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'Cats Comeback Bid Falls Short in Game 2

(Photo: Troy Young

AMARILLO, Texas – A spirited, three-goal, second-period comeback from the Wichita Falls Wildcats proved for naught, as the Amarillo Bulls claimed a 7-4 win in Game 2 of the South Division Semifinals at the Amarillo Civic Center on Saturday night.

Todd Koritzinsky, Kyle Bauman and Ben Kucera each had a goal and an assist in the contest for Wichita Falls, while Jake Townsend, Max Reisinger and Sam Piazza all chipped in with an assist. Evan Okeley also found the back of the net in the tilt.

The Wildcats had the first quality scoring chance less than 90 seconds into the game. With Wichita Falls on the man advantage, Piazza tried to clean up a loose puck at the side of the net. His effort beat Paul Berrafato, but hit the crossbar and then the post and stayed out.

Less than a minute later, Amarillo made the Wildcats pay for the missed chance, as Roman Ammirato scored on a shorthanded breakaway to make it 1-0 2:09 into the game.

The Bulls poured on the pressure, and expanded their advantage with two goals 1:16 apart. First, Cody Gylling cleaned up a rebound in the slot, flinging it under the crossbar to make it 2-0 at 8:35 of the frame. Then, Tyler Gernhofer picked off a Wildcats breakout pass and skated in uncontested, before beating Chase Munroe to make it 3-0 at 9:51 of the first period.

Wichita Falls came storming out of the gates in the second period, and pulled a goal closer with just over five minutes played in the stanza. With the Wildcats on a five-on-three power play, Kucera played a dot-to-dot pass to Bauman, who roofed it over Berrafato to make it 3-1.

The Wildcats continued to press and tied the score in the blink of an eye roughly half-way through the period. First, Koritzinsky cleaned up a rebound at the back door after a persistent effort by Townsend to get the puck into the zone. Then, just nine seconds later, Okeley tied the affair, as he rifled a shot home right off a faceoff to make it 3-3 at 10:56 of the period.

Amarillo regained the lead as the period wound to a close, as Kyle Gattelaro scored on the power play to make it 4-3 with 18:19 remaining.

In the third, Wichita Falls looked to tie the affair for a second time, but two goals in quick succession by Brady Ferguson quickly dashed those hopes. First, Ferguson scored from an acute angle on the power play at 10:42 of the third, before potting a shorthanded goal at 11:45 of the frame. Eric Purcell added a seventh goal for Amarillo just for good measure at the 15:11 mark.

Kucera would post a five-on-three consolation goal for the Wildcats as time wound down, his second point of the night, but that concluded the scoring, as Wichita Falls dropped Game 2 7-4.

The Wildcats are next in action on Friday, April 11, when they host the Amarillo Bulls in Game 3 of the South Division Semifinals. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 p.m. at the Kay Yeager Coliseum. Tickets are available by calling the KYC Box Office at (940) 716-5555.

Fans that cannot attend the game can follow all the action on FASTHockey.com, with an audio-only broadcast available on UStream.com. Fans may also follow the Wildcats on Twitter (@WFWildcats) for in-game score updates.

Scoring Summary

1st Period

Amarillo – Roman Ammirato (shorthanded) (Tyler Gernhofer, Brett Szajner) 2:09
Amarillo – Cody Gylling (Brendan McGuire, Patrick Pollock) 8:35
Amarillo – Tyler Gernhofer (unassisted) 9:51

2nd Period

Wichita Falls – Kyle Bauman (power play) (Ben Kucera, Sam Piazza) 5:24
Wichita Falls – Todd Koritzinsky (Jake Townsend) 10:47
Wichita Falls – Evan Okeley (Max Reisinger) 10:56
Amarillo – Kyle Gattelaro (power play) (Roman Ammirato, Brendan Vetter) 18:19

3rd Period

Amarillo – Brady Ferguson (power play) (Patrick Pollock) 10:42
Amarillo – Brady Ferguson (shorthanded) (Mike Davis) 11:45
Amarillo – Eric Purcell (Roman Ammirato) 15:11
Wichita Falls – Ben Kucera (power play) (Kyle Bauman, Todd Koritzinsky) 18:04