TOPEKA, KS – Jon Russell fired two power play goals 18 seconds apart as the Amarillo Bulls held off the Topeka RoadRunners 5-4 at Kansas Expo Center Landon Arena.
The victory was the Bulls fifth of the season and it propelled them in sole possession of third place in the South Division. It was a wild third period that saw the Bulls blow a two-goal lead and needing a pair of power play goals from Russell on a five minute major advantage to survive the hometown RoadRunners.
That win was the Bulls fifth straight over Topeka, dating back to last season, and have taken seven of the last eight of the match-ups.
Other marksmen for the Bulls were Nick Fea, Collin Price and Alex Truscott. Fea also chipped in two assists. Jason Grande posted the win in goal. Scoring for Topeka were Will Schlagenhauf, Matt Barnes, Nick Schultz and Jake Rosenbaum.
The Amarillo Bulls penalty killing was put to the test in the first minute of play but they managed to keep things clean. The RoadRunners kept goaltender Jason Grande busy with plenty of shots on goal in the first period, but most of them were directed from long distance that he was able to handle. The Bulls best chance came in the final minute of play when Jon Russell was able to skate around the defenseman and get a shot away on goaltender Connor Murphy.
Topeka tallied the first goal 53 seconds into the second when Will Schlagenhauf scored on a shot that found the top corner. After that the Bulls started to build momentum and went to work offensively. Alex Truscott tipped home a blast from William Wellen at the 7:09 mark to tie the game. Four minutes later, Brendan Michaelian fired a shot towards the net that was nudged home by Collin Price. The Bulls power play then got into the act as newcomer Nick Fea’s sharp-angled shot went off the goaltender Connor Murphy and into the net. Each team had 11 shots on goal in the second period.
Amarillo’s two-goal lead to start the third period was short lived as Topeka rallied with two goals to tie the game. First Matt Barnes launched a shot towards the net that goaltender Grande couldn’t handle with his glove. Nick Schultz tied the game 3-3 on one-timer from the slot area. A short time later, Topeka goaltender Connor Murphy was tossed from the game for a five minute spearing penalty allowing the Bulls to have an extended power play and they took full advantage of it. Russell potted his of two following up a rebound in front of the net. On the ensuing face-off, Steven Ipri found Russell open who was able to hammer the puck past goaltender Emi Gransoe.
With time running out in the game the RoadRunners rounded out the scoring as Jake Rosenbaum pushed the puck just under the pad of goaltender Grande.
The Topeka RoadRunners outshot the Amarillo Bulls 40-23. There were nine combined power plays in the game with the Bulls going 3 for 5 and Topeka was 0 for 4.
The second game of the weekend series between the Amarillo Bulls and the Topeka RoadRunners is set for tomorrow (Saturday) night at 7:15 pm at Kansas Expo Center Landon Arena. Fans can tune into the game live on CBS Sports Radio 1440, online at www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV with Hockey TV beginning with the Bulls Warm Up Show at 6:45 pm.
Hockey returns to the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center on Friday, Oct. 27 and Saturday Oct. 28 when the Amarillo Bulls host the Corpus Christi IceRays. Friday is the return of the Family 4 Pack for $44 (four tickets, four hotdogs and four sodas) or Bring A Bud Pack for $22 (two tickets, two hotdogs and two sodas). Saturday is Pink In The Rink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness. Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk or by calling 242-1122. Fans can also purchase tickets from the Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket locations.