AMARILLO, TX – A bad second period was the difference for the Amarillo Bulls on Friday night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center.
The Bulls surrendered four second period goals via the power play and dropped a 6-5 decision to the Topeka RoadRunners. Despite the loss, the Bulls remained alone in third place in the South Division standings, while Topeka snapped a nine game winless drought.
Gleb Murtazin, Stephen Rex, Alex Truscott, Collin Price and Nick Stuckless tallied for Amarillo. Truscott and forward Jason Brancheau each had two helpers. Alexei Masanko started in goal for the Bulls, but was pulled after 40 minutes for Jason Grande.
The first seven minutes didn’t start well for the Bulls as the visitors were able to nab the game’s first goal and control much of the play, producing nine shots. After that the Bulls mounted a charge and scored two goals in the final eight minutes of play to gain a 2-1 lead. Defenseman Sam Martel scored for Topeka in the first period, while Gleb Murtazin and Stephen Rex tallied for the homeside. Murtazin scored on a rebound attempt after some great pressure by the Bulls. In the final minute, Stephen Rex stole the puck at the blue line a wired a shot past goaltender Connor Murphy. Getting assists for the Bulls were Brendan Michaelian, Steven Ipri and Alex Truscott. The Bulls outshot Topeka 15-13 in the first period.
It was a wild second period between the two teams as six goals were scored with all Topeka’s markers coming on the power play, while the Bulls managed two at even strength. The Bulls and the RoadRunners traded the first four goals until the visitors netted the final two in the last three minutes of play.
Collin Price tallied for Amarillo on a rebound opportunity at the side of the net with help from Brendan Datema. Later, it was Alex Truscott who launched a shot from inside the blueline from Nick Fea and Cameron Bartkoski. The turning point in the contest was back-to-back goals from Dallas Tulik and Will Schlagenhauff in a span of 2:10 to break a 4-4 tie. It was Tulik’s second goal of the game and of the period, while Jakub Urbanek also found the back of the net. Amarillo outshot Topeka 12-11 in the second period.
The Bulls came out pressing in the third period looking to pull even, but it was the RoadRunners that managed to get a big goal to extend the lead to two goals. Dylan Rauh scored on a scramble in front of the net.
The Bulls had a critical two man advantage late in the third period looking to get the game closer but goaltender Murphy denied the chances.
Down the stretch, the Bulls kept firing and finally found success thanks to the hard work of Simon Morberg, who took the puck to the front of the net. Several Bulls players converged on the net and Nick Stuckless was the last person to touch the puck and get it over the goal line.
In the final minute the Bulls pulled their goaltender trying to get the equalizer and force overtime but their attempt fell short.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Topeka RoadRunners 44-28. Topeka finished 4 for 7 on the power play while the Bulls were 0 for 6.
There is one more game left in the short home stand for the Amarillo Bulls and it takes place tomorrow (Saturday) night at 7 pm versus the Topeka RoadRunners. The activities during the night include B’s Bouncers, the Seven Grill and Bar Bike Giveaway and a demonstration by the Don Harrington Discovery Center during the first intermission. Tickets are available at the Bulls Office (open 10 am to 4 pm) located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket locations including United Supermarkets or online at www.panhandletickets.com. For further information call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.