The Cats will be playing their first game in nearly two weeks as they take on the Amarillo Bulls at the Amarillo Civic Center for the first time of the season on Friday and Saturday night at 7:05 pm CT.
The Bulls have proven they are not the same team that won only 13 games last season. They have already nearly halved that total through 14 games and have not missed a beat despite losing their leading scorer Joey Molinaro and one of the league’s top goaltenders last year in Anton Martinsson.
With their two superstars gone, the Bulls have turned to the services of veteran forward George Mika, who centers Amarillo’s red-hot top line alongside Kosta Likourezos and Hayden Broomhead. A line-mate of Molinaro’s last season, Mika is presently tied for third among NAHL scoring with 17 points.
Wichita Falls has fared well in Amarillo in recent history, as they are currently on a five-game winning streak at the Bull Pen. The last time they played at the ACC was on January 16th, 2016 when they annihilated the Bulls by a final of 8-0 and sent Martinsson into an uncharacteristic rage, causing the Swedish goalie to be ejected from the game.
The 8-0 triumph tied for the second largest margin of victory in Wildcats history, matching a 9-1 decision in Amarillo the previous season. The only time the Cats have won by more than eight goals was on the last game of the 2004-2005 season, when Wichita Falls welcomed the Texarkana Bandits to a 9-0 stomping.
The Wildcats’ leading goal-scorer Ryan Burnett (7 G) will be unavailable for the Amarillo series, as he is suspended three games for spearing Shreveport defenseman Dominick Procopio on October 15th.
This road trip will go a long way in determining the Cats’ depth and their tenacity. How will they fare without Burnett, who nearly doubles anyone else on the team in goals this season? Who will step up to replace his presence and production? How will the team handle its first real road games of the campaign? Countless questions loom as the Cats seek to close out October on a high note before returning for a long stretch of home games in November.