AMARILLO, TX – Tiny mistakes can be magnified especially when you are playing one of the top teams.
That was the case for the Amarillo Bulls on Friday night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. The South Division and NAHL leading Shreveport Mudbugs scored a late goal in the third period and then fired the game winner in overtime to slip past the Amarillo Bulls 4-3.
The Mudbugs have certainly given the Bulls nothing but troubles in the first 11 games between the two teams. Ten of the 11 games have been decided by one goal and the Bulls have managed just six points (one win, 2 overtime and two shootout losses).
The Bulls deserved a much better fate during the game and controlled much of the play giving the visitors all they could handle. Gleb Murtazin, Jon Russell and Nick Stuckless scored for the Bulls, while Jason Grande took the loss in goal. The loss dropped the Bulls into fourth place in the South Division just a point back of the Odessa Jackalopes that won in Topeka versus the RoadRunners.
The Amarillo Bulls special teams struck in the first period for two goals, while the Shreveport Mudbugs had a pair of goals sandwiched in between. Gleb Murtazin gave the Bulls an early 1-0 lead when his shot cleanly beat goaltender James Durham at the 6:45 mark. Marcus Chorney and Nikita Sokolov picked up assists on the play.
Shreveport pulled even and quickly took the lead with two in a span of less than a minute. Warren Natyshak tipped home a puck at the side of the net and then Brendon Gyspers wired a shot past Grande. But in the final 90 seconds, it was the Bulls power play that connected when Jon Russell scored on the face-off dot from Alex Peterson and Steven Ipri. The Bulls outshot Shreveport 12-11 in the first period.
There was no scoring in the middle stanza but the Bulls had the shot advantage 13-11.
The scoring resumed in the third period and it was Nick Stuckless doing the dirty work stripping the Mudbugs defenseman of the puck and beating the goaltender Gleb Murtazin picked up an assist on the play. The Bulls didn’t an excellent job of holding serve and preventing the Mudbugs from tying the game until late in the final stanza. Dominick Procopio scored on a re-direct with less than five minutes remaining in regulation.
The extra session didn’t take long as forward Kieran Durgan weaved his way around the Bulls defense and launched a shot past the glove hand of Jason Grande to give the Mudbugs the victory and extend their unbeaten string to 11 games.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Shreveport Mudbugs 36-35.
Tomorrow night the Amarillo Bulls will hold their 8th annual Teddy Bear Toss to benefit the Toys for Tots Program. The game is sponsored by The Brown Automotive Group. Fans are encouraged to bring a new Teddy Bear or Stuffed Animal to the game when the Bulls score their first goal throw the toys onto the ice in support of the great cause.
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 by calling 806-242-1122.