NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX – Forward Jon Russell came up with a clutch performance for the Amarillo Bulls on Friday night at NYTEX Sports Center in North Richland Hills, TX
Russell scored on a penalty shot to tie the game in the third period and then fired the game winner in overtime to lift the Bulls past the Lone Star Brahmas 3-2. The win by the Bulls snapped a two game winless drought and kept them firmly planted in third place in the South Division.
The Bulls clearly dominated the game from the opening face-off, but were unable to separate themselves from the Brahmas by more than a goal. Colin Price had the other Amarillo goal, while goaltender Jason Grande posted the win.
“(Goatlender) Mitchell (Gibson) got away with a couple that should have been in the back of the net,” said Bulls Head Coach Rocky Russo. “That’s a 3-2 overtime game that should have been 6-1, but you take them anyway you can get them. As a group, I thought we took a big step forward tonight.”
It was evident early in the game that the Bulls were dialed in and came ready to play, out-working and out-hustling their opponents. Forward Alex Peterson hit the goal post on a great shot during the Bulls power play. Amarillo outshot Lone Star 9-7 in the first period.
Goal posts also came into play during the middle stanza as the Bulls hit two more including one by Nikita Sokolov.
Colin Price got Amarillo on the board first as he beat goaltender Mitchell Gibson on the top corner. The play was set up by some good work from his line mates Jason Brancheau and Nick Stuckless. The Brahmas came close to tying the game late in the period, but Brendan Michaelian and goaltender Jason Grande prevented any type of bid.
The Lone Star Brahmas turned up the temperature in the game in the third period and had the Bulls in early retreat mode. Forward Aidan Spellacy scored on a shot from the high slot area just 94 second into play. Less than two minutes later, the Brahmas took the lead when Austin O’Rourke tipped home a puck at the side of the net from Justin Addamo.
However, the Bulls tightened up and settled down after both of those goals and prevented the Brahmas from widening their gap. Jon Russell rushed in on a partial breakaway and was brought down by a Brahmas’ defender forcing a penalty shot.
Russell made no mistake on his penalty shot attempt as he fire a shot through the legs of goaltender Mitchell Gibson.
Both teams raced up and down the ice in a frantic pace over the final 10 minutes of regulation time. Neither team was able to pull ahead thanks to the hard work of the goaltenders.
In overtime, the play opened as each team was looking to for that magic formula to get the victory. Jon Russell raced in over the Brahmas blueline and wired a shot past goaltender Gibson to win the game.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Lone Star Brahmas 30-18. Penalty killing was at a high level as neither team could score on a combined 11 chances.
The seventh meeting of the season between the Bulls and the Brahmas takes place tomorrow
(Saturday) night at 7:30 pm at NYTEX Sports Center in North Richland Hills. Fans can tune into the game live on CBS Sports Radio 1440, online at www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV with Hockey TV beginning with pre-game coverage at 7:10 pm.
Hockey is back at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center on Saturday, Dec. 2 and Sunday, Dec. 3 when the Amarillo Bulls host the Topeka RoadRunners at 7 pm. Sunday the Bulls welcome Mexican Luchador The Blue Demon for autographs. There will be $1 hotdogs and a limited amount of $8 Silver Level Tickets.
Fans can visit the Bulls Office at 301 South Polk or call 806-242-1122 to purchase tickets or to find out further information. Tickets are also available at the Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket locations.