AMARILLO, TX – The Amarillo Bulls let an opportunity to move into first in the South Division pass them by last Sunday in a loss to Corpus Christi. That wasn’t about to happen again…
Ryan Cole scored the game winning goal in the third period to lift the Bulls past the Wichita Falls Wildcats 4-3. The victory moved the Bulls into first place overall in the North American Hockey League, and first in the South Division — two points clear of the Texas Tornado and three in front of the Topeka RoadRunners.
The Bulls were able to nab three victories over the weekend and collect a big six points. The finale was punctuated on the third annual Sonic Sunday where the Bulls remained unbeaten in the third annual event that allows sports fans to see a game of hockey for free.
“It was a nice way to cap off a great weekend with two wins on the road and then today in front of the big crowd,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams. “We had some timely goals by players. I challenged young Brady Ferguson and he goes out and gets a highlight reel goal for us. It’s been a tough stretch for our guys with a lot of guys hurt and banged up.
“The biggest thing we need to do this week is get some rest this week and re-focus for the Topeka RoadRunners. The biggest challenge we face is to not think about the Christmas holidays until next Sunday. We will try to keep the boys honest with that.”
It was the Amarillo Bulls that looked like the fresher team in the first 20 minutes. Despite playing their third game in three nights, the Bulls controlled much of the play and scored the game’s first goal. Omar Mullan’s quick shot beat Evan Cowley. The goal that came at the 10:58 mark was set up by an excellent rush up the ice by John Rey and Matt Sieckhaus. It also started the parade of Teddy Bears and Stuffed Animals from the stands in support of Toys for Tots. The Bulls outshot the Wildcats 11-4 in the first stanza.
The second period didn’t start well for the Bulls as they surrendered two goals in the first five minutes and fell behind 2-1. But two tallies 1:13 apart got Amarillo back in front 3-2. It started with a great shot from Brady Ferguson who notched his third of the year at the 8:47 mark from Omar Mullan and Mike Davis. Matt Sieckhaus followed that up with a jam shot at the side of the net from Gage Christianson and Ryan Cole.
The Bulls missed a huge opportunity to expand the one goal lead when they failed to score on a four minute power play. The Wildcats tied the game up in the final minute of the second period on a scramble inside the Bulls zone. Amarillo outshot the Wildcats 20-12 in the second.
In the third period, Ryan Cole led the charge battling all over the ice. He scooped up the puck and fired passed Cowley. Gage Christianson earned the lone assist on the goal.
Down the stretch, the Wildcats had their chances but goaltender Paul Berrafato made some key saves to preserve the win.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Wichita Falls Wildcats 41-24 including 10-8 in the third period. There were seven power play opportunities with neither team being able to score.
There are just two more games before the Christmas Break for the Amarillo Bulls and they take place next Friday and Saturday in Topeka against the RoadRunners at Kansas Expo Center Landon Arena. Fans can tune into the games live on ESPN1440 and www.amarillobulls.com beginning with pre-game coverage at 6:45 pm on both nights. Denis J. Puska brings you the exciting call at 7 pm. The games are also available on Pay Per View courtesy of Fast Hockey and a high speed internet connection is required in order to view the game.
Hockey returns to the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center with three big games, beginning Friday, Dec. 28 and Saturday, Dec. 29 when the Amarillo Bulls host the Odessa Jackalopes at 7 pm. The Bulls will close out the stretch on New Year’s Eve when they host the Wichita Falls Wildcats also at 7 pm.
Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets including United Supermarkets. For further information on Group Rates, Seven Game Flex Packs or Birthday Party Packages, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.