Luke Edgerton scored in the first minute of the third period to propel the Bulls past the Odessa Jackalopes 5-3. The victory kept the Bulls to within three points of the Corpus Christi IceRays of the fourth and final playoff spot in the South Division. The IceRays took their second from the Shreveport Mudbugs.
The Bulls won their 11th of the season and 8th on road thanks to a two-goal performance from Steven Ipri, while George Mika had the other. Alex Truscott set up three goals, while Jeff Solow had a couple of helpers. Nikita Babintsev turned aside 28 of 31 shots he faced to post the win in goal.
Zac Heintz, Matteo Menotti and Riley Bechard tallied for the Jackalopes who had been off for 18 days prior to that game.
It was a see-saw affair in the first period as teams traded four goals. The home side raced out to a 1-0 lead thanks to a goal from forward Zac Heintz who capitalized on a turnover and fired a shot past Babintsev. A short time later, George Mika notched a goal when his sharp-angled shot beat Jon Flakne on the short side. Alex Truscott and Charlie Singerhouse earned assists on the play.
Odessa increased its lead back to 2-1 when Matteo Menotti tapped in a puck at the side of the net from Joe Kinsella at the 16:54 mark. The Bulls were not done yet as Steven Ipri converted a rebound in front of the net from Luke Edgerton and Truscott. Amarillo outshot Odessa 16-12 in the first period.
All of the scoring the middle stanza was done in the first five minutes of play. Riley Bechard scored on a play near the side of the net. Just over a minute later, Eric Cooley was able to push one home on a rebound from Cole Lussier and Jeff Solow. Amarillo outshot Odessa 13-10 in the second period.
Luke Edgerton gave the Bulls a quick 4-3 lead to start the third period (30-second mark) from Steven Ipri and Alex Truscott. Edgerton’s shot easily found the back of the net thanks to a great face off win to start the stanza. Down the stretch, the Bulls defensive play tightened up and goaltender Nikita Babintsev came up with some timely saves. Steven Irpi rounded out the scoring with an empty net goal in the final 10 seconds.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Odessa Jackalopes 40-33. There were seven combined power plays with neither team able to find the back of the net.
The second game of the trio of games between the Bulls and the Jackalopes takes place tomorrow (Friday) night 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. Denis J. Puska has the hard hitting action to follow at 7 pm.
The 6th annual Amarillo Bulls New Year’s Eve game will take place this Saturday against the Odessa Jackalopes at 7 pm. The night is sponsored by Budweiser and Jimmy Johns. One lucky fan could win an Igloo Cooler, a Northface Jacket or 2017-18 Season Tickets. Red and Silver Section Tickets are just $10 and free Child’s Tickets are available with the purchase of an Adult.
Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket locations. For further information on Group Rates, Corporate Marketing Partnerships and much more, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.