TOPEKA KS – The Amarillo Bulls found the perfect way to punctuate their Christmas Break. Four third period goals lifted the Bulls past the Topeka RoadRunners 5-2 at Kansas Expo Center Landon Arena on Saturday night.
It’s the Bulls first sweep of a South Division opponent this season and their first back-to-back wins since back in September. Amarillo had not won a series in Topeka since the 2012-2013 season.
Cole Lussier scored twice for the Bulls, while Eric Cooley, Jake Nitsche, and Brendan Walkom had the others. Cooley and Phil Fromberger each had two assists. Goaltender Nikita Babintsev stopped 20 of 22 shots he faced.
The Amarillo Bulls came out firing in the opening 20 minutes with 16 shots and about a dozen scoring chances, but unable to find the back of the net. Eric Cooley raced up around the Topeka defenseman but was denied by Ryan Snowden. Luke Edgerton hit two goal posts including one on a breakaway. The RoadRunners jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Devon Fields scored off a Bulls turnover just inside the Blueline.
It was a fast skating second period between the two teams with both goaltenders keeping busy. The Bulls tied the game at the 12:26 mark when Eric Cooley wired a shot past Ryan Snowden. Phil Fromberger and Matt Nehls earned assists on the play. Each team had 8 shots on goal in the stanza.
Topeka raced out to a 2-1 lead early in the third period when Jeff Makowski scored on a screen shots that eluded goaltender Nikita Babintsev. After it was all Amarillo with four straight goals to break the game wide open. Jake Nitsche, Eric Cooley and Tyler Miknich pushed hard inside the Topeka zone by keeping the puck at the blue line. Nitche grabbed the puck and fired it past the goaltender to tie the game. Two minutes later the Bulls had the lead for good when Cole Lussier netted his second of the game with a well placed shot in the top corner from Phil Fromberger.
Later in the period Brendan Walkom made it 4-2 when he converted a Bulls rush up the from George Mika and Bray Crowder at 13:25. Cole Lussier rounded out the scoring at the 16:24 mark when he launched a shot through from Eric Cooley and Jonathan Dagnal.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Topeka RoadRunners 35-22. No penalties were called in the game so neither team had a power play.
It will be nearly two weeks before the Amarillo Bulls return to action as they will visit the Odessa Jackalopes on Thursday, Dec. 29 and Friday, Dec. 30 at Ector County Coliseum. Fans can 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 6:40 pm. The puck drop for both games is set for 7 pm.
The Amarillo Bulls host the Odessa Jackalopes in the sixth annual New Year’s Eve game on Saturday, Dec. 31 at 7 pm at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. The night is sponsored by Budweiser and there will be Party Favors handed out at the door. Ticket promotions to be announced in the coming days at www.amarillobulls.com