WICHITA FALLS, TX – The Amarillo Bulls played one of their best road games of the season on Saturday controlling most of the play against the South Division leading Wichita Falls Wildcats. It was two early goals that proved to be the difference as the visiting Bulls dropped a 3-1 hard fought decision at Kay Yeager Coliseum.
Coale Norris netted the lone Bulls’ goal in the loss, while Anton Martinsson stopped 34 of 36 shots he faced including some timely ones late in the third period.
That’s the second of three consecutive meetings between the two teams. The Bulls visit the Wildcats on Wednesday night to wrap up the set and then Amarillo will be off until the March 11th weekend.
The Bulls had one of their better starts to the game skating well and working hard in the opening stanza. Forwards Tyler Gernhofer and George Mika had the best chances on a power play but were thwarted away by Justin Kapelmaster. The Wildcats kept goaltender Anton Martinsson busy for a six minute stretch during the period as he was forced to make several big saves, including one on a sharp angle and another with his glove. Wichita Falls outshot Amarillo 16-13 in the first period.
The division-leading Wildcats struck first on a 3-on-2 break up the ice. A screen shot beat Anton Martinsson on the glove side. Five minutes later, a Bulls turnover led to the 2nd goal as Wichita Falls was able to score off a loose rebound. Momentum then swung back in the Bulls favor and it was the power play that got them on the board. Gernhofer fired the puck back to Jeff Solow at the point who was able to get the redirect on goal. Coale Norris scooped up the puck in the goal crease and was able to tap it in. That was Norris’ third power play goal in as many games. The Bulls kept pushing down the stretch but unsuccessful to tie the game. Amarillo outshot Wichita Falls 15-9 in the middle period.
Much of the final 20 minutes played by the Bulls in the offensive end as the Wildcats had a hard time dealing with the pressure. The forward line of Nick Santoro, Joey DiBenedetto and Michael Forman out-muscled the Wildcat defenseman for the puck. As was the case last night, the Bulls pulled their goaltender in the final minute looking for the equalizer but it was Wichita Falls that was able to pressure and then score when the puck rolled off a defenseman’s stick.
The Wichita Falls Wildcats outshot the Amarillo Bulls 36-34. There were seven total power plays with the Bulls going 1 for 5 and the Wildcats were 0 for 2.
The Amarillo Bulls Wichita Falls Wildcats meet for the third straight time on Wednesday at 7 pm at Kay Yeager Coliseum. Fans can listen live on CBS Sports Radio 1440, online at www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV with Fast hockey beginning with the Wayland Baptist University Warm Up Show at 6:40 pm. The puck drop with Denis J. Puska follows at 7 pm.
Hockey is back at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center on Friday, Mar. 11 and Saturday, Mar. 12 as the Bulls host the rival Topeka RoadRunners at 7 pm. Friday is Community Options and 806 Sports Night, while Saturday’s game is presented by the Khiva Shriners. The Bulls will wear specialty jerseys with a live auction on the Saturday to benefit that great organization. Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets including online at www.panhandletickets.com. For further information on Group Rates please call 806-242-1122.