HIDALGO, TX – A strong first period and outstanding goaltending from Anton Martinsson powered the Amarillo Bulls to an important win over the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees and a split in their weekend series. The Bulls held off the Killer Bees 2-1 at State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, TX on Saturday night and remain two points back of the sixth and final playoff spot.
Charlie Combs and Riley Christensen netted goals in the first, while Martinsson did the rest making strong saves including several late in the third period to preserve the lead. He turned aside 28 of 29 shots he faced.
It didn’t take long for the Amarillo Bulls to get on the scoreboard. Just 16 seconds into the contest Charlie Combs scoops up a turnover and raced into the Killer Bees zone and cleanly beat Nick Schmit to make it 1-0. Midway through the stanza, the Killer Bees tied the game with a power play goal as their Captain scored on a great shot from the high slot area. The Bulls got that goal back when Riley Christensen notched his fourth of the season. Goaltender Nick Schmit was knocked down in the goal crease and Christensen put the puck into the open net. The Killer Bees outshot the Bulls 9-6 in the first period.
There was no scoring in the second period as the Bulls for a second straight game prevented the opposition from scoring. Amarillo’s best chances in the second came off two power play opportunities, but they were denied by goaltender Ben Johansson who replaced Nick Schmit to start the period. The Killer Bees best scoring play came off pass across but goaltender Anton Martinsson kicked the puck out with his leg. The Bulls were outshot by the Killer Bees 9-6 in the period.
The third period was controlled by the Amarillo Bulls to start having the first five shots before the Killer Bees showed some urgency looking to tie the game. Cody Gylling blocked several shots at the blueline and Ben Jentsch had several big body checks. In the final minute, the Killer Bees had a hard time pulling their goaltender as the Bulls defensive coverage prevented them from gaining the offensive zone.
The Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees outshot the Amarillo Bulls 29-17 in the game. There were six power plays with the Killer Bees netting the lone marker.
There are two big home games next weekend at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center as the Bulls host the Odessa Jackalopes on Friday, Jan. 16 and Saturday, Jan. 17 at 7pm. Friday is The People’s Federal Credit Union Bobblehead Night, while Saturday is Mini-Cowbell giveaway.
Tickets including the $5 section and the All You Can Eat Seats are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk or by calling 242-1122. Fans can also get tickets at the Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket outlets including United Supermarkets or online at www.panhandletickets.com.