WICHITA FALLS, TX – The Amarillo Bulls would certainly like to hit the fast forward button in their games and move from the first to the third period. The middle stanza has been a problem for them recently, and it was a downfall in an 8-5 loss to the Wichita Falls Wildcats on Saturday night at Kay Yeager Coliseum.
The Bulls had built a 4-1 early second period lead chasing starting goaltender Austin Shaw to the bench. After that, the Wildcats rallied with six straight goals, including two on the power play, over a nine minute span and never looked back.
In the three games between the two teams the Bulls have outscored Wichita Falls 7-4 in the first and third periods combined. Meantime, the Wildcats have outscored the Bulls 10-2 in the middle stanzas. In each of the last two games, the teams had to use both of their goaltenders.
Cody Gylling tallied twice for Amarillo in the loss, while Will Harrison, Trent Dillinger and JJ Huerena added single markers. Defenseman Kasper Emanuelsson and forward Luke Novak each had two assists.
Another strong first period for the Amarillo Bulls and they made the most out of their six shots on goals scoring twice. Will Harrison notched his sixth goal in his last six games when he beat goaltender Austin Shaw, glove side, to make it 1-0 at the 3:50 mark. Luke Novak and Cody Gylling earned assists on the play. Four minutes later, the Wildcats pulled even on a great shot from the high slot. But the Bulls would show great restraint and take a 2-1 advantage just 13 seconds later when Cody Gylling tipped home a shot past Austin Shaw. Kasper Emanuelsson and Luke Novak added assists on the play. The Bulls were outshot by the Wildcats 16-6.
The second period was a wild one and featured eight goals, including six by the hometown Wildcats. The Bulls pushed the lead first to 3-1 when Trent Dillinger scored from Kyle Hartman and Will Harrison. Less than 30 seconds later, JJ Huerena scored on a great feed from Riley Christensen and Tristan Rostagno and it was 4-1. That fourth goal chased goaltender Austin Shaw who was replaced by David Zevnik. After that the Wichita Falls Wildcats were off to the raced and battled back with six straight goals over a nine minute span. The first three scored in a span of three minutes to tie the game 4-4. Wichita Falls used the power play to take the lead and then add to it with three more. The Bulls made a goaltending switch themselves with Jacob Weatherly taking over from Anton Martinsson The Wildcats outshot the Bulls 21-11 in the middle period.
The play settled down in the third period with teams trading goals and the Bulls limiting the number of opportunities by the home side. The Wildcats added their eighth goal early in the period. Cody Gylling rounded out the scoring when he notched his second of the game. His shot beat goaltender David Zevnik on the far post. Kasper Emanuelsson and Brady Crabtree grabbed assists.
The Amarillo Bulls were 0 for 4 on the power play, while the Wildcats connected twice on five chances. Despite outshooting the Wildcats 14-13 in the third, Amarillo trailed the final total of shots 47-31.
Despite the loss, the Bulls remain two points behind the idol Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees for the sixth and final playoff spot in the South Division. The Bulls still have a game in hand on the Killer Bees that they hope to use to their advantage early next week.
On Tuesday night the Amarillo Bulls return to Wichita Falls to face the Wildcats at Kay Yeager Coliseum at 7 pm. Fans can listen to all of the action beginning 20 minutes before the puck is dropped with the Wayland Baptist University Warm Up Show. Amarillo Bulls Hockey Presented by Westgate Mall On CBS Sports Radio 1440, www.amarillobulls.com and PPV courtesy of Fast Hockey follows with Denis J. Puska.
Hockey Returns to the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center on Friday, Jan. 16 and Saturday Jan. 17 when the Amarillo Bulls host the Odessa Jackalopes at 7 pm. Fans can inquire about the new $5 section and the All You Can Eat Seats by calling 242-1122 or visiting 301 South Polk. Additional tickets are available at the Civic Center Box Office and all United Supermarkets as well as online at www.panhandletickets.com.