WICHITA FALLS, TX – Starting the season with a win has never been a problem for the Amarillo Bulls. For the fifth time in seven years, the Bulls posted a victory in their first game of the season beating the Wichita Falls Wildcats 3-2 in overtime at Kay Yeager Coliseum.
The Bulls spoiled the Wildcats special night where the team was honored as the defending South Division Champions and Robertson Cup finalists. Kosta Likourezos potted the game winner for the Bulls on a penalty shot after he was hauled down on a partial breakway. On the penalty shot the Canadian made no mistake as he went high to beat goaltender Patrick Jokela. Kyle Madore posted the win in goal his first in the NAHL.
Last year the Bulls were involved in 22 one-goal games but managed just six victories.
It was a quick start to the game for the visitors as Steven Ipri (committed to Mercyhurst) scored on a great play at the side of the net from Brendan Michaelian at 1:27. The first period was a good one for the Bulls as they controlled most of the play early on and had five shots in the first 12 minutes.
The second period was wide-open with the goaltenders putting on a show as Jokela and Madore both made some key saves. The Bulls outshot the Cats 10-9 and 16-14 through 40 minutes of play.
The game opened up in the final 20 minutes and it was Wichita Falls scoring on an end-to-end rush up the ice that was finished off by a shot that beat Madore off the far post. Seven minutes later, the Bulls regained the lead on a strong two- on-one play started by Hayden Broomhead and finished off by Brendan Michaelian with his first in the league. Less than a minute later, Wichita Falls pulled even on a scramble in front of the net that was finished off with a one timer. It appeared that Madore was interfered with by two Wildcats’ players but nothing was called. The final five minutes of regulation ended in a fury of activity including a power play for the Bulls in the final three minutes.
There was plenty of open ice for the overtime period and it was a stretch pass that sent Likourezos in on the partial breakaway. That play set up the penalty shot and the game winner in the extra session by the first year Bulls’ forward.
The Wichita Falls Wildcats outshot the Amarillo Bulls 26-24. There were six power plays combined between the two teams but no goals were scored.
Fans will not have to wait much longer to see their Amarillo Bulls as the regular season home opener is set for tomorrow (Saturday) night at 7 pm at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center at 7 pm against the Odessa Jackalopes. The Sonic Family Four Pack features four tickets, four hotdogs for $44, and the Sonic Bring A Bud Pack has two tickets, two sodas and two hotdogs for $22. Those packages are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk or by calling 806-242-1122. Tickets are also available at the Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket locations
Saturday’s game will be aired 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.