SHREVEPORT, LA – A slow start to the game by the Amarillo Bulls was the ultimate deciding factor on Friday night at George’s Pond Hirsch Coliseum. Two goals in the first three minutes of the game, 11 seconds apart, propelled the Shreveport Mudbugs past the Amarillo Bulls 4-2.
Alex Truscott and Hayden Broomhead netted goals for the Bulls, while Nikita Babintsev took the loss in goal. Special teams proved to also another deciding factor as the Bulls were unsuccessful in four power play attempts, including two in the first 10 minutes of the game. Penalty Killing, which had been strong for the team last weekend in Corpus Christi, was great for the first two periods until Shreveport scored a key goal early in the third period that halted any attempt of a comeback.
A quick start by the hometown Shreveport Mudbugs had the Amarillo Bulls behind quickly. Steve Mather scored two goals 11 seconds apart to jump out to a 2-0 lead. Mather’s first goal was scored on a long shot that eluded goaltender Nikita Babintsev on the stick side. Mather’s second goal was a rebound he followed up on a long shot from Gabe Wahl. After that the Bulls picked themselves up, got rolling and play very well. Two power play opportunities were denied by goaltender John Roberts. Kosta Likourezos and George Mika were denied after big shots from the point. Amarillo outshot the Mudbugs 17-9 in the first period.
The Amarillo Bulls played a resilient second period and outscored their opponent 2-1. Alex Truscott cut the deficit to 2-1 when he deflected home a Jeff Solow shot. Steven Ipri also provided an assist on the play. The Mudbugs extended their lead back to two goals when Gueorgui Fedulov tipped home a puck at the side of the net after a great rush up the ice by Frankie Melton. Near the end of the period, the Bulls struck with their second goal with help from Eric Cooley and Phil Fromberger who kept the puck in at the blue line. Hayden Broomhead converted a rebound in front of the net from Kosta Likourezos. The Bulls were outshot 16-15 in the second stanza.
An early penalty in the final 20 minutes had the Bulls down a man and fighting to remain in touch in the game. But Frankie Melton notched the Mudbugs fourth goal when he pushed home a puck at the side of the net from Jordan Fader and Kristaps Jakobsons. In the final two-thirds of the period, the Mudbugs kept pushing and that kept the Bulls inside their own end. Goaltender Nikita Babintsev was kept busy with some quick work to keep his team close. At the other end, the Bulls attempted to mount a comeback but were unsuccessful in getting through to Roberts who stopped Luke Edgerton and Phil Fromberger.
The Amarillo Bulls were outshot 46-39 including 20-9 in the third period.
This two game series between the Amarillo Bulls and the Shreveport Mudbugs concludes tomorrow (Saturday) night at 7:11 pm at George’s Pond Hirsch Coliseum. Pre-game show coverage Presented by Wayland Baptist University begins at 6:45 pm on CBS Sports Radio 1440, online at www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV with Hockey TV. Denis J. Puska has the hard hitting action to follow.
Hockey returns to the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center on Friday, Dec. 9 and Saturday, Dec. 10 when the Amarillo Bulls host the Topeka RoadRunners at 7 pm. It’s the return of $5 Friday tickets available at the Bulls Office only. Saturday’s the annual Toys For Tots Teddy Bear Toss and fans are encouraged to bring a new or gently used Teddy Bear or Stuffed Animal to the game and when the Bulls score their first goal, throw the toys onto the ice in support of the great cause. The Sonic Family 4 Pack for $44 (four tickets, four hotdogs and four sodas) and Sonic Bring A Bud Pack for $22 will both be available (two tickets, two hotdogs and two sodas). Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket locations including United Supermarkets or online at www.panhandletickets.com. For further information on Group Rates or the Christmas Package, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.