WENATCHEE, WA – A third period comeback was the tonic the Amarillo Bulls needed to close out a two-game series in their first trip to Wenatchee Washington on Sunday night.
Two goals one minute apart and another later on the power play powered the Amarillo Bulls past the Wenatchee Wild 4-2 at Town Toyota Center. The victory pulled the Bulls to within six points of the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees for the sixth and final playoff spot in the South Division with 10 games remaining in the regular season.
Charlie Combs scored twice for Amarillo, including the winner early in the third period. Luke Novak and Trent Dillinger provided singles. Goaltender Anton Martinsson was stellar in net stopping 33 of 35 shots he faced. After allowing two goals in the first 24 minutes, Martinsson settled down and didn’t allow Wenatchee to mount any more of a charge.
It was a fast beginning to the game for the Amarillo Bulls as they scored less than two minutes into the contest. Charlie Combs capitalized on a Wenatchee turnover and scored from Joey DiBenedetto at 1:55 to make it 1-0. The Bulls outshot the Wild 10-6 in the first half of that period. The Wild had a goal called back when the referee said the puck did not cross the goal line. The second half saw Wenatchee take over and tie the game on a turnover inside the Bulls zone. The Wild outshot the Bulls 16-12 after 20 minutes of play.
A third turnover between the two teams led to the Wild taking a 2-1 lead. The Bulls lost the puck behind their goal line and Wenatchee capitalized with a blast inside the hash marks. Amarillo had a huge power play late in the period but Charlie Combs was denied on blast from the point as goaltender Zack Quinn was able to make the save. The Bulls were outshot 11-6 in the middle stanza.
It was all Amarillo in the final 20 minutes and it started with the hard work of Trent Dillinger who scored on a rebound from George Mika at 5:22. One minute later, Charlie Combs gave the Bulls the lead for good when he scored on a great feed from AJ Duggan. The Bulls were not done yet and it was the power play that rounded out the scoring. Luke Novak scored on a scramble in front of the net from George Mika and Will Harrison at 13:39. Down the stretch, it was all Bulls defense and goaltender Anton Martinsson who kept his team in front with timely saves. Defenseman Tristan Rostagno had a couple of huge including one at center ice. The Wild pulled their goaltender in the final two minutes of play and tried to take advantage of a power play but failed to find the back of the net.
Despite outshooting the Wenatchee Wild 11-8 in the third period, the Amarillo Bulls were still behind on the final total 35-29. There were five total power plays in the game with the Bulls scoring the lone marker.
Hockey returns to the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center as the Amarillo Bulls host the Topeka Road Runners this coming Friday and Saturday at 7 pm. It’s a special weekend as the Bulls help support Ronald McDonald House. The Bulls will wear specialty jerseys with an auction to follow on Saturday immediately after the game. It’s also Rampage’s birthday on Saturday and the first 500 fans receive a min-stick courtesy of Liberty Tax Service.
Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets including United Supermarkets or online at www.panhandletickets.com. For further information Group Rates or 2015-16 Season Tickets, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.