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Wildcats Host Amarillo In Final Home Game of the Regular Season

(Photo: Troy Young)

GAME NOTES: 3/11 vs. Amarillo Bulls

TICKETS: All single-game tickets for Wednesday's game against the Amarillo Bulls are FREE, and can be acquired by visiting the Kay Yeager Coliseum Box Office. For group reservations of 15 people or more, fans should contact the Wildcats Hockey offices at (940) 716-5587.

– WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11: Fan Appreciation Night – all single-game tickets are available free of charge just by visiting the KYC Box Office. For group reservations, fans should call (940) 716-5587.

With a playoff spot locked up as the season enters the final weeks, the Wildcats are taking pre-orders on our 2015 Robertson Cup playoff t-shirt! Order your shirt by Wednesday, March 11 and you'll save $5 off the listed price! Shirts are available in all sizes from Youth Small to Adult 5X, and can be purchased in gray or red, as seen at the link above. Fans can pre-order shirts any of the following ways:
– Call Debi Fleetwood at (940) 733-0375,
– Fill out the form at the link above and bring it to Guest Services at the game against the Amarillo Bulls on Wednesday, 
– Fans may also visit Guest Services or the Roar Store at any point throughout the game Wednesday evening to receive a pre-order form for playoff shirts.

Pre-Order Price: $10
Regular Price: $15
(Add $2 for size 2X-5X)

Season tickets for the 2015-16 season are now on sale, allowing fans to guarantee their seats for every game of the new campaign. In addition to lowering prices on nearly all seats  in the Club (formerly, ‘Lower’) and Reserved (formerly, ‘Upper’) levels, the 2015-16 season will also see the Wildcats offer two new categories of seating. Fans may now get an “up-close-and-personal” look at the action on the ice with seats near the glass in the new “Premium” sections. Alternatively, fans who prefer watching the game from a higher vantage point may now reserve seats in the new, season-ticket only, “Roar Zone” located in Sec. 21. Season tickets can be reserved for as little as $75 per seat. However, fans who provide full payment for their season tickets by May 31 will receive additional savings of $21 per seat. Full pricing information can be found by visiting www.wfwildcatshockey.com, or by calling the Wildcats office at (940) 716-5587.

The Matchup
This Wednesday’s contest between the Wildcats and Bulls marks the 11th meeting of the season between these two teams, and also stands as the final regular-season contest between the two sides at the Kay Yeager Coliseum. The ‘Cats picked up a weekend split on the road when these two squads last squared off on Feb. 20 and 21, bouncing back from a 7-3 loss in game one with a 5-3 win the next night as the two sides continued their season-long trend of high-scoring affairs. The two sides have combined for 8.40 goals-per-game on average in head-to-head competition entering Wednesday’s game, with Wichita Falls accounting for 5.20 of that total. Sixteen different skaters have found the net against Amarillo for the red-and-black this season, but none have produced more points than Nick Farmer, who has 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 10 games. Kevin Charyszyn (six goals, six assists) and Erich Jaeger (four goals, seven assists) have also turned in strong performances against the Bulls, while Austin Shaw and David Zevnik both have four wins against Amarillo. Wichita Falls is 16-26-1 all-time against the Bulls, and is 8-12-1 at the KYC dating back to 2010, but the ‘Cats have fared better against their North Texas-based rivals this season, posting an unblemished 5-0-0 mark against Amarillo at the KYC and an 8-2-0 record against the Bulls overall.

Bulls Bulletin
Amarillo enters this midweek contest riding high after a four-point weekend against the Topeka RoadRunners this past Friday and Saturday. The Bulls sit in seventh place with a record of 22-26-4 and 48 points, and are outside of the South Division playoff picture as it currently stands, however a three-game winning streak has seen them climb back into the postseason mix. Amarillo trails both Wenatchee and Rio Grande Valley by five points in the battle for the division’s final two playoff spots, although the Bulls have played one fewer game than both the Wild and Killer Bees. Cody Gylling (25-18-43) leads Amarillo in both goals and points despite missing part of February due to suspension, but much of the Bulls’ recent surge can be attributed to the strong play of forwards Charlie Combs and Will Harrison. Combs has recorded 14 points (eight goals, six assists) over his last 10 games, and currently ranks third on the team with 32 points on 19 goals and 13 assists in 49 games played; Harrison enters play on Friday with 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in his last 10 outings, and boats a 17-24-41 line in 41 games played. Amarillo continues to utilize a tandem between the pipes, however Anton Martinsson has seen the majority of time of late. The first-year netminder has been the goaltender of record in each of the Bulls’ three wins this month, and enters Wednesday with a 14-11-1 mark, 3.18 goals against average and .908 save percentage. The other half of the Amarillo tandem, Jacob Weatherly, is 8-14-3 in 28 games played, with a 3.76 GAA and .890 save percentage.

Cruising Into Corpus Christi
Following their midweek battle with the Bulls, the Wildcats will open on a season-ending eight-game road trip with two contests in Corpus Christi against the IceRays on Friday and Saturday. Wichita Falls is 4-2-0 against Corpus Christi this season, and posted a split in its only previous trip to the Coastal Bend in October. The IceRays brushed past the ‘Cats on night one with a 7-4 win on Oct. 30, 2014 in what was their first head-to-head meeting of the season, before the red-and-black responded with a 3-1 triumph the next night. Dating back to 2010, the Wildcats are 28-12-4 against the IceRays, and are 11-7-4 all-time at the AmericanBank Center in Corpus Christi. 

Painting the Playoff Picture
After a wild weekend around the division last week, the race for the South Division title has been blown wide-open. Four-point weekends for the Wildcats and Lone Star Brahmas combined with the Topeka RoadRunners only claiming one of four available points against the Amarillo Bulls has led to a new leader atop the division standings. The Brahmas currently sit in first with a one-point advantage over the ‘Runners, while the Wildcats are just three points out of first place with two games in hand on both Lone Star and Topeka. Whoever claims the South Division title will likely have to do so on the road, as all three teams battling for the top spot finish the season with road-heavy slates. The Brahmas and RoadRunners both conclude their respective campaigns with five of their last seven away from home, with the ‘Cats playing eight of their final nine contests on the road. Of the three teams still in contention, Topeka arguably has the easiest remaining schedule; only three of the ‘Runners remaining tilts are against opponents who are currently over .500, while Wichita Falls and Lone Star both have seven games remaining against teams with a .500 record or better.

Details Confirmed for Completion of Suspended Game
The Wichita Falls Wildcats and Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, along with the North American Hockey League, recently confirmed details for the completion of the game between the Wildcats and Killer Bees from Dec. 13 that was suspended due to unplayable ice conditions with the Wildcats leading 3-0 and 6:04 remaining in the second period. The two teams will resume the game at 6:30 p.m. on March 19 from the point when play was suspended, and will play the contest to its completion as normal. To accommodate the completion of the suspended contest, puck drop for the game originally scheduled for March 19 will now take place at 7:45 p.m., rather than 7:30 p.m. as originally scheduled. 

First to Fifty
When Colin Staub found the back of the net in the third period of the Wildcats’ 3-1 win over Wenatchee on March 6, it marked his 50th point of the season. The Colorado Springs, Colo.-native is the first Wichita Falls skater to reach the half-century mark in points since 2010-11, when Dakota Klecha (28 goals, 22 assists) and Ryan Frost (14 goals, 36 assists) both finished the campaign with 50 points. A number of other Wildcats are within reach of the 50-point plateau as well, with Austin Beaulieu (21-27-48), Nick Farmer (20-26-46) and Matt Koch (6-39-45) closing in on that benchmark as well. Should all three of those reach 50 points on the season, it would equal a franchise mark for most skaters with 50 or more points in a season, set in 2004-05 (Kevin Huck, Chad Costello, Kyle Kraemer, Brent Sarcone) and 2007-08 (Adam Cardwell, Luke Salazar, Grant Everett, Skylur Jameson). 

Alumni Alert
Playoff season is underway throughout the collegiate ranks, and multiple Wildcats alumni currently plying their trade in the Atlantic Hockey Association enjoyed strong starts to their postseason runs last weekend.

The United States Air Force Academy hosted American International College in a first-round playoff match-up and swept the Yellow Jackets by scores of 6-1 and 10-3. Tyler Ledford (2012-14) recorded five points on five assists over the two games, while Ben Kucera (2012-14) registered three points (one goal, two assists) and Will Vosejpka (2012-14) notched an assist in the sweep as well. The Falcons will square off against the RIT Tigers in an AHA quarterfinal matchup slated to begin on Friday, March 13.

Elsewhere in Atlantic Hockey, Brian Sheehan (2009-10) and the Sacred Heart Pioneers won their first postseason series since 2010 with a two-game sweep of the Army Black Knights. Sheehan, who is concluding his senior year at Sacred Heart, notched a goal in the Pioneers’ 5-2 win on Saturday to help them clinch the first-round matchup. Sacred Heart will travel to Canisius College for a quarterfinal matchup beginning Friday, March 13.

Several other Wildcats alumni will begin their postseason journeys this upcoming weekend across multiple conferences.

In the Western Collegiate Hockey Associations (WCHA), Kyle Bauman (2012-14) and the Bemidji State Beavers will host the Ferris State Bulldogs in a best-of-three playoff series, while Sami Salminen (2012-13) and the Northern Michigan Wildcats are due to travel to Bowling Green to take on the Falcons.

In the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, multiple former Wichita Falls skaters will take the ice to open the playoffs this weekend. Tucker Poolman (2011-12) and the University of North Dakota will host Colorado College in a best-of-three quarterfinal series beginning March 13, while Evan Cowley (2012-13) and Rudy Junda (2012-14) will begin their postseason run when the Denver Pioneers host the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs in a quarterfinal matchup.