SUNDOGS’ FOUR-GAME WIN STREAK SNAPPED IN 5-4 LOSS
AMARILLO, Texas – Winners of four straight coming into the contest, the Arizona Sundogs dropped their first game to open the second half of the season Friday night, falling 5-4 to the Amarillo Gorillas at the Amarillo Civic Center.
The loss was Arizona’s league-leading 12th one-goal loss of the season.
The Sundogs jumped out to an early 1-0 lead Friday night on Kyle Hood’s ninth of the year 9:27 into the contest but Amarillo responded with a pair of goals in the second half of the opening frame to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
Exiting the penalty box, Hood poked the puck off the stick of an Amarillo player at his own blue line and skated in 1-on-0, beating Gorillas netminder Mike Brown with a wrist shot low stick side.
Pinching from his position at the blue line, Chris Bartolone nearly made it 2-0 for Arizona with 5:50 to play in the opening frame, one-timing a Torren Delforte centering feed off the near post.
Skating the other direction, Amarillo evened the score at one on the same shift 1:10 later.
Stationed at the far post, Stuart MacRae trickled a Jake Morissette pass from below the end line through the legs of Kyle McNulty at the period’s 15:20 mark.
Erik Felde converted on his club’s third power-play chance of the period for a 2-1 lead, sending a slap shot from just inside the zone past a screened McNulty with 2:19 to play in the frame.
Prior to Felde’s late power-play marker, the Sundogs hadn’t trailed an opponent in 238:47.
The Sundogs stepped up pressure in the middle frame, outshooting the Gorillas, 13-7, and pulled even on a Konrad Reeder penalty shot with 6.6 seconds remaining in the period as the as the fourth-year pro was dragged to the ice while cutting to the net on a late break.
Putting on the breaks below the circles and forcing Brown low, Reeder lifted a forehand effort over the committed goaltender for his 15th of the year and team-leading fourth goal against Amarillo.
Chris Cloud and Kim Karsberg dropped the gloves at the 20-minute mark, trading punches at center ice after the period’s final buzzer.
Rob Lehtinen reclaimed a one-goal lead for Arizona 3:20 into the third period, connecting on a rebound chance for his second of the season seconds after a Sundogs’ power play came to an end.
Marc Belanger, in his first game with Arizona since being acquired in a trade with the Wichita Thunder, assisted on the play along with Hood, his second point of the contest.
Amarillo tied the game at three at 6:45 as Morissette made good on a Sundogs’ turnover behind McNulty, wrapping the puck around the cage.
With his club on a two-man advantage midway through the period, Felde notched his second go-ahead goal of the night to put the Gorillas back on top, 4-3, blasting a shot from the top of the far circle past McNulty with 9:39 to play.
Less than three minutes later, Morissette stretched the Gorillas’ lead to two with his second goal and fourth point of the night from Anthony Battaglia.
Arizona cut Amarillo’s lead back to one with 30.9 seconds remaining in regulation on CHL All-Star Jon Landry’s eighth goal and 30th point of the year but the Sundogs failed to force overtime with an extra attacker on the ice and McNulty on the bench.
Hood was credited his third point and second assist of the contest on the late tally.
The Sundogs were held without a goal on five man-advantage chances while the Gorillas converted twice on six power-play tries. Shots were nearly even with Arizona holding a slight advantage, 34-32.