AMARILLO, TX – Being consistent night-in-and-night-out is what can haunt all sports teams and it’s been something the Amarillo Bulls have been battling with throughout most of this North American Hockey League season.
That consistency was a factor on Saturday night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center as the Bulls, after a gritty and tough overtime loss 24 hours prior, came out flat and dropped a 5-0 decision to the first place Shreveport Mudbugs. The loss along with a victory by the Corpus Christi IceRays put Amarillo into a fourth place tie. The Bulls and the Mudbugs have two more games next Saturday and Sunday in Louisiana.
It was the 8th annual Toys for Tots Teddy Bear Toss and the first time that no goals were fired by the Bulls in the game. Fans got an opportunity fire the stuffed animals onto the ice after the game had concluded.
The difference in the game was the opening period where the Mudbugs struck for three goals, including two by special teams. The first was a power play goal off the stick of forward Kieran Durgan at the 5:13 mark. Six minutes later, the Mudbugs added their second when Ryan Burnett tipped home a shot. The Bulls and the Minnesota Magicians were the lone NAHL teams remaining who hadn’t allowed a shorthanded marker entering play on Saturday night. That all changed late in the first period when Cole Quisenberry found the back of the net to end the Bulls string in that category.
Amarillo had some opportunities in the first period including a play in front by Jon Russell who put a shot high off the goaltender James Durham. Shreveport and Amarillo each had 10 shots in the first period.
The Mudbugs added their fourth goal late in the second period when Kieran Durgan notched his second of the game on a wrist shot over goaltender Jason Grande’s shoulder. The Bulls were not without their chances as both Simon Morberg and Gleb Murtazin tried to stuff pucks on the short side of the goal but were denied by Durham.
The visitors rounded out the scoring early in the third period when Durgan completed his hattrick with a shot past goaltender Alexei Massanko who came on in relief of Grande. The Bulls were the stronger team in the third period with over 15 shots on net but were unable to mount much of a charge.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Shreveport Mudbugs 34-19 in the game. There were 14 combined power plays in the contest with the Bulls going 0 for 6 and the Mudbugs were 2 for 8.
The two teams will face one another for two more games next Saturday at 7 pm and Sunday at 2 pm at George’s Pond Hirsch Coliseum. Fans can tune into the action live on CBS Sports Radio 1440, online at www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV with Hockey TV beginning with Pre-Game Coverage 20 minutes before the puck is dropped.
Hockey is back after Christmas at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center when the Amarillo Bulls host the Odessa Jackalopes on Saturday, Dec. 30 and Sunday, Dec. 31 (New Years Eve). The two games are part of the New Avenues Championship Belt Series that the Bulls have the advantage 2-0.
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 call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.