NOTE The Amarillo Bulls helped The Hope and Healing Place raise approximately $18,000 in the post game jersey auction.
AMARILLO, TX – The Amarillo Bulls had been very good at protecting third period leads during the season. That came to an end on Saturday night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center as the visiting Odessa Jackalopes fired four goals in the third and went on to a 5-2 win.
The momentum appeared to be on the Bulls side to start the third period as the Bulls held a 2-1 advantage thanks to a go ahead goal by Joey Molinaro. But Odessa’s offence got rolling by scoring three goals less than four minutes apart to take a 4-2 lead. The Jacks added a fifth goal later in the third period.
The victory pulled Odessa to within a single point of the fourth and final playoff spot in the South Division as Corpus Christi dropped a 4-2 decision to the Lone Star Brahmas on home ice.
It was a scoreless first period of play as the Bulls were outshot 15-12. The two teams had excellent scoring chances including one by forward Mykyta Sheptytsky who was robbed by goaltender Dean Shatzer.
Special teams got the Bulls on the board early in the third period as Jeff Solo completed a pass from Tyler Gernhofer at the 6:33 mark. Gernhofer’s pass was right on the money and it allowed Solo to get a shot off right away and put it behind Shatzer.
The Jackalopes pulled even thanks to a face-off win and a deflection off a stick in front of the net. It didn’t take long for the Bulls to fight back and take the lead before the period would come to an end. The combination of George Mika, Joey Molinaro and Coale Norris capitalized off a turnover. Molinaro used Norris as a decoy and fired a shot through the legs of the goaltender with less than a minute remaining. Amarillo outshot Odessa 11-9 in the stanza.
The third period didn’t go well for the Bulls as they were unsuccessful in padding their lead. The visiting Jackalopes went to work and used transition hockey and well-placed shots to tie the game and eventually take the lead. The go ahead goal was scored near the midway mark of the period. After Odessa collected all of the momentum and built a three goal lead, Amarillo tried to press forward and climb back into the contest but were unsuccessful.
Special teams were very successful for the Amarillo Bulls as they killed off all four penalties, not giving the Jackalopes any quality scoring chances.
For the first time in five games the Amarillo Bulls were outshot by the opposition. Odessa had the advantage 37-33. There were just seven power plays with the Bulls scoring the lone goal on four attempts.
The Amarillo Bulls conclude a six game home stand next weekend with a pair of games against the Corpus Christi IceRays on Friday and Saturday at 7 pm at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. Friday is Marble Depot Night, while Saturday is Merrick Pet Care Night. Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk for by calling 806-242-1122. Fans can also stop by the Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Locations.