AMARILLO, TX – The Amarillo Bulls surrendered six straight goals after scoring the game’s first marker and dropped a 6-1 decision to the defending National Champion Lone Star Brahmas on Friday night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center.
The loss was the Bulls first on home ice of the season and second overall. Brendan Michaelian scored the lone Bulls goal, while Brandon Bussi took the loss in the goal. Austin O’Rourke scored a natural hattrick for Lone Star, while Julian Biondo, E Mack Bentley and Jared Domin had singles. Mitchell Gibson posted the win in goal.
Bulls Head Coach Rocky Russo said his team will have high character be ready fight and bounce back on Saturday night.
“I told our boys during the last timeout that we took a beating today and we will take it like men,” said Head Coach Rocky Russo. “It’s not a life and death moment, but we certainly need to learn and need to get better.”
It was a feisty and chippy affair between the two teams that started right from the opening face-off. Amarillo collected the game’s first power play and netted the first goal. Brendan Michaelian fired a shot that hand-cuffed goaltender Gibson just 1:55 into the game. Steven Ipri and Jon Russell added assists on the play.
The Bulls held the lead and the momentum until later in the first stanza when Julian Biondo scored off a face-off win from Austin O’Rourke to tie the game. Sixteen seconds later, the Brahmas took the lead they wouldn’t relinquish as O’Rourke’s shot trickled through the skates of Brandon Bussi and into the net. A short time later, the 2nd year forward gave the visitors at 3-1 lead when he finished off a 2 on 1 break up the ice. The Bulls had seven of the game’s first 11 shots, but after that Lone Star were able to get 10 of the last 13.
The power play allowed Lone Star to up its advantage by three early in the second period when O’Rourke completed his natural hattrick. The forward’s shot hit off of goaltender Bussi and went into the net. Bussi was pulled in favor of Alexei Masanko.
Forward Jason Brancheau had the Bulls best opportunity in the period as he raced up the ice on a penalty kill and wired a shot off the cross bar that fans thought had went in. The Brahmas made it 5-1 later in the stanza when Jared Domin scored on a play in front of the net. The Bulls and the Brahmas each had 11 shots on goal in the second period.
The Brahmas rounded out the scoring in the third period on a goal by Emack Bentley who scooped up the loose puck in front of the net and beat goaltender Masanko. Alex Borowiec and Quinn Warmuth had the Bulls best chances in the third period, but were unable to get anything past Gibson.
The Lone Star Brahmas outshot the Amarillo Bulls 32-26. Each team had a power play goal on a combined 12 chances.
The Battle of the Cattle Series resumes tomorrow (Saturday) night at 7 pm when the Bulls host the Brahmas. The night is sponsored by Plains Dairy and one lucky fan could win Milk For A Year. Seven Grill and Bar will also be drawing for a bicycle.
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.
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 the Warm Up Show at 6:40 pm. Denis J. Puska has the hard hitting action to follow.