AMARILLO, TX – The Amarillo Bulls eight game unbeaten streak at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center came to a halt on Friday night.
A goal in the second half of the middle stanza held up as the difference as Bulls dropped a tough 1-0 decision to the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. The loss was the first for the Bulls in eight games and it shrunk their South Division lead to six points over the Topeka RoadRunners and the Killer Bees.
It was Military Appreciation Night and a large crowd on hand watched a special pre-game ceremony that saw Military personnel rappel down from the rafters of the Amarillo Civic Center. There were various other ceremonies throughout the night. Many fans were thankful of the night and found it very emotional.
Something had to give in the game tonight as both teams had big streaks heading in. The Bulls hadn’t loss on home ice in eight games and had a winning streak of eight thanks to six straight decisions away from home. The Killer Bees had not lost in regulation on the road.
“You could tell that we didn’t have our normal energy level in the first 40 minutes,” said Bulls Assistant Coach Harry Mahood. “But the guys showed some signs of life and heart in the third period. They had a couple of strong penalty kills and some scoring chances.”
It was a tight checking opening 20 minutes between the Bulls and the Killer Bees. The two teams combined for just 12 shots with the Killer Bees having the advantage 7-5. There were two power play opportunities in the first period with neither team being able to find the back of the net.
The second period featured more of the same play with the Bulls unable to get their skating legs underneath them. The Bulls had early power plays, but didn’t close in front of the net. With just under seven minutes remaining in the period, the Killer Bees kept the puck inside Bulls’ territory and scored on a chance in front. In the final seconds of the stanza, a skirmish broke out featuring several players from each team. The Bulls were outshot by the Killer Bees 10-8 in the second period.
After killing off a five-on-three to start the third period, the Bulls tried to ignite their offense. Amarillo had several big chances in front of goaltender Nick Schmit including a partial breakaway by Matt Sieckhaus . The Bulls pulled their goaltender in the final minute looking for the equalizer. Mike Davis and Brady Ferguson had a couple of scoring chances at the side of the net. Amarillo had the shot advantage 12-8, and the play on its side in the final 20 minutes.
“We took bad penalties at some crucial times in the third period, and then we couldn’t get the puck to the right places of the net on the power play,” Mahood said. “We told the guys all game long to get to the front of the net and take away the goalies’ eyes, but it was something they couldn’t do.”
When the final shot tally was completed, each team had 25.
Goaltender Nick Schmit stopped all 25 shots he faced to post the shutout. Collin Delia played well for the Bulls stopping 24 of 25 shots.
The Amarillo Bulls wrap-up their short two-game homestand tomorrow (Saturday) night at 7 pm looking to gain a split with the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. It’s High Plains Food Bank Night and fans can bring two non-perishable food items or canned goods to the Bulls Hockey Office or Civic Center Box Office and receive $4 off an adult priced ticket.
Single game 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 Seven Game Flex Packs or Group Rates, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.