BLAINE, MN – A big second period powered the Amarillo Bulls back in the win column on the 2nd day of the North American Hockey League Showcase here on Thursday night.
The Bulls scored four times in the second period including two late in the stanza to push past the Minnesota Wilderness 6-2. The victory improved the Bulls record to 2-1-0-0 and moved them into sole possession of 2nd place in the South Division.
Goals came off the sticks of Devin Panzeca, Alex Truscott, Collin Price, Connor Witherspoon, Simon Morberg and Jason Brancheau. Brandon Bussi notched the win in goal turning aside 26 of 28 shots he faced in his first start of the season.
“I was very happy. We bounced back with a great team performance,” said Bulls Head Coach Rocky Russo. “Our compete-level was there from the puck drop. Bussi was very good tonight. He made all of the saves he needed too and a couple we didn’t expect.”
“Getting evenly distributed scoring this early in the season is a great sign for our club. It shows that we have depth up front and many different players are capable of getting on the score sheet.”
Amarillo came out hard and fast in the opening period and had the Wilderness on the ropes peppering goaltender Trevor Micucci with 20 shots. Devin Panzeca scored his first NAHL goal when he followed up a rebound from Alex Truscott and Quinn Warmuth at the 11:11 mark.
Special teams took over in the second period as each team had a five minute power play and were able to score. Blake Bride scored on a pass from Kosta Likourezos and Luke Dow. The Bulls responded with their own extended power play goal as Alex Truscott scored an unassisted marker from the short side. Three minutes later, a face-off win by the Bulls led to the team taking a two-goal advantage as Cameron Bartkoski’s shot was tipped home by Simon Morberg. Minnesota crawled to within a goal when Nick Altmann scored off a screen shot from the point on the power play. It didn’t take long for Amarillo to put the game out of reach with a couple of goals in a two minute span. Connor Witherspoon scored on a great shot through the goaltender’s legs and then Collin Price fired a shot with help from Cameron Bartkoski and Bronson Adams. The Bulls outshot the Wilderness 19-12 in the second period.
Amarillo rounded out the scoring in the third period as Jason Brancheau scored on a terrific individual effort at the 6:21 mark.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot Minnesota 52-26. Each team had three power play opportunities and they combined for three goals (Minnesota 2 and Amarillo 1).
Up next at the North American Hockey League Showcase for the Amarillo Bulls is a date with an old foe the Bismarck Bobcats at 7 pm at the Schwann Super Rink. The Bulls have won four of the five previous meetings that have either taken place at the Showcase or the Robertson Cup National Championship Tournament. Fans can tune into the action live on CBS Sports Radio 1440, online at www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV with Hockey TV beginning with the Warm Up Show at 6:40 pm. The puck drop is set with Denis J. Puska at 7 pm.
Hockey is back at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center on Friday, Sept. 29 and Saturday, Sept. 30 when the Bulls host the defending Robertson Cup National Champion Lone Star Brahmas at 7 pm. Friday is College Night with Discounted Tickets available.
Fans can purchase tickets to both games at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket locations including United Supermarkets or by calling 1-806-242-1122.