In their first official road trip of the 2016-2017 season, the Wildcats stunned the Amarillo Bulls in an emotional come-from-behind victory to claim a 5-4 victory on Friday night.
Despite struggling early in the season, the Wildcats’ power play was sharp and crisp to start the game. Right off the bat, Ryan Orgel slapped home a one-timer after he was given a D-to-D pass from Seamus Donohue in the high slot. Orgel ripped his second goal of the season past Kyle Madore from the top of the left circle to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.
George Mika and his top line continued to light the lamp. On a 3-on-2 rush, Hayden Broomhead attempted a spin-o-rama pass to Kosta Likourezos. The puck deflected off his stick and onto the tape of Mika, who ripped home a shot low to the stick side of Evan Moyse from the right circle. At the 16:05 mark of the game, Ricky Carballo responded with a burst of speed through the middle of the ice. He was able to deke to his backhand and finish off a breakaway goal to score his 4th of the season and regain the lead for the Cats.
The second period was owned by the Bulls. The Cats fell silent on an early power play, and it was all Amarillo from there. Jonathan Dagnal cleaned up a rebound off a broken play at the side of the Wildcats goal about halfway through regulation time. Moyse was thrown off by the odd bounce and Dagnal took advantage to tie the game 2-2.
Mika scored another goal on Amarillo’s third power play of the evening. He wound up for a booming slap shot from between the circles, and blasted the puck over Moyse for his 8th goal of the season and his team-leading 19th point. A scrap at the end of the second frame caused another Amarillo penalty and lead to the Cats’ fourth power play of the night. They failed to convert, though they did generate some much-needed momentum.
The Cats had the Bulls on their heels for a large portion of the third period. After over four minutes of continued pressure, Poikola set up Ilya Skvortsov in the slot, who caught Madore shifting the wrong direction and slipped the puck past him to tie the game up at three. Charlie Singerhouse would respond with a snipe from between the circles late in the third to regain the lead.
After a slashing penalty was called against Donohue with under two minutes remaining in the game, the game appeared to be lost as the Cats were then shorthanded. However, their persistence would later draw a penalty and result in a 4-on-4. With Moyse pulled, the Cats had five attackers and buzzed all over the Amarillo zone in an attempt to tie the game. Finally, with 4.5 seconds showing on the clock, Skvortsov ripped home his second goal of the game from the right circle and forced overtime. Donohue came straight off the ice after serving his penalty and buried the puck past Madore to cap off an astonishing comeback victory for Wichita Falls.
Evan Moyse saved 44 of a possible 48 shots en route to a well-deserved sixth victory of the season. Madore was charged with his third overtime loss, denying 36 of 41. The Wildcats will close out their first road series against the Bulls on Saturday, October 29th at the Amarillo Civic Center. Puck drops at 7:05 pm CT.