CORPUS CHRISTI (CC IceRays) - Rudy Sulmonte and Mike Economos each tallied a goal but it wasn't enough as the Amarillo Bulls picked up a 4-2 victory in front of 4,871 fans inside the American Bank Center on Saturday night.
The Bulls got on the board early into the game off a clean face-off win by Matt Sieckhaus. The puck went right onto the stick of Tyler Gernhofer who first a wrist shot over the left shoulder of Hayden Stewart just 3:43 into the game for a 1-0 Amarillo lead.
The NAHL leading Bulls took a 2-0 advantage at 12:30 of the first period off of a big scramble in front of the net. The original shot was denied by Stewart but the rebound went right to Hampus Gustafsson who beat the diving Stewart for a 2-0 lead assisted by Dan McNamara and Ryan Cole.
Another scrum formed in front of goaltender Hayden Stewart and Carter Penzien back-handed the puck through traffic and found a way to the back of the net for his 9th of the year for a 3-0 lead at 3:23 of the middle period with assists to Hampus Gustafsson and Dan McNamara.
Corpus Christi responded with a power-play goal to pull within two goals. Brandon Smith hit Rudy Sulmonte with a back-door feed deflecting the puck by Paul Berrafato at 12:28 with the other assist going to Wayland Williams. The goal was Sulmonte's team leading 23rd of the year and Corpus Christi trailed 3-1.
In the third period the Bulls pulled out to a 4-1 lead with 1:48 left in the game as the puck bounced through a screen right to Clint Carlisle who tapped in an easy 14th goal of the year assisted by Omar Mullan and Mike Davis.
Mike Economos scored his 13th of the season just 19 seconds later as he wired a shot over the shoulder of Paul Berrafato assisted by Ryan Chiasson to split the lead in half however Amarillo hung on for the 4-2 win.
Hayden Stewart denied 35 of 39 shots in the loss.
The IceRays are home tomorrow afternoon against the Amarillo Bulls to finish out the series. Puck drops at 3:05PM, coverage begins at 2:50PM with the IceRays Pregame Show on sportsjuice.com, ustream.com, the TuneIn Radio APP, and fasthockey.com.
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