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Veterans Push 'Cats Past Bulls

(Photo: Cody Wooten)

AMARILLO, Texas – Three points apiece from Nick Farmer and Matt Koch propelled the Wichita Falls Wildcats past the Amarillo Bulls, 7-4, at the Amarillo Civic Center on Friday night.

Farmer had two goals and an assist to run his point-streak to four games, while Koch posted a goal and two helpers in the win. Colin Staub also turned in a multi-point night with a goal and an assist, and Johnny Lazarus, Tommy Apap and Jake Townsend all found twine for Wichita Falls in the win.

Paul Soubry, Konstantin Chernyuk, Shane Kuzmeski and Austin Beaulieu each notched an assist in the victory as well, along with Austin Albrecht and Kevin Charyszyn. Austin Shaw made 33 saves on 35 shots in relief to earn his 13th win of the season.

The Bulls found the net first when Charlie Combs managed to stuff a loose puck past David Zevnik at 5:20 of the first, but Wichita Falls responded thanks to a power-play tally.

After a clean face-off win by Farmer, the puck worked back to Koch at the blue line. The second-year defenseman delayed briefly, before sending a laser off the back bar to make it 1-1 on his fourth goal of the campaign.

Amarillo regained the edge barely 45 seconds later though, as Will Harrison stepped onto a loose puck at the offensive blue line, skated on goal and faked a backhand effort, before beating Zevnik to make it 2-1 at 12:35 of the frame.

The ‘Cats turned the game around in the second period though, using four unanswered tallies to take a 5-2 lead into the second intermission.

First, Staub deflected Koch’s wrister from the blue line past Jacob Weatherly for his 11th goal of the season.

Just 37 seconds later, Wichita Falls took its first lead of the contest. Staub took a pass from Kuzmeski in the neutral zone, turned up ice and skated his way through traffic to the end line. From just below the goal line, Staub played a quick pass out in front for Lazarus crashing the crease, who roofed it to make it 3-2 on his fifth marker of the campaign.

Later in the frame, the red-and-black stretched their edge on another power play tally. Koch quarterbacked the play once more, feeding an inch-perfect pass to the backdoor for Farmer to deflect past Weatherly.

The ‘Cats would add a short-handed tally at the 13:42 mark. After a tenacious shorthanded forechecky by Beaulieu, the forward took possession and skated behind the net. His pass out in front found Apap unmarked, and Apap stuck it home on the backhand to make it 5-2 on his fifth tally of the season.

Wichita Falls then expanded its lead early in the third period when Townsend blasted one home from just inside the blue line to make it 6-2 on his third of the year.

Amarillo tried to launch a comeback shortly after, with Elijah Barriga and Trent Dillinger squeezing the puck past Shaw to make it 6-3 and 6-4, respectively, but Farmer would tack on an empty-netter inside the last 90 seconds to seal the 7-4 win for the ‘Cats.

The Wildcats are back in action when they return to the Kay Yaeger Coliseum to take on the Bulls on Saturday, Jan. 3, as they open an eight-game home-stand. Fans that cannot make it to the game can follow all the action on FASTHockey.com, or by tuning into an audio-only broadcast provided via YouTube.

Single-game tickets for the 2014-15 Wildcats season are on sale now at the Kay Yeager Coliseum box office. Stay updated on the latest team news and notes by connecting with the Wildcats on Facebook (WFWildcats), Twitter (@WFWildcats), Instagram (WFWildcats) and on YouTube (Wichita Falls Wildcats).

Scoring Summary

1st Period

Amarillo – Charlie Combs (Joey DiBenedetto, Brady Crabtree) 5:20

Wichita Falls – Matt Koch (power play) (Nick Farmer) 11:52
Amarillo – Will Harrison (Brady Crabtree) 12:35

2nd Period

Wichita Falls – Colin Staub (Matt Koch, Austin Albrecht) 4:49
Wichita Falls – Jonathan Lazarus (Colin Staub, Shane Kuzmeski) 5:26
Wichita Falls – Nick Farmer (power play) (Matt Koch) 10:23
Wichita Falls – Tommy Apap (shorthanded) (Austin Beaulieu) 13:42

3rd Period

Wichita Falls – Jake Townsend (Konstantin Chernyuk, Paul Soubry) 2:14
Amarillo – Elijah Barriga (power play) (Brady Crabtree, JJ Huerena) 6:15
Amarillo – Trent Dillinger (Charlie Combs) 13:20
Wichita Falls – Nick Farmer (empty net) (Kevin Charyszyn) 18:46