AMARILLO, TX – Second periods have been a problem for the Amarillo Bulls this season. It was an issue on Friday night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. The Bulls surrendered four second period goals to erase a first period, lead and dropped a 7-4 decision to the Wichita Falls Wildcats. The loss stopped a three game winning streak and five consecutive victories on home ice.
Will Harrison, Charlie Combs, Trent Dillinger and Elijiah Barriga netted goals for the Bulls, while Brady Crabtree contributed three assists. Jacob Weatherly started the game for Amarillo and suffered the loss. He was replaced after the fifth goal by Anton Martinsson. Austin Shaw came on in relief of starting goaltender David Zevnik who lasted just 14 minutes. Shaw stopped 33 of 35 shots he faced, including some big ones early in the second period that kept his team within striking distance of the hometown Bulls.
It was another great opening 20 minutes for the Amarillo Bulls firing 18 shots on goal and scoring twice. Charlie Combs gave the Bulls a 1-0 lead when he jammed home a puck at the side of the net from Joey DiBenedetto and Brady Crabtree at the 5:20 mark. Midway through the period, the Wildcats tied the game up 1-1 with a quick shot on the power play. The Bulls regained the lead and momentum a short time later when Will Harrison scored on a rebound after a great pass from Brady Crabtree. The Bulls outshot the Wildcats 18-10 in the first period.
The second period started well for the Amarillo Bulls as they applied early pressure but couldn’t beat Austin Shaw. The Wildcats fueled off of that and scored four times. The first two were less than a minute apart, and then the next two were fired in a three minute span. It was quickly 5-2 in favor of the Wildcats. The Bulls were outshot by the Wildcats 17-14 in the second.
The Wildcats added to their lead with a goal early in the third period to make it 6-2, but it didn’t stop the Bulls that kept pressing and would score twice. Elijiah Barriga scored on a great move to beat goaltender Shaw. Brady Crabtree and JJ Huerena earned assists on the play. Six minutes later, the Wildcats made a gaff inside their own end when the defensemen and goaltender fumbled the puck leading to the Bulls goal. Trent Dillinger got credited with the goal from Charlie Combs.
Amarillo pulled its goaltender in the final two minutes looking to stage a late comeback, but it would be Wichita Falls that found the back of the net to round out the scoring.
Special teams played a big part in the game as Wichita Falls were 2 for 4 on the power play and also connected with a marker shorthanded. The Bulls were 1 for 6.
The shots on goal favored the Amarillo Bulls 48-37 including 16-10 in the third period.
It’s a short turnaround as these two South Division rivals will go head to head tomorrow (Saturday) night at Kay Yeager Coliseum in Wichita Falls at 7 pm. Fans can tune into the game live on CBS Sportsradio 1440, online at www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV courtesy of Fast Hockey, beginning with pre-game coverage at 6:40 pm. The puck drop follows at 7 pm.