AMARILLO, TX –The Amarillo Bulls had been looking for one of those breakout nights for the past few games, and it finally happened on Saturday night.
Three goals in the first 16 minutes of the game powered the Amarillo Bulls to an 8-1 romp over the Corpus Christi IceRays at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. It was the Bulls sixth win of the season against Corpus Christi, and the second time that the Bulls netted more than six goals in one game in the series.
The Bulls victory coupled by the Bismarck Bobcats loss to Aberdeen extended Amarillo’s lead to three points for first place in the North American Hockey League’s overall standings with just four games remaining. The IceRays fell into a tie for the fourth and final playoff spot with the Odessa Jackalopes following the loss. Odessa rallied to beat Wichita Falls.
In the game the Bulls were able to score a power play goal that snapped a four game scoreless drought. Two shorthanded goals were also netted by Amarillo including one when they were down two men.
“I thought from the drop of the puck that we came out hard,” said Bulls Coach Dennis Williams. “We had a lot of guys working and that was the main thing. We put a lot of pucks on goal and the guys went to the net to score their goals like TJ (Sarcona), Clint (Carlisle) and Mike (Davis). There were so many tonight. It was a great team effort.”
The Amarillo Bulls raced out to a 2-0 advantage before the game was three minutes old. Michael Erickson tallied on the powerplay at 2:08 on a great set up from Brooks Behling. Clint Carlisle added to the lead eight second later when he converted a gaff by goaltender Anthony Stolarz in front of the net. John Gustafsson gave the Bulls a 3-0 advantage late in the period when he fired a screen shot past Stolarz at the 16:31 mark. The IceRays got one of those goals back on just their fifth shot of the period. The Bulls outshot Corpus Christi 21-5.
In the second period the Bulls continued to dominate and got two more goals. Clint Carlisle notched his second on a terrific individual effort at the 6:22 mark. Matt Johnson and Omar Mullan picked up assists on the play. TJ Sarcona made it 5-1 on another terrific rush up the ice at 16:25. The Bulls outshot the IceRays 26-5 in the middle stanza.
Karl Beckman started the Bulls scoring in the third period on a breakaway, shorthanded when the team was down two men. Joe Kozlak added an assist on the marker. Amarillo was not done yet as Mike Davis tipped home a shot from Omar Mullan, and then TJ Sarcona rounded out the scoring with another shorthanded goal from Davis.
Amarillo outshot the IceRays 58-22. Gregg Gruehl earned the win in goal and played well. Anthony Stolarz started for Corpus Christi but was pulled after two periods in favor of Matt Laprade.
On Sunday fans will be able to see the Bulls players in a more relaxed atmosphere in a Super Skills Competition at 2 pm. The events include fastest skater, hardest shot, puck control relay to just name a few. Admission is free.
Hockey is back at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center next weekend as the Bulls will play their final two regular season home games. On Friday, Mar. 23, the Bulls entertain the New Mexico Mustangs at 7 pm. On the following night, Saturday, Mar. 24, the Bulls will host the surging Odessa Jackalopes in another potential playoff preview. Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Suite 101 in the Amarillo Building, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets. For further information on Group Rates, or Playoff Packages, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.