(Photo: Cody Wooten)
The Wildcats and Bulls meet for the second tilt of 12 scheduled for the 2014-15 campaign this Friday, with Friday’s contest marking the first of three in a five-day span between the two teams. The Wildcats claimed the first meeting of the season in emphatic fashion, roaring to a 9-1 win over the Bulls in Amarillo on Oct. 10. Nick Farmer leads all active Wildcats in scoring against Amarillo, with eight points (four goals, four assists) in 17 games head-to-head meetings. The Wildcats are 10-24-1 against the Bulls dating back to 2010.
Amarillo enters this weekend’s action sitting in sixth place in the South Division with 12 points and a record of 5-8-2 after the Bulls were battered by the Roadrunners their last time out. Amarillo got off to a strong start this past weekend, scoring the first two goals of Friday night’s tilt, but Topeka rattled off 12 unanswered goals over the next two nights to take maximum points on the weekend. The Bull’s defense has played a large part in their slow start to the season; after allowing 13 goals over the last two contests, Amarillo is now averaging 4.20 goals against per game, the second-worst mark in the league. On the offensive end, defenseman Ruslan Rahkmatov leads the Bulls in points (1-10-11), while forwards Cody Gylling (6-3-9) and Brady Crabtree (6-0-0) are tied for the team-lead in goals. Jacob Weatherly has seen the majority of time in net, posting a 2-4-2 record, 4.34 goals-against average and a .871 save percentage in 10 games played.
Peek the Streakers
After last Friday’s 3-1 win over Corpus Christi, four Wildcats are currently in the midst of career-best point-streaks. Veteran defenseman Matt Koch enters this weekend on a five-game point streak, tied for the longest of his career; Koch has compiled a 0-6-6 line in that span, including assists in both games against the IceRays last weekend. First-year forward Kevin Charyszyn is also on a career-high five-game point-streak, with five goals and two assists to his credit in that time. Fellow newcomer Cam Knight goal against the IceRays on Friday pushed his current point-streak to four games (2-4-6 in that time). Evan Okeley is also on a career-high four-game point-streak (2-6-8), and is averaging two points per game during that span.
Fear the Final Frame
The Wildcats’ strong start to the season has been helped greatly by strong showings in the third period. Wichita Falls has scored 24 of its 56 goals (42.9%) in the final frame, nearly double the amount of goals against in the third. The ‘Cats have scored in the third period of every contest but two this season, and have registered multiple tallies in the third on seven occasions. Last season, the red-and-black were outscored 55-46 in the third period of play.
The Ford House Military Appreciation Night returns on Saturday, November 8 when the Wildcats host the Amarillo Bulls. The ‘Cats will wear special-edition, military-themed jerseys on Nov. 7, 8 and 11, with a jersey raffle to follow the game on Nov. 8. Any person with valid military identification, including active and retired personnel and family members, will receive free admission to Saturday’s contest. All uniformed personnel in attendance Nov. 8 will receive five (5) complimentary raffle tickets to enter the jersey raffle. Additionally, the Wildcats will offer $5 admission to anyone with valid military ID on Tuesday, Nov. 11.
November will also see the Wildcats partner with the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank to collect non-perishable food for area families in need as part of the Hockey Heals Hunger campaign. Fans that support Hockey Heals Hunger by donating three non-perishable food items will be entered into a raffle to win Wildcats prizes, including a signed jersey, game tickets and more. The Hockey Heals Hunger campaign will culminate in Hockey Heals Hunger Night on Friday, Nov. 21. On that night, any fan that brings five non-perishable food items for donation will receive free admission to that evening’s game against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees.