AMARILLO, TX – Cody Freeman and Karl Beckman scored goals five-seconds apart to snap a 5-5 tie and power the Amarillo Bulls to a 7-5 win over the Corpus Christi Ice Rays on Sunday night at The Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center.
The victory gave the Bulls five out of a possible six points for the weekend, and vaulted them into sole possession of second place just behind the Wichita Falls Wildcats.
It was nearly a game that got away from the Bulls as they saw a 5-1 lead evaporate in a span of 6 minutes between the end of the second and early third periods. The Ice Rays score three times in a 3:56 span in the final stanza to tie the game 5-5.
Head Coach Dennis Williams called a time out to encourage his troops and it paid off. Cody Freeman scored on a feed from Zack Smoot at 11:18 to make it 6-5. Michael Erickson added an assist on the play. On the ensuing face-off, Karl Beckman’s shot hit an Ice Rays defenseman and went into the empty net as the goaltender was out of position.
The Bulls tightened up the defense over the final seven minutes and didn’t let Corpus Christi another opportunity to get back into the game. Goaltender Mac Haight started for Amarillo but was pulled after the Ice Rays tied the game 5-5. Nikifor Szczerba took over and turned aside all four shots he faced.
It was a fast start for the Amarillo Bulls as they netted three goals before the game was 14 minutes old. Zack Smoot opened the scoring when he batted a puck in mid-air in behind the Ice Rays goaltender. Cody Freeman and Dan McDougall collected assists on the goal.
The Bulls extended their lead to 2-0 with a power play marker by Joe Kozlak as he tipped home a shot from Derek Hills. Mitch Rogge chipped in a second assist on the play. It didn’t’ take long for Amarillo to add to the lead when Zack Smoot scored on a breakaway at 13:53.
The Ice Rays rounded out the scoring with a late goal in the final four minutes of the stanza.
In the second period, the Bulls extended their lead to 4-1 on a strange goal that bounced off the back of the glass hit a Bulls’ player at the side of the net, and then Ice Rays goaltender before going in. It was credited to Smoot for his third of the game from Stephen Obarzanek and Mitch Rogge. Chris Cass gave the Bulls a 5-1 advantage with a third power play goal. He fired a shot through a screen of players in front. Derek Hills got the helper. The Ice Rays added a goal late in the second period to conclude the scoring.
The Corpus Christi Ice Rays outshot the Amarillo Bulls 29-25 including 13-5 in the third period. The Bulls were 3 for 6 on the power play while Corpus Christi was 1 for 7.
The Amarillo Bulls return to action next weekend with a pair of games at home against the New Mexico Mustangs on Friday, Oct. 1 and Saturday, Oct. 2 at 7 pm. The first 500 fans on Saturday night will receive a cowbell courtesy of Budweiser. Single game tickets are available at all Panhandle Ticket Outlets including United Supermarkets, or on line at www.amarillobulls.com. Service clubs, businesses and churches interested in bringing groups out to the games can call the office at 806-242-1122.
NAHL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
— — — —–
Corpus Christi 1 1 3 5
Amarillo 3 2 2 7
AMA – Zack Smoot (Cody Freeman, Dan McDougall) 3:31
AMA – (PP) Joe Kozlak (Derek Hills, Mitch Rogge) 13:15
AMA – Zack Smoot 13:53
COR – (PP) Jason Souva (Navarone Copley, Beau Walker) 15:29
AMA – (PP) Zack Smoot (Steven Obarzanek, Mitch Rogge) 7:31
AMA – (PP) Chris Cass (Derek Hills) 18:47
COR – Cody Milligan (Jacob Diamond) 19:03
COR – Beau Walker (Shane Gleason, Ben Hughes) 0:19
COR – Sam Cheraso (Jason Souva, Mike Benedict) 2:50
COR – Sam Cheraso 3:56
AMA – Cody Freeman (Zack Smoot, Michael Erickson) 11:18
AMA – Karl Beckman (TJ Sarcona) 11:23
POWER-PLAY CONVERSIONS: COR – 1 OF 7, AMA – 3 OF 6.
SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
— — — —–
COR 8 8 13 29
AMA 12 8 5 25
GOALIES: COR – Marco Wieser
AMA – Mac Haight
AMA – Nikifor Szczerba
OFFICIALS: REF – Brent Coulombe
LIN – Justin Bell,