AMARILLO, TX – Puck management and turnovers…
That’s what hurt the Amarillo Bulls in their game versus the Odessa Jackalopes on Friday night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. Several defensive zone turnovers and poor handling of the puck led to goals by the visitors and in the end the Bulls dropped a 6-3 decision to the Jackalopes.
The Bulls remain seven points back of the Corpus Christi IceRays for the fourth and final playoff spot in the South Division. The IceRays were beaten 6-2 on home ice by the Shreveport Mudbugs.
Trey Bagwell, Quinn Warmuth and Jason Brancheau tallied for Amarillo, while Trevor Micucci took the loss in goal. Blake Bride scored twice for Odessa, while Zac Heintz, James Crossman, Jared Christy and Ricky Carballo had the others. CJ Hapward played in his first NAHL game between the pipes and posted the victory.
The first 10 minutes were played fairly cautiously by the two teams. Odessa jumped out to a 1-0 lead just past the midway mark as Blake Bride finished off a rebound off a Bulls player in the slot area. Nearly five minutes later the Bulls tied the game as Trey Bagwell wired a shot to the top corner past goaltender Hapward. Austin O’Rourke earned an assist on the play. The Jackalopes outshot Odessa 17-10 in the first period.
Special teams gave the Jackalopes the lead to start the second period as Zac Heintz riffled a shot past the stick side of goaltender Micucci. The Bulls tied the game up later in the stanza as Gleb Murtazin’s shot from the slot area was deflected away and after a scramble in front Quinn Warmuth was able to put the puck in the empty net. A short time later Odessa took a lead that wouldn’t be relinquished. The Bulls had a hard time moving the puck out of their own end and James Crossman’s turnaround shot beat Micucci threw the legs. The Amarillo Bulls outshot Odessa 11-10 in the second period.
The Jackalopes put the game away early in the final frame with two quick goals in the first five minutes. Jared Christy and Ricky Carballo scored on great shots to extend the advantage to 5-2. The Bulls attempted to make a late surge and pulled to within two when Jason Brancheau scored from Josh DeLuca and Brendan Michaelian. There was plenty of frantic play over a stretch of about six minutes as the Bulls were looking to get on a charge but goaltender Hapward denied all of the scoring plays. Blake Bride scorfed his second of the game to round out the scoring with just under three minutes remaining.
The Odessa Jackalopes outshot the Amarillo Bulls 40-37. There were nine total power plays with the Bulls going 0 for 3.
The New Avenues I-27 Freeway Series concludeds tomorrow night (Saturday) at 7 pm at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. It’s Star Wars Night Presented By YC3 in support of 24 Hours In The Canyon. The Bulls are wearing special Cancer Survivor Jerseys with a live auction to follow after the game.
Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket locations including United Supermarkets or online at www.amarillobulls.com and www.panhandletickets.com.