Groenestege, Blazers shut down Gorillas 5-1
Amarillo, TX 3/6/09 - Despite 32 shots on goal, the Amarillo Gorillas could only squeeze one puck behind Oklahoma City Blazers' netminder Doug Groenestege, as the hosts lost 5-1 Friday night at the Amarillo Civic Center.
The game turned in favor of Oklahoma City early on, as they tallied a goal just 51 seconds into the game. Jason Murfitt won an offensive zone faceoff back to Blazers' defenseman Tyler Fleck, who wristed the puck by a screened A.J. Bucchino to put the visitors on top 1-0 early. The Gorillas would battle back late in the period, as Stuart MacRae ripped a shot over the blocker of Groenestege to tie the game at one with 2:24 left in the first. The 1-1 tie would be short-lived, as D.J. Jelitto put the Blazers back on top-for good-with a rebound goal at the top of Bucchino's crease. Amarillo left the ice trailing 2-1 following twenty minutes of play.
Former Gorilla Bill Vandermeer would score the only goal of the second period for the Blazers, as he took a Chad Hinz feed and slid a wrist shot through Bucchino's five-hole to push the Blazers up 3-1. Bucchino was pulled after the goal for Mike Gorman, with Gorman stopping six consecutive Oklahoma City shots to conclude the period. Groenestege, meanwhile, stopped 11 Gorillas shots at the opposite end to hold Amarillo scoreless in the middle frame.
Oklahoma City played a defensively oriented third period, standing up Amarillo at the Gorillas' attacking blueline throughout most of the final stages. With under four minutes remaining in the game, Eric Przepiorka scored his first as a Blazer in 2008-09 and Chad Hinz added an empty net goal to extend the spread. Groenestege would end up stopping his final 23 shots faced, en route to preserving the 5-1 victory.
Bucchino (5-14-2) absorbed the loss in net for Amarillo (16-37-7), who fell to just 1-6-0 against the CHL's Northeast Division on the season. The Gorillas will be back in action Saturday night, battling the Rocky Mountain Rage at the Amarillo Civic Center. Opening faceoff for the game is scheduled for 7:05 PM, with active and retired military members (as well as government employees) receiving discounted $7 tickets with I.D. Call (806) 242-PUCK (7825) for tickets or more details.
The AMARILLO GORILLAS are celebrating their seventh season in "The Jungle" by offering special ticket prices to groups and parties! Call the Gorillas ticketing office at (806) 242-PUCK (7825) for more information, or drop by the Gorillas' new office at 901 S. Buchanan in downtown Amarillo.
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