AMARILLO, TX – A third big deficit was too big of a hill to climb for the Amarillo Bulls on Sunday night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center.
The Bulls surrendered three goals in the first 26 minutes of the game and fell short in a 3-2 loss to the Corpus Christi IceRays. Amarillo failed to use a game-in-hand to its advantage and remain tied for 2nd place in the South Division with the Texas Tornado, one point back of the Topeka RoadRunners.
It was the Bulls first regulation loss on home ice this season and just their third overall. It was a tough game for the Bulls which seem to struggle with their game right from the opening face-off. The IceRays were able to capitalize mistakes and prevent the Bulls from another big rally.
“In all honesty we didn’t show up for six periods this weekend,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams. “It was uncharacteristic and an embarrassing effort by our guys. We didn’t execute, play to our strengths or respect our opponent. We didn’t do a lot of good things.”
“We have to go back to the drawing board Monday morning because the way we played shows that we have a lot of work to do to get a championship team here.”
The Amarillo Bulls had hoped for a better start to the first period on Sunday afternoon but for the fourth time in as many games gave up the first goal. A backhand shot by an IceRays’ player went off of a defenseman and in behind Chad Catt.
The Bulls had the shot advantage in the opening period 14-8 and a couple of good chances but couldn’t beat Hayden Stewart.
In the second period the Ice Rays tallied twice six-minutes apart to extend their lead to 3-0. However, late in the period the Bulls mounted their charge by the penalty kill as TJ Sarcona converted a play from Tyler Deresky at the 16:10 mark to make it 3-1. Each team had 15 shots on goal in the middle stanza.
The Bulls had hoped to use the momentum gained from late in the second period in the final 20 minutes, but were unable to get much offense going and took untimely penalties. John Rey cut the deficit to one goal when his shot deflected off an IceRays’ defenseman’s glove and in the net. Tyler Deresky and Matt Sieckhaus earned assists on the goal. The Bulls pulled their goaltender in the final minute but failed to get the equalizer.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Corpus Christi IceRays 39-25, including 10-2 in the third period. There were 10 total power plays with the IceRays going 1 for 6 and the Bulls were 0 for 4.
Next weekend is a busy one for the Bulls with three games in three nights. It starts on Friday and Saturday when the Bulls visit the Odessa Jackalopes at Ector County Coliseum at 7 pm. Fans can tune into the game live on ESPN1440 and www.amarillobulls.com beginning with pre-game coverage at 6:45 pm and Denis J. Puska. 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.
The Bulls return to home ice next Sunday, Dec. 9 for the 3rd annual Sonic Sunday when they host the Wichita Falls Wildcats at 6 pm. Details on how fans can get free tickets for Sonic Sunday on Monday night’s Amarillo Bulls Radio Show at 6 pm.