including a shorthanded goal to beat the Amarillo Bulls 3-2. The loss was the Bulls fourth straight on the road and extended their current losing streak to three games. That game was the first of three in a row between the two teams.
George Mika had a solid game for the Bulls notching both goals, while his line mate Eric Cooley had two assists. Goaltender Brandon Bussi was kept busy stopping 40 of 43 shots he faced and did his best to allow the Bulls to stay close with some timely saves.
It was an exciting start to the game for the Amarillo Bulls as they came out quickly and took the play to the hometown Lone Star Brahmas. George Mika notched his 25th goal of the season from Colin Price at the 4:54 mark of the first stanza. The Bulls had five of the game’s first seven shots, but after that the Brahmas netted the last 12 on goal. Lone Star tied the game up thanks to a power play goal from Austin Kamer who deflected in a shot past Brandon Bussi. The Brahmas outshot the Bulls 17-5 in the first period.
The Bulls came out firing in the first five minutes of the 2nd period and were rewarded for their hard work as George Mika was left alone at the side of the net and he fired a shot past Alec Calvarusso for his 26th of the year. The play started as a result of some hard work by the Bulls players including Eric Cooley along the boards and that allowed the puck to be worked free and sent over to Mika.
Lone Star tied the game up when the Bulls failed to clear the puck out of their own zone. Austin Kamer notched his second of the game when he scored on a feed from Jakob Melisko and Peter Kessel. Five minutes later, the Brahmas tallied the eventual game winner as the Bulls defenseman bobbled the puck near center ice allowing David Marabella to race in and launch a quick shot that eluded goaltender Bussi’s shoulder on the stick side. Amarillo nearly tied the game up at 3-3 as Nestor Plarsmo was sent in on a breakaway but his opportunity sailed over top of the net. Lone Star outshot Amarillo 17-8.
The final 20 minutes was wide open and produced several scoring chances by both teams. Colin Price and Brendan Michaelian both were stopped by goaltender Alec Calvaruso. The Bulls were also rewarded two power plays over the final seven minutes but failed to find the back of the net. In the final minute of regulation the Bulls pulled their goaltender looking for the equalizer and pressed the issue, but were unsuccessful in tying the game up.
The Lone Star Brahmas outshot the Amarillo Bulls 43-20 in the contest. The Brahmas got the lone power play goal between the two teams in 10 combined chances.
The Amarillo Bulls and the Lone Star Brahmas will meet again tomorrow (Saturday) night at 7:30 pm at NYTEX Sports Center. Tune into the action live on CBS Sports Radio 1440, online at www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV with Hockey TV beginning with the Wayland Baptist University Warm Up Show at 7:10 pm.
Hockey is Back at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center on Thursday, Friday, Saturday March 9-10-11 when the Amarillo Bulls host the Shreveport Mudbugs at 7 pm. 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 online at www.amarillobulls.com.