AMARILLO, TX –A bad start and a poor special-teams performance doomed the Amarillo Bulls on Friday night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center.
A second half rally fell short as the Bulls dropped a 4-2 decision to the Corpus Christi IceRays. The victory by the visitors pushed their lead to three points over the Odessa Jackalopes for the fourth and final playoff spot in the South Division. Odessa fell to Lone Star 3-1 in North Richland Hills.
Amarillo fell behind 3-0 in the first 22 minutes of the game and proceeded to rally back thanks to goals off the sticks of Michael Forman and Michael Forman. Goaltender Brian Baker kept the Bulls in the game with some timely stops. The Bulls pulled their goaltender in the final 90 seconds of regulation looking to get the equalizer. It was the IceRays scooping up the near their own blueline and then firing into the open net.
In the game, it didn’t take long for the visiting IceRays to score the first goal as they completed a play near the five minute mark of the first period. Eight minutes later, Corpus Christi added to its lead scoring on the power play just 15 seconds into the man advantage. The Bulls kept pushing the second half of the period but both George Mika and Joey Molinaro were stopped by goaltender Dryden McKay. Each team had 12 shots on goal in the first period.
After the IceRays extended their advantage to 3-0 in the first 1:51 of the second period, the Bulls rally was on. It was cued by forward Michael Forman who raced in and put a shot up high into the net to trim the deficit to 3-1. Charlie Singerhouse and Jeff Solow earned assists on the play. It was Solow who moved the puck out of the zone and pushed the puck ahead to Singerhouse.
The offense continued to push forward but was unable to score again. Forward Coale Norris missed a back hand shot in front of the net and then Jake Houston had his shot denied by McKay. It was all Bulls in the period outshooting the Rays 17-10.
The Bulls struck with their second goal early in the third period when Tyler Gernhofer’s shot towards the net was deflected in by George Mika.
The game remained tight down the stretch with the Bulls outworking their opponents forcing turnovers and sustained pressure inside the offensive zone. With less than two minutes remaining in regulation, the Bulls pulled their goaltender trying to get the equalizer to force overtime. The IceRays were able to scoop up the loose puck and then fire it into the open cage.
For the fifth time in six games, the Bulls had the shots on goal advantage. The final numbers were 40-32 in favor of Amarillo. The Bulls failed to score on four power play opportunities, while Corpus Christi converted on both attempts they had.
The Amarillo Bulls close out a six game home stand tomorrow (Saturday) night against the Corpus Christi IceRays at 7 pm at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. It’s Merrick Pet Care night with Pet Food Giveaways taking place all game long. There will also be a variety of pet businesses on the concourse.
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, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.