HIDALGO, TX – The Amarillo Bulls strengthened their lead in the South Division to six points on Friday night at State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, TX.
Kyle Gattelaro scored twice and Matt Sieckhaus had a three point game as the Bulls doubled the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees 4-2. It’s the first of four straight games between the two teams which will close out a two game series in South Texas tomorrow night. The scene will shift to the Budweiser Bull Pen for two more games next weekend.
Roman Ammirato and Brady Ferguson had the other Bulls’ goals, while Collin Delia made 23 saves to post his 10th win of the season. Bulls Assistant Coach Harry Mahood said the team wanted to atone for their play the last time they were in South Texas.
“We didn’t feel we had our compete level where we like to have it when we were here last,” Mahood said. “The difference tonight was our shot blocking and there must have been 12 to 15 blocks especially in the third on that one penalty kill. The guys rallied around this big first place game.”
It was a quick jump to the first period for the Amarillo Bulls as they came out skating and working hard. Kyle Gattelaro gave the Bulls a 1-0 lead when he scored on an opportunity at the side of the net from Matt Sieckhaus at 6:13. Seven minutes later, the Bulls added to their lead when Sieckhaus tipped home Roman Ammirato’s shot between the pads of Olli Kalkaja. The young Finish netminder was pulled after that goal. Amarillo had the shot advantage 12-7 over the Killer Bees.
The Bulls were able take advantage on their scoring opportunities in the middle stanza and extend the lead. Brad Ferguson scored a power play when his shot went off a Killer Bees’ defenseman and past the goaltender to make it 3-0. Rio Grande Valley broke through to cut the deficit to two goals. But near the end of the period, Gattelaro got his second of the game when he backhanded a shot past Nick Schmit with less than a minute remaining. Matt Sieckhaus set up the goal with a great pass. Rio Grande Valley outshot the Bulls 11-6 in the second period.
“A couple of times in practice this week we talked about those pucks the defenseman win in the neutral zone,” said Mahood. “Ben Jentsch (defenseman) made the most of that opportunity along the boards, and that helped to set up the goal.”
Early in the third period the Killer Bees trimmed the lead to 4-2 off a scramble in front of the net. After that the Bulls defense was able to seal it and prevent the home team from getting any closer. One of the big moments in the game was the Bulls ability to kill off a late penalty. Forward Cody Gylling blocked several shots, including several in a row.
The Amarillo Bulls were outshot by the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees 25-23. There were seven total power plays in the game with the Bulls going 1 for 4 and the Killer Bees were 0 for 3.
The six game Ranch Rodeo road trip comes to an end for the Amarillo Bulls tomorrow (Saturday) night against the Killer Bees at 7 pm. The game can be heard live on CBS Sports Radio 1440, www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV courtesy of Fast Hockey, beginning 15 minutes before the puck is dropped.
Hockey returns to the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center next weekend when the Bulls host the Killer Bees at 7 pm. Military Appreciation night takes place on Friday with all Military getting in free with an ID. On Saturday fans can support the High Plains Food Bank by bringing two non-perishable food items to the either the Bulls Office or Civic Center Box Office and receiving $4 off an adult ticket.
Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets including United Supermarkets. For further information on Group Rates or Seven Game Flex Packs, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.