WICHITA FALLS, TX – The Amarillo Bulls couldn’t recover from a tough start to the game on Saturday night at Kay Yeager Coliseum. The Wichita Falls Wildcats scored three first period goals and held on to beat the visiting Bulls 4-2 in the final regular season meeting between the two teams.
After that rough start the Bulls settled down and played inspiring hockey over the final 40 minutes attempting to fight their way back into the game and seized the momentum for a long stretch. George Mika and Jovan Zimmerman tallied for the Bulls in the contest. Zimmerman’s goal was his first in the North American Hockey League and it came on the power play in the third period. After letting in three goals in the first period, goaltender Brandon Bussi settled down and played well.
Special teams pushed the Wildcats ahead 1-0 in the first seven minutes of the game as defenseman Jonathan Waring’s point shot went off the cross bar and then hit the back of goaltender Brandon Bussi before trickling across the goal line. Five minutes later Blake Ripley gave Wichita Falls a 2-0 lead when his teammates won a puck battle along the wall and then found the forward alone in the slot area. Late in the stanza the Wildcats struck for their first goal as Ryan Burnett scored off a rebound at the side of the net. Wichita Falls outshot Amarillo 10-5 in the first period.
The second period was a little feisty between the two teams as there were several skirmishes after the whistle. The Bulls killed off their second five minute penalty of the weekend as Brendan Walkom was sent out of the game for a contact to the head. Amarillo finally tallied its first goal of the weekend as George Mika wired a shot past goaltender Jared Dempsey. The Bulls were rewarded with a five minute power play of their own as forward llya Skevortsev was sent out of the game for a hit from behind on Brey Crowder. Amarillo outshot Wichita Falls 13-10 in the middle stanza.
The final 20 minutes was played at a feverish pace but the Bulls were unsuccessful at cutting further into the Wildcats lead. Cole Lussier had great scoring chance thanks to a pass from newcomer Brock Montgomery. Goaltender Dempsey came up with a great save to deny Lussier. Ricky Carballo gave the homeside a three goal lead when he redirected a rebound past Bussi’s pad into the net. The Bulls rounded out the scoring late in the game as Jovan Zimmerman tallied his first junior goal on a great pass from Eric Cooley.
The Wichita Falls Wildcats outshot the Amarillo Bulls 30-28. Each team had one power play goal in six opportunities.
The Amarillo Bulls return to action next Friday, Saturday and Sunday when they visit the Lone Star Brahmas at NYTEX Sports Center in North Richland Hills, TX. The games are set for 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday and 4 pm on Sunday. Fans can tune into 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 20 minutes before the puck is dropped.
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.