TOPEKA, KS – After a strong start and a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission, the Amarillo Bulls could not keep pace with the Topeka Pilots, as the Bulls fell in their opening game of the 2019-2020 season 3-2.
The Bulls began the game with a number of chances on net, outshooting the Pilots 16-4 in the opening frame of play. The during the middle of the period, as the physicality began to intensify, the Bulls used their grit to their advantage when Fillip Jakobsson flipped the puck over the glove of Topeka’s Jakub Dobes to take the 1-0 lead.
After maintaining the lead into the intermission, the Bulls found themselves on the receiving end of the lopsided shot totals, as Topeka tallied 16 shots in the second period. The newfound offense for the Pilots was accompanied by a pair of goals as Michael Muschitello tied the game on a breakaway, and Austin McCarthy netted a second-chance opportunity past Amarillo’s Charlie Glockner to take the 2-1 lead.
“We gave up far too many odd-man rushes today,” said Head Coach Rocky Russo after the loss. “That’s a product of us not being comfortable in our offensive zone, and that’s going to take some time.”
The third period saw the Pilots grow their lead to 3-1 as Quinn Green cleaned up a rebound in front of the Bulls net.
With time winding down in the game Amarillo’s Ryan Tucker found himself alone in the slot and buried a wrist shot to bring the Bulls within a goal.
Despite a flurry of chances and an extra-attacker scenario, the Bulls were unable to net the tying goal before the final horn.
“Obviously, we aren’t happy with the result tonight,” said Russo. “If our process gets better, the results will begin to come our way.”
With the loss, the Bulls will head to Blaine, MN for the NAHL Showcase with an 0-1 record. The Showcase will see the Bulls playing three games, beginning with a clash with the Johnstown Tomahawks on Wednesday at 1:00 PM CST.