AMARLLO, TX – The Amarillo Bulls yielded three power play goals in the first two periods and dropped a hard fought 4-2 decision to the Lone Star Brahmas on opening night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. That was the Bulls third regulation loss in nine previous opening night games.
Special teams dominated the night as the teams combined for 12 power plays and five goals. Jason Brancheau and Brett Abdelnour tallied for the Bulls in the contest with both of them coming in the middle stanza. Jason Grande started in goal for Amarillo, but was replaced by Ryan Winter after he surrendered the fourth Brahmas goal.
The Bulls came out timid to start the game and ran into penalty issues. Ben Pirko and Michal Stinil tallied for the Brahmas in the first period with the second marker coming on a two-man advantage. Lone Star outshot the Bulls 9-8 in the first period.
The second period was much better for Rocky Russo’s charges as the mounted some offense with Jason Brancheau getting on the board with the team’s first goal of the season. Brancheau cleaned up a play in front of the net on a scramble. Alex Peterson and Brett Abdelnour earned assists. However, the visitors re-asserted themselves by adding two more goals with one being scored even strength. Matt Guerra tallied both of the including one via a one timer in the slot area. That fourth goal chased starting goaltender Jason Grande, who was replaced by newcomer Ryan Winter. He held the Bulls in the game with some good stops. The Bulls rounded out the scoring in the frame, when Brett Abdelnour scored with help from Gagik Malakyan and Jason Brancheau.
The Bulls came out much stronger over the final 20 minutes but were unable to get the margin any closer as goaltender Harrison Feeney came up with some big saves including one with his glove to keep the score a two-goal margin. Alex Peterson and Jake Willets had the best of the chances. The Bulls pulled their goaltender down the stretch and had a power play after a checking from behind penalty.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Lone Star Brahmas 29-22 including 14-7 over the final 20 minutes
Next up for the North American Hockey League teams is the 2018 Showcase in Blaine Minnesota that begins on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at the Schwann Super Rink. The Bulls begin play against the Brookings Blizzard at 8 pm. Fans can tune into the action live on 107.1 NASH Icon, online at www.amarillobulls.com and online with Hockey TV beginning with the Fit Omni Warm Up Show at 7:35 pm.
Hockey is Back at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center on Friday, Sept. 28 and Saturday, Sept. 29 versus the Topeka Pilots at 7 pm. Friday is Good Neighbor Night Presented by Jason Chafe State Farm Insurance Broker. 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.amarillobulls.com and www.panhandletickets.com. For further information call 1-806-242-1122.