AMARILLO, TX – For second straight game, the first 10 minutes of the game were a sticking point for the Amarillo Bulls on Thursday night in the first of three at home at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. The visiting Shreveport Mudbugs scored two goals in the first 10:08 of the opening period and beat the Bulls in a tight game 4-2.
On Sunday in North Richland Hills it was a similar story as the Lone Star Brahmas connected on the game’s first three goals and held off Amarillo 3-2.
Eric Cooley continues to play well for the Bulls as he accounted for both goals, while George Mika chipped in two assists. Cooley has five goals and seven points in his last four games, while Mika has three goals and four assists for seven points. Brandon Bussi took the loss in goal stopping 31 of 35 shots he faced.
The Bulls had opportunities to climb back in the game with special teams but managed just one goal on eight power play chances. The penalty killing has been strong for the Bulls with just two power play goals allowed in the last 25 dating back to last Friday.
It was a tough first period for the Amarillo Bulls as the visiting Shreveport Mudbugs have the home side on the run and the ropes for most of the stanza. Shreveport jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a great individual effort by Cameron Cook who fired a shot past the short side of Brandon Bussi. Eight minutes later, the Mudbugs made it 2-0 on Jackson’s Hartje’s eight goal of the season with a great shot that beat the goaltender. Luke Edgerton led the Bulls attack in the first with two shots on goal, including both from long range. Eric Cooley had the best chance in close and they were all turned away by Dylan Lubbesmeyer. Shreveport outshot Amarillo 17-4 in the first period.
Special teams got the Bulls on the board early in the second period as Eric Cooley tapped home a rebound in front of the net on a shot from the point off the stick of Brey Crowder at the 2:08 mark on the power play. That goal seemed to spark the hometown Bulls as they had energy and grit for the remainder of the stanza. The Bulls outshot the Mudbugs 15-13 in the second period.
It was an intense third period with the Bulls having several power plays including a 5 on 3. Eric Cooley was at the door step to get his second of the game but his shot was blocked by a defenseman. Later in the stanza, Shreveport added its fourth goal as Cam Cook scored his second of the game at the end of a power play. In the final minute, the Bulls penalty killing was able to nab the second goal as Eric Cooley scored his second of the game on a feed from Matt Nehls and George Mika. That was the Bulls 5th shorthanded goal of the season and second in the last three games. In the final minute of play, the Bulls pulled their goaltender looking to get the equalizer and had an offensive zone face-off but were unable to keep the puck inside the blue line. Steven Mather scored into an empty net to round out the scoring for the visitors.
The Amarillo Bulls were outshot 35-29. There were 14 combined power plays with each team scoring once.
These two teams will play again tomorrow (Friday) night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center at 7 pm. It’s Plains Dairy and 806 Sports Night and one lucky fan will win milk for a year. Nurses are being honored that night with free tickets to the game, while their family members can get discounted $8 tickets. For further information or to purchase tickets visit the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket locations including United Supermarkets. For further information, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.