WICHITA FALLS, TX – The Amarillo Bulls have their first four game winning streak of the season.
Charlie Combs fired his second goal of the game, which was the eventual game winner, early in the third period and the defense did the rest as the Bulls dumped the Wichita Falls Wildcats 5-4 on Wednesday night at Kay Yeager Coliseum.
The win was a huge game in hand for the Bulls and it pulled them to within three points of both the Wenatchee Wild and the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees for a playoff spot in the South Division. The Bulls host the Wild in an important pair of games on Friday and Saturday at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center.
AJ Duggan, Jesper Synellius and Luke Novak had the other Bulls’ goals, while Jacob Weatherly stopped 24 of 31 shots to notch the win in goal. Cody Gylling chipped in two assists. It’s Weatherly’s third victory against the Wildcats this season. One of the differences in the game was the Bulls penalty killing that was 1 for 3. In the past three games Amarillo has killed off their last 11 of their last 13 penalties taken.
The opening period featured a total of four goals, and after a slow start the Bulls were able to gain control and the edge in play in the final six minutes. The Wildcats opened the scoring with a goal in the first 5:25. After the Bulls killed off a penalty, they were able to get to work on the power play and it didn’t take long for it to pay off. Charlie Combs scored on a one-timer from Jesper Synellius and Cody Gylling at 15:12. Three minutes later, the Bulls took the lead when Luke Novak put home a rebound in front of the net from Ben Jentsch. In the final minute, the Wildcats tied the game up on a play in front of the net. The Bulls were outshot 11-9 in the first period.
Seven minutes into the second period Jesper Synellius gave the Bulls a 3-2 lead when his shot beat goaltender David Zevnick between the legs. Cody Gylling and Charlie Combs earned assists on the play. Six minutes later, the Wildcats tied the game when a shot snuck by the blocker of goaltender Weatherly. The Bulls controlled much of the play in the second despite only outshooting the Wildcats 10-9.
It was a fast start to the final 20 minutes for the Bulls and it started due to a turnover at the Wildcats blueline. AJ Duggan grabbed the puck and beat the goaltender on the glove side just 10 seconds into the stanza. Three minutes later, Charlie Combs stole the and raced in on a breakaway to give the Bulls a 5-3 lead. It was his 21st of the season. The Wildcats scored their fourth goal 25 seconds later to cut the deficit to 5-4 but that would be as close as they would get. The Bulls penalty killing kept the home side off the board in the final two minutes of game despite the goalie being pulled for a two- man advantage.
The Wichita Falls Wildcats outshot the Amarillo Bulls 31-24. The Bulls were 2 for 5 on the power play while the Wildcats were 1 for 3.
Hockey is back at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center as the Wenatchee Wild make their first appearance in the Texas Panhandle to face the Amarillo Bulls on Friday and Saturday at 7 pm. Friday is Texas Plains Federal Credit Union and there will be team posters handed out at the door. Monsters Inc characters will also be available for photos with the fans.
Saturday is sponsored by Marble Depot and free noisemakers are handed out to fans who come out early. Fans can receive $2 off their ticket for wearing green in honor of an early celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.
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, call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.