AMARILLO, TX – Character and signature wins are key building blocks for any young sports team. Those wins can shape and mould many more wins and events to come. That signature win is what the Amarillo Bulls picked up on Friday night, rallying from two, two-goal deficits to edge the Corpus Christi IceRays 5-4 at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center.
It was the Bulls fourth win of the season and second in their last two on home ice. Brady Crabtree netted the game winner in the shootout, his second marker of the contest, while Ruslan Rhakmatov, Kasper Emanuelsson and newcomer Will Harrison picked up singles. Anton Martinsson came on in long relief to post the win in goal.
The Bulls rallied from 2-0 and 4-2 deficits to tie the game and then needed a shootout to decide the contest. The shootout win was the Bulls second in their last four years. It was a long game that took nearly three hours to play. There were 84 shots on goal, 14 power plays, and 122 minutes in penalties.
It wasn’t a good start for the Amarillo Bulls in the first five minutes of the game. The Bulls surrendered two goals in a span of just over three minutes and trailed 2-0. That second goal sent starting goaltender Jacob Weatherly to the bench for Anton Martinsson. But after that it was all Amarillo outshooting the IceRays 20-3 and having four consecutive power plays. The Bulls trimmed the deficit to 2-1 when Will Harrison scored on a great shot beating the goaltender short side. Amarillo outshot Corpus Christi 20-5 in the first period.
The second period the Bulls pulled even on a great face-off win and wrist shot from Kasper Emanuelsson that beat Luke Pickar just under the cross bar. Ruslan Rhakmatov and Will Harrison earned assists on the play. After that the IceRays re-established a two goal lead thanks to a 5 on 3 power play goal and a another even strength. Corpus Christi outshot Amarillo 24-5 with most of those shots coming on five consecutive power plays. Tristan Rostagno had a goal called back when the linesmen said it was offside.
It was an exciting third period with teams combining for 28 shots. The Bulls trimmed the deficit to 4-3 when Brady Crabtree scored on the power play from Cody Gylling and Ruslan Rhakmatov. Nearly three minutes later, Amarillo tied the game when Rhakmatov scored his first of the season on a great pass from Kasper Emanuelsson. The play was set up by a great rush towards the net by Harrison. The Ice Rays thought they had taken the lead in the final four minutes on a power play goal but the referee said the puck didn’t go in the net.
The Bulls had to fend off a 5-on-3 power play in the final six minutes of regulation and then had a power play in the final minute that continued into overtime. There was only one goal in the shootout and it was tallied by Crabtree as he put a great move on Pickar to score. Martinsson prevented any of the IceRays from scoring in the shootout.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Corpus Christi IceRays 44-40 including 17-11 in the third period. Each team went 1 for 7 on the powerplay.
The two South Division rivals will meet again tomorrow (Saturday) night at 7 pm at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. It’s Hillside Christian Chuch, Scout and City Employees all having Group Nights. For a second night in a row, the Bulls are wearing special jerseys with a live auction to follow immediately after the game in support of Amarillo youth Hockey.
Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets including United Supermarkets or online at www.panhandletickets.com. For further information on Group Tickets, 10 Game Flex Packs, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.