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'Cats Comeback Bid Falls Short Against Amarillo

The Wichita Falls Wildcats (21-13-3) battled hard to overcome an early deficit against the Amarillo Bulls on Friday, twice coming within one goal, but the Wildcats could not complete the comeback bid, as the Bulls came away victorious, 4-3.
WICHITA FALLS, Texas – The Wichita Falls Wildcats (21-13-3) battled hard to overcome an early deficit against the Amarillo Bulls on Friday, twice coming within one goal, but the Wildcats could not complete the comeback bid, as the Bulls came away victorious, 4-3.

Josh Haverstrom had a goal and an assist, while Evan Okeley and Kyle Bauman each found the back of the net for the Wildcats. Will Vosejpka notched an assist on the night, giving him 50 career points for his career. David Zevnik stopped 27 saves in the losing effort.

Amarillo found the back of the net first, and did so twice in the span of 24 seconds on nearly identical plays. First, Mitchell McPherson buried a centering feed from the slot to make it 1-0. Moments later, Cody Gylling duplicated the feat, beating Zevnik from just above the hash-marks to double the Bulls’ advantage.

The Wildcats responded late in the first period to cut the deficit in half. With Gylling in the box for elbowing, Wichita Falls went to work on the power play. Vosejpka grabbed a loose puck and rifled a pass through the crease for Haverstorm, who waited for Paul Berrafato to make his move, before lifting a shot into the top corner to make it 2-1 with his ninth tally of the season.

The second period played out almost identically to the first, with a pair of early Amarillo goals in quick succession establishing the Bulls’ advantage. Brendan McGuire made it 3-1 at the 2:25 mark of the period, as he finished off an odd-man rush, before Mike Davis made it 4-1 at the 4:03 mark of the frame.

Wichita Falls again responded on the power play, this time cashing in on a five-on-three man advantage. Matt Koch slithered a shot through traffic that Berrafato saved but could not cover. Haverstrom pounced on the loose disc and centered for Bauman, who smashed it home for his 12th strike of the season to make it 4-2 at the 10:59 mark of the middle stanza.

Amarillo opened the final frame controlling play at even-strength, but the Wildcats managed to wrest the momentum from the Bulls thanks to Okeley’s second goal of the campaign. The Carmel, Ind.-native controlled a loose puck at the offensive blue line and skated wide to open a shooting lane. Then, from just inside the blue line, Okeley sent a wicked wrist shot into the top corner to pull Wichita Falls within one at 13:09 of the third.

The Wildcats poured on the pressure in the final seven minutes as they hunted for an equalizer. Haverstrom and Bauman each had a great chance to level the affair, but neither could find the target with their efforts, as Wichita Falls stumbled to its third-straight defeat.

These two teams will complete the weekend series on Saturday on Jersey Off Our Back Night to benefit Children’s Miracle Network and United Regional Health Care System. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., with a live jersey auction taking place immediately following the conclusion of the contest. Fans that cannot make the game can follow all the action on FASTHockey.com, or by tuning in to an audio-only broadcast available on UStream.com.

Scoring Summary

1st Period

Amarillo - Mitchell McPherson (Ryan Stevens) 4:22
Amarillo - Cody Gylling (Brendan McGuire) 4:46
Wichita Falls - Josh Haverstrom (power play) (Will Vosejpka) 18:52

2nd Period

Amarillo - Brendan McGuire (Cody Gylling, Mike Davis) 2:25
Amarillo - Mike Davis (Brady Ferguson) 4:03
Wichita Falls - Kyle Bauman (power play) (Josh Haverstrom, Matt Koch) 10:59

3rd Period

Wichita Falls - Evan Okeley (unassisted) 13:09
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