MISSOULA - Casey Dennis and Gary Astalos led a three-goal flurry in the third period for Missoula as the Maulers topped the Billings Bulls 5-2 in NorPac Hockey League action Thursday.
The Bulls, leading 2-1 on successive second-period goals by Zack Haight and Steven Shaffroth, surrendered the lead in a span of 41 seconds midway through the final frame after Dennis and Astalos scored back-to-back goals. Dennis tallied again just over a minute later and Astalos added a buzzer-beating empty-netter to finish up a four-goal period for the Maulers.
The Bulls dropped to 14-23 on the season and are 10 points out of the fourth and final playoff spot behind Missoula with 10 games to play. The Bulls and Maulers will play again tonight at the Glacier Ice Rink. Game time is 7:30 p.m.