AMARILLO, TX – A big crowd, an emotional night, a rough and tumble game. Just like the old days…
More than 4,000 fans packed the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center on Saturday night to see the Amarillo Bulls rally with two third-period goals to beat Rio Grande Valley 4-2. The victory propelled the Bulls back to sixth place in the South Division and a split of the weekend series. The two teams are not done with one another yet and will be back at it again next Thursday and Friday in Hidalgo, TX at State Farm Arena.
The game featured over 109 minutes in penalties between the two teams and several skirmishes. There was one big fight between Adam Morrison and Ben Jentsch that had the fans on their feet.
Nick Le Sage scored the game winning goal midway through the third period and then Charlie Combs with his second of the game paced the Bulls attack in that final 20 minutes. Tristan Rostagno had the other. Anton Martinsson posted the win in goal.
The night began with a heart lifting emotional ceremony that included the local Pipe And Drum Band, several Honor and Color Guards all in support of Sgt. Houston Gass, a Pampa Police Office injured in the line of duty. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when the officer walked onto the ice and dropped the ceremonial puck. Sgt Gass also had a chance to speak to the Bulls’ players in the locker room prior to game time.
The WT Girls Softball Team was also honored for their NCAA National Championship win this past year.
It was a great first 10 minutes to the game for the Amarillo Bulls as they came out flying, hitting and running on all cylinders. The Bulls raced out to a 1-0 advantage just 2:23 into the contest when Charlie Combs converted a pass from Cody Gylling on a 2 on 1 break. Three minutes later the Killer Bees tied the game on a rebound in front of the net. In the dying seconds of the period, Rio Grande Valley stole an errand Bulls pass out of the zone and put it into the net. Despite being behind, the Bulls outshot the Killer Bees 17-12 in the first period.
The second started slow for the Amarillo Bulls but they quickly gained control and dominated much of it. The only person standing in the way of the Bulls was goaltender Nick Schmit who made some timely saves. The Bulls tied the game 2-2 when Tristan Rostagno’s rocket found the back of the net just past the midway mark. Cody Gylling set up the play with a terrific drop back pass. Kyle Hartman also assisted. The Bulls penalty killing was up to task preventing Rio Grande Valley from scoring on a five on three. The Bulls outshot the Killer Bees 15-10 in the period.
Both teams played tight defensive hockey in the third period not giving an inch and combining for just 11 shots. The Bulls took the lead 3-2 when Nick Le Sage’s shot went off a Killer Bees’ defenseman into the net. Trent Dillinger and Jesper Synnelius added assists on the play. A short time later the Bulls were treated to a power play and it didn’t take long for them to take advantage of it. Charlie Combs’ shot from the point beat goaltender Nick Schmit who was partially screened on the play. Cody Gylling and Will Harrison set up the goal by working the puck with some crisp passing pushing the Killer Bees out of position.
Down the stretch the Bulls tightened up defensively and prevented the Killer Bees from coming back.
The Amarillo Bulls visit the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees on Thursday and Friday at 7:30 pm at State Farm Arena. Fans can listen to the action live on CBS Sports Radio 1440, online at www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV courtesy of Fast Hockey beginning with Wayland Baptist University Warm Up Show at 7:10 pm. The play by play follows with the voice of the Bulls Denis J. Puska.
Hockey is back at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center on Friday, Feb. 13 and Saturday, Feb. 14 as the Bulls host the Corpus Christi IceRays at 7 pm. It’s Super Heroes Weekend with the Bulls wearing special jerseys to support the March of Dimes. An auction follows immediately after the game.
Tickets including $5 section, Groups, and more are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk or by calling 242-1122. The Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets including United Supermarkets are other locations to purchase tickets.