ODESSSA, TX – For just the second time in four years the Amarillo Bulls have suffered a loss to the Odessa Jackalopes. A late third period rally fell short and the Bulls dropped a 6-4 decision at Ector County Coliseum on Friday night. The Jackalopes only other regular season win against Amarillo came at home last season. The Bulls did allow Odessa to win a playoff game during the 2011-2012 Robertson Cup Playoffs.
Cody Gylling, Luke Novak, Ben Jentsch and Brady Crabtree tallied for the Bulls while Anton Martinsson took the loss in goal. The Bulls grabbed a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes of play but were then outscored 5-2 over the final 40 minutes. Four of the six goals scored by Odessa came as a result of converting several three-on-one or three on two breaks up the ice as the Bulls defenseman were caught pinching into the offensive play.
It was the second missed opportunity by the Amarillo Bulls to take a lead over the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees for the sixth and final playoff spot in the South Division. The Killer Bees were blanked 6-0 in Topeka.
The home-town Odessa Jackalopes came out strong in the first 20 minutes and outworked the Bulls. The Jackalopes were rewarded for their efforts with a goal in the first 94 seconds of play. The Bulls responded near the midway mark when Ben Jentsch scored on a shot from the blueline from Jesper Synellius and Joey DiBenedetto. Four minutes later, the Bulls capitalized on the third Odessa offensive zone turnover to take the lead. It was Brady Crabtree scoring unassisted at 13:43. Anton Martinsson kept his team in front with some timely saves especially several on an Odessa power play. The Bulls were outshot 20-8 in the first period.
The Bulls had gotten their issues figured out in the second periods, recently. But Friday night that middle stanza caused problems again as Amarillo gave up three goals and fell behind 4-2 after 40 minutes. Two of the Jackalopes goals were scored on three on two breaks up the ice, and in a three minutes span. The final goal of the trio was tallied in the final minute of play. The Bulls power play had two chances in the period but unable to convert. Ben Jentsch had the best look but Johansson was able to stop him with the glove. Luke Novak had a great scoring opportunity in the final minute of play, but he ran out of room in the front of the net and the goaltender was able to make the save. Odessa outshot Amarillo 12-11 in the second period.
Cody Gylling got the Bulls rallying in the third period when he scored just 62 seconds into play from Will Harrison and Charlie Combs. Five minutes later, the Jackalopes regained a two-goal cushion when a shot up high beat goaltender Jacob Weatherly who replaced Anton Martinsson. Luke Novak brought the Bulls again to within a goal beating goaltender Robin Johansson with a low shot. Elijiah Barriga and Tristan Rostango got assists on the play when they kept the puck in along the blue line.
The Bulls pulled their goaltender in the final minute attempting to tie the game, but a puck was chipped off the glass by the Jackalopes and they were able to skate away and score into the open goal.
The Odessa Jackalopes outshot the Amarillo Bulls 46-26. Each team finished 0 for 3 on the power play.
The season series closes out between the Amarillo Bulls and the Odessa Jackalopes tomorrow (Saturday) night at 7 pm at Ector County Coliseum. Fans can tune into the action live on CBS Sports Radio 1440, online at www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV courtesy of Fast Hockey beginning with the Warm Up Show presented By Wayland Baptist University at 6:40 pm.
Hockey is back at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center on Friday, Jan. 30 and Satuday, Jan. 31 when the Bulls host the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees at 7 pm. Friday’s game is sponsored by Marble Depot and Saturday is Back The Badge Night presented by Crime Stoppers. Tickets are available including the $5 section at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk or by calling 242-1122. The Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets and online at www.panhandletickets.com are other options for tickets.