Preview: Brahmas vs. Bulls

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX — The Brahmas will face off against the Bulls in this season’s third installment of the Battle of the Cattle.

Thus far, the two teams have split the season series down the middle, with the Brahmas and Bulls each winning two games. All four of those games have been played at Amarillo Civic Center, but the series shifts to North Richland Hills this weekend.

The Brahmas, who started the season with twelve games away from the NYTEX Sports Centre, have been terrific on home ice. With a perfect 4-0-0 record in Brahmaland, the team will be looking to take advantage of a significant stretch of home games through the holidays.

The Brahmas are home for five of the next six weeks, so this is an ideal time to build some momentum going into the second half of the season.

The Bulls, meanwhile, have played most of their games at home in the first quarter of the season. They currently sit third in the NAHL South, behind the Shreveport Mudbugs and the Brahmas. It’s worth noting that Amarillo does have at least one game in hand on all of the other teams in the South Division.

After a 2-1 defeat last Friday, the Bulls will be looking to come back strong against the Brahmas.

With the return of Head Coach Rocky Russo, who spent the last few weeks with his family after his father passed away, the Bulls bench should have an extra jump in their step.

Forward Jon Russell, who has four goals in four games against Lone Star, will be a player to keep an eye on — particularly on the power play. While Amarillo’s overall power play numbers are right in the middle of the pack, they do boast two of the best power play performers in the league. Russell leads the NAHL in power play goals with seven. And as a general rule, the puck goes through defenseman Brendan Michaelian more often than not when the Bulls convert — he has assisted on a whopping ten out of 14 total power play goals.

The Brahmas’ penalty kill should be up to the challenge, though. They rank second in the league with an 89% success rate, which is about par for the course for the team. The Brahmas are always exceptionally good defensively, and that’s continued this season. They rank second in goals against, thanks in part to the team defense and in part to the excellent goaltending duo of Mitchell Gibson and Harrison Feeney. Lone Star also ranks second in the league in shots against, allowing about 24 shots per game.

In terms of offense, Brahmas veteran Julian Biondo has been extremely effective. His energetic style of play has galvanized the team on more than one occasion, and it was his goal 26 seconds into the game last Friday that got the Brahmas off to a quick start. Biondo is playing at a point-per-game pace, so keep an eye out. Chances are you’ll be seeing his name on the scoresheet this weekend.

Forward Austin Bottrell has also been terrific. Bottrell missed a good chunk of the beginning of the season due to illness, but has been excellent since his return to the ice. He also scored last Friday against Amarillo and is a good bet to create some offense this weekend as well.

If you’re joining us this weekend in the Shoebox, make sure to take advantage of our $1 Hot Dog Night on Friday.  In addition, the Brahmas’ 2017 Military Appreciation jerseys will be debuting on Saturday night.

All month long, members of the military can use the promo code “AMERICAN” online to receive $5 tickets. The code is case sensitive, so make sure you capitalize the whole word to receive the discount!

Puck drop on both Friday and Saturday will be at 7:30 PM. If you’re unable to make it to the NYTEX Sports Centre, games will be streamed live on Hockey TV. Make sure to follow along by keeping an eye on our TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Snapchat accounts!