BLAINE, MINNESOTA – What a way to start the season for the Amarillo Bulls!
Joe Kozlak jammed home the game winning goal with under eight minutes remaining in regulation time to lift the Amarillo Bulls past the Michigan Warriors 4-3 in the opening game of the North American Hockey League Showcase, here on Wednesday morning.
Kozlak’s goal was the lone goal in the final 20 minutes as he took a feed from Mitch Rogge and dashed in the Michigan zone. Luke Jenkins added an assist on the goal. It was an exciting game as both teams skated hard for 60 minutes. Four of the seven goals were scored on the power play. Goaltender Nikifor Szczerba was solid in goal for the Bulls, making 34 saves and keeping Michigan off the score board in the final period.
The Bulls penalty killing was put to the test, especially in the third period, killing off a 5 on 3 and later a 5 on 4 in the final two minutes.
The Bulls opened the scoring at the 2:07 mark of the opening period when John Rey fired a loose rebound into the Warriors net. Dan Sherer and Ryan Taylor earned assists on the goal.
The Bulls made it 2-0 on the power play when Derek Hills wired a slapshot threw a screen from Steven Oberzanik and Joe Kozlak.
The Warriors would battle back to tie the game 2-2 with a goal late in the first and another to open the second. Amarillo regained the lead when a Derek Hills point shot was tipped in by Chris Cass. Cody Freeman had the other assist on the goal. Michigan tied the game again 3-3 with a goal in the final five minutes.
The Michigan Warriors outshot the Amarillo Bulls 37-23. There were a total of 17 power plays with each team scoring twice.
The Amarillo Bulls return to action in the second day of the NAHL Showcase, when they face the Fresno Monsters. Fans can tune into all of the action on ESPN1440AM beginning with the pre-game show at 8 pm. The face-off is at 8:15 pm. The game is also available on pay-per-view courtesy of Fast Hockey; a high speed internet connection is required in order to watch it.
It’s less than two weeks until the home opener of the Amarillo Bulls on Friday, Sept. 24, when they face the Texas Tornado at 7 pm at the Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. Season tickets, flex packs and single game tickets are available. For further information, visit www.amarillobulls.com, or call the office at, 806-242-1122.