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Preview: Wildcats vs. Bulls

Game Notes: 10/4 vs. Amarillo Bulls

Wildcats vs. Bulls
After six straight games away from home, the Wildcats return to Kay Yeager Coliseum for the first time since Sept. 13 and 14 when they host the Amarillo Bulls this weekend. Friday’s contest marks the first of eight matchups between these two squads. Following this weekend’s tilts, the Bulls and Wildcats will next tangle in Amarillo on Dec. 20 and 21. Last month, the two teams split a pair of preseason games in Wichita Falls, with Amarillo winning the first contest, 2-1, before the Wildcats rebounded for a hard-fought, 6-4 win the next night. The Bulls had the Wildcats’ number last season, posting an 8-0 record in head-to-head match-ups.

Amarillo Ambles to the Arena
The Amarillo Bulls make their way to Kay Yeager Coliseum sporting a 3-2-1 record after posting a sweep of their own last weekend against the Odessa Jackalopes. Amarillo, last year’s Robertson Cup winners, currently resides in third place in the South Division, with seven points through six games. The Bulls boast the league’s best power play, with 11 goals on 23 man-advantage opportunities, giving them a 47.8% success rate. Tyler Gernhofer (6-2-8) and Roman Ammirato (2-6-8) are currently leading the way on offense for Amarillo, with the former’s goal-total good for the second-most in the league. In net, Collin Delia and Paul Berrafato have split time thus far; Delia is 2-1-0 with a 2.00 goals-against-average and .930 save percentage, while Berrafato is 1-1-1 with a 3.11 GAA and .861 save percentage. 

Recapping Rio Grande Valley
The Wildcats come into this weekend riding high after a strong showing against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. Wichita Falls claimed four points last weekend, using a 3-2 win on Saturday and a 3-1 victory on Sunday to move into first place in the North American Hockey League’s South Division. The Wildcats currently sit one point ahead of the Topeka Roadrunners atop the standings. Jordan Jancze was the big star of the weekend, scoring three goals and tallying an assist in the two games to pace the ‘Cats attack. 

The Stars at Night are Big and Bright
Jordan Jancze has had little trouble adjusting to life deep in the heart of Texas. The first-year Wildcat posted three goals and an assist to help Wichita Falls claim four points against Rio Grande Valley last weekend, giving him a 4-2-6 line through six games played. Jancze was credited with the decisive tally in both contests against the Killer Bees, his first two game-winning goals of the campaign. For his efforts, the Woodbury, Minn.,-native was named the North American Hockey League’s Easton South Division Star of the Week for the week ending Sept. 29. He is the first Wichita Falls player to receive that honor this season. 

Ice Breakers
Jordan Jancze was not the only Wichita Falls player to have notable performances last weekend, as a pair of Wildcats notched the first points of their North American Hockey League careers. Defenseman Andrew Kerr had two assists in Saturday’s contest for his first points in Wichita Falls. The next day, forward Stan Sojka notched his first NAHL-point, as he picked up an assist on Max Reisinger’s third-period goal. Entering the weekend, eight of the Wildcats’ 11 new skaters had tallied at least one point.

10th Anniversary Celebrations
This Friday and Saturday, the Wildcats are celebrating their 10th anniversary with an action-packed weekend. On Friday, the first 250 fans in attendance will receive Wildcat rally towels, courtesy of Coca-Cola. On Saturday, Wichita Falls will host its 10th Anniversary Night, beginning with a “Show-and-Shine” classic car show from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. There will also be a pregame ceremony honoring past players, coaches and staff. Following the pregame festivities, the Wildcats complete their two-game series against Amarillo, and will unveil limited-edition jerseys designed to commemorate the organization’s tenth anniversary.

Big Hearts, Fast Starts
Wichita Falls is off to a solid start in its 10th anniversary season. The Wildcats posted a 4-0-1 record and compiled nine points through their first five contests of the 2013-14 campaign, tying the 2007-08 squad for the second-best start in team history. The only squads in franchise history to have a better mark through five games were the 2010-11 and 2005-06 teams, which both started a perfect 5-0-0. The 2007-08 team also boasts the best mark through the first 10 games of a season, as that group went 8-1-1 and earned 17 points to start the campaign.

Flying High
The Wildcats currently have four players on their roster who have committed to play college hockey at the United States Air Force Academy. Forwards Tyler Ledford, Ben Kucera and Will Vosejpka are slated to play for the Falcons starting next year, while defenseman Matt Koch is scheduled to begin his college career at Air Force beginning in 2015-16. Those four join Ryan Dau (2012-13), Aaron Quick (2008-10) and Kyle Delaurell (2007-09) as past-Wildcat players who have moved on to play for the Falcons.