AMARILLO, TX – The Amarillo Bulls 10-game winning streak came to a sudden end on Saturday night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center.
The Corpus Christi IceRays nipped the Amarillo Bulls 3-2 in a shootout despite another third period comeback by the home team in the contest. The loss was the Bulls fifth in overtime or a shootout this season, and first on home ice since late November. The Amarillo Bulls were trying to follow up an impressive 10-3 romp over the IceRays the night pervious, and in the game of hockey that task can be tough to repeat at any level.
“We have talked about the light switch going on and off and I knew it was going to come back and bite us,” said Bulls Assistant Coach Rocky Russo. “We waited until the third period before we decided to play hockey. We slept through the first 40 minutes and when we did have opportunities in the first and second it was just perimeter, and didn’t put any bodies in front of Anthony Stolarz.”
The young Corpus Christi goaltender was outstanding in goal keeping the Bulls off the score sheet in the first 40 minutes before they finally broke through.
After trailing 1-0 heading into the final stanza, Karl Beckman and Brooks Behling scored 24 seconds apart to give the Bulls a 2-1 advantage. Beckman scored on a one timer via the power play from Greg Gibson and Brooks Behling. Then Behling gave Amarillo a lead that lasted until the final two minutes when he followed up his own rebound in front of the net. However, the IceRays kept pressing forward and tied the game with 2:08 remaining.
It was a furious overtime dominated by the Bulls but they couldn’t get anything past the IceRays netminder.
In the shootout, the IceRays scored first and then Omar Mullan tied the game on the fourth round. It went to the third round of sudden death shooters before Corpus Christi scored and the Bulls couldn’t follow it up.
A couple of fights highlighted the opening 20 minutes of play. Geoff Fortman and Alex Carey got into altercations with IceRays’ players. The Bulls controlled the shots in the first period and despite having 15, only a few were quality scoring chances. Corpus Christi scored the game’s first goal when they kept the puck in at the blue line.
The second period was controlled by the Bulls but they failed to find the back of the net despite outshooting Corpus Christi 15-5. TJ Sarcona had one of the best scoring chances but it was grabbed by the blocker hand of goaltender Anthony Stolarz.
One of the big differences in the two games of the series was the Bulls ability on Friday night to push the IceRays defense with their speed. Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams said this is something they have been trying to stress to the team.
“We built our team around our speed,” said Williams. “I am a true believer in keeping our feet moving at all times. Even if you are not fast you are still going to get there and make plays. The guys do a good job. I tell them to drive wide inside-outside and go to that far post. The true hockey players, the guys that want to score goals don’t pull out and go around the net. They protect the puck and go to that far post.
The Amarillo Bulls continue their home stand next weekend when their nasty rivals the Topeka RoadRunners visit the Budweiser Bull Pen on Friday and Saturday at 7 pm. On Friday it’s Teacher Appreciation Night sponsored by Amarillo Community Federal Credit Union. All teachers will be admitted to the game free if they show their ID. The Bulls will welcome The Green Men to the game on Saturday night who are sure to bring some fun and excitement. 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 Rates, Flex Packs or Corporate Marketing Partnerships, please call The Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.