AMARILLO, TX – The line of George Mika, Joey Molinaro and Johan Lundgren certain provided the spark the Amarillo Bulls needed in their home opener on Saturday night in front of a big crowd at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center.
The trio combined for four goals and 10 points as the Bulls powered past the Odessa Jackalopes 6-3 for Amarillo’s fifth season opener win in six tries. Molinaro led the way with two goals and two assists, while Lundrgren notched one goal and three assists and Mika chipped in one goal and two assists. Zach Sarnowski and Tyler Harkins provided single goals. Forward Trent Dillinger notched two assists. Anton Martinson posted the win in goal. He was kept busy stopping 38 of 41 shots he faced.
Head Coach Matt Nicholson and Assistant Tony Attanucci won their first game in the North American Hockey League.
What a start to the 2015-16 season for the Amarillo Bulls as they fired two goals less than a minute apart to get the big crowd fired up. George Mika scored on the power play from Joey Molinaro and Johan Lundgren. The trio then connected on the second goal as Molinario tallied from Mika and Lundgren. The Jackalopes cut into the deficit with a goal at the 13-minute-mark but just over five minutes later, the Bulls regained the two goal advantage when Tyler Harkins scored on a flip shot that fooled goaltender Dean Shatzer. The Jackalopes outshot the Bulls 14-12 in the first period.
Zach Sarnowski gave Amarillo a three-goal cushion when he converted a second power play chance from Tyler Hall and Trent Dilinger. The Bulls then got into penalty trouble and that allowed Odessa to score twice and reduce the lead to 4-3. The goals were scored less than three minutes apart. The Jackalopes had the shots on goal differential 15-7 in the second period.
The Bulls have always been known for being a third period team in their short five year history and that was the case in the game. Joey Molinaro and Johan Lundgren scored seven minutes apart to put the game out of reach. The first of the two gave Amarillo its third power play goal of the contest.
All three were scored in the early stages of the power play opportunities. After that, it was the Bulls defense that went to work, stopping the Jackalopes in any further attempt to mount a late come back.
The Odessa Jackalopes outshot the Amarillo Bulls 41-31. The Bulls were 3 for 5 on the power play while Odessa managed just one goal on four attempts.
Hockey returns to the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center next Saturday, Sept. 19 when the Bulls host the Lone Star Brahmas at 7pm. It’s the first Scout Night of the year so troop leaders can book their packs by calling 242-1122. Additionally, tickets can be picked up at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk; Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets including United Supermarkets or online at www.amarillobulls.com.