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Santoro scores in Bulls Loss

ODESSA, TX – It’s been more of the same lately for the Amarillo Bulls, a rough first 20 but then a dominating final 40.

That was the case in the game on Tuesday night at Ector County Coliseum as the Bulls surrendered three first period goals and lost 4-1 to the Jackalopes which pulled to within two points of the Corpus Christi  IceRays for the fourth and final playoff spot in the South Division. Odessa was able to utilize one of their two games in hand.

Nick Santoro netted the lone Bulls goal in the middle stanza. He was able to extend his point streak to three straight games. After getting peppered with shots in the first 20, goaltender Brian Baker settled down and allowed just one goal over the final two periods.

It was a rough opening 20 minutes for the Amarillo Bulls as they were under siege by the Odessa Jackalopes. The Bulls surrendered the first goal in the first three minutes of the game. The Jackalopes added two more less than two minutes apart, including one on the power play. The Bulls got late chances in the first from George Mika and Michael Forman that were fought off by goaltender Dean Shatzer. The Jackalopes outshot the Bulls 21-10 in the first period.

The second period was much better for the Bulls with 17 shots and lots of great opportunities. Odessa scored an important power play goal late to first push the lead to 4-0. After that the Bulls notched their lone marker when Nick Santoro finished off a wraparound from Joey DiBenedetto and Michael Forman. It was Santoro’s second stuff attempt at the side of the net that proved successful as the puck crossed the line at the 15:09 mark.

Special teams were kept busy in the third period as each team had two power plays. Two of the Bulls scoring plays just sailed past the goal posts and wide of the net. Goaltender Dean Shatzer faced 12 shots with Bulls forward Tyler Gernhofer and defenseman Jeff Solow nearly coming close.

The Odessa Jackalopes were 2 for 6 on the power play while the Bulls were 0 for 4. The final shots on goal total had the Bulls behind by just three 42-39.

It’s back to the road for the Amarillo Bulls this weekend with a pair of games in Wichita Falls against the Wildcats at Kay Yeager Coliseum at 7 pm. Fans can catch the games 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 after that.

The Amarillo Bulls play their final two regular season home games on Friday, Mar. 25 and Saturday, Mar. 26 against the Lone Star Brahmas at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center at 7 pm. Friday is Amarillo College and The Musical Texas Night, with free tickets available for High School Seniors. Saturday is presented by The People’s Federal Credit Union and fans who come early can get a Pucky The Pig Piggy Bank.

The Bulls will also wear special jerseys to commemorate their 400th game in the North American Hockey League. Those jerseys will be available to fans in the annual Jerseys Off Our Backs Promotions. Fans can buy tickets for the drawing for $5 with proceeds to benefit Amarillo Youth Hockey.

Tickets for the game are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office or Panhandle Ticket locations including United Supermarkets or online at www.panhandletickets.com. For further information on Group Rates or 2016-17 Season Tickets please call 242-1122.