Looking for their first sweep of the season, the Wildcats played another up-and-down offensive game with the Amarillo Bulls and defeated them 5-4 in overtime for the second straight night.
On Friday night, Evan Moyse had to make 44 saves to keep the game close. The Cats were intent on having a different night in terms of shots on goal, and they were the more energetic team to start Saturday night’s game.
Last season, the Cats always outshot the Bulls at the Amarillo Civic Center. Saturday night’s first period was more like what fans have come to expect of the Wildcats, who jumped to an 18-11 edge in shots through the first twenty minutes. At 8:25, Ilya Skvortsov streaked down the right wing and gave Jonathan Bendorf a backhand centering pass. From point-blank range, Bendorf was able to tuck the puck past Kyle Madore to open the scoring.
Just 56 seconds into the second period in the waning seconds of a power play, the Wildcats came together to complete a beautiful passing play. After Alex Truscott fired off the elbow of the net on one end, the Cats came marching up the ice on a 4-on-2 rush. Aleksi Poikola carried the puck down the right wing and dropped it off for Ryan Orgel, who set up Skvortsov in the right circle, who slapped a pass in behind Madore and off of Bendorf’s twig. The youngster had only to put his stick on the ice to tap home his second goal of the night and double the Wildcats’ lead.
Amarillo did not stay down for long. At the 2:43 mark of the middle frame, Kosta Likourezos marched into the Wichita Falls zone with speed and rifled a shot past Moyse to cut the Wildcats’ lead in half. A few minutes later, Hayden Broomhead skated down the right wing before pulling off a toe drag move and sneaking the puck past Moyse to tie the game. The Cats would kill off two consecutive 5-on-3 power plays heading into the third period.
Another tumultuous third period was at the Bull Pen. Wildcats defenseman Roman Kinal slung a shot from the right circle past Madore’s glove for his second goal of the season 5:18 into the third period. Just 63 seconds later, Brendan Walkom finished off a pass from Charlie Singerhouse on a 2-on-1 to tie the game back up. Halfway through the third, Orgel slapped another heavy one-timer past Madore at an identical spot from which he scored his goal on Friday night. Just 22 seconds later, the Bulls responded with a George Mika snipe to level the score and force overtime for a second consecutive night.
The three-on-three lasted much longer than it did Friday night. After several close calls failed to end the game, Orgel held the puck alive at the left point off an Amarillo clearing attempt. He skated towards the right corner, drawing the attention of the Bulls defenders, and threw a pass in front for Bendorf. The RPI commit finished the Bulls off with a hat trick goal 3:19 into overtime. Bendorf became the first Wildcat to score a hat trick since last season’s leading scorer Austin Albrecht did the honors on April 22nd, 2016 to sweep the Odessa Jackalopes. The Cats earned their first sweep of the season in Amarillo to close out the month of October.
Moyse had another busy night, turning aside 49 of the 53 shots he faced. Moyse earned his seventh victory, while Madore was given his fourth overtime loss after denying 35 of the 40 attempts Wichita Falls fired his way. The Wildcats will host the Amarillo Bulls on Friday, November 11th at Kay Yeager Coliseum.