AMARILLO, TX – Third place is the new first…
The North American Hockey League’s South Division has been crowded near the top of the table in the first two months of the season. As the month of November faces off, last week’s two third place teams have found a home at the top of the division.
The Amarillo Bulls moved into a share of first place in the South (along with Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees), blanking the Topeka RoadRunners 2-0. Paul Berafato stopped all 36 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season. For the first time since coming to the Texas Panhandle four years ago, the Topeka RoadRunners didn’t score a goal in two games at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center.
Tyler Gernhofer and Cody Gylling scored for Amarillo in the second period to delight the home town crowd. The Bulls will head out on a two-week road trip due to the World Ranch Rodeo with stops in North Richland Hills (Lone Star Brahmas), Corpus Christi and Hidalgo, TX (Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees).
“Once again our two best players this weekend were our goaltenders Paul Berrafato tonight and Collin Delia on Friday,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams. “It’s a great feet for our club to get back-to-back shutouts at home and outscore your opponent 6-0. We were also able to kill off seven power plays and I was very proud of our guys.”
The game started with a good fight between Mike Davis of the Bulls and Tyler Poulsen of the RoadRunners. Davis got the better of his opponent that got the fans energized early.
It continued to be a bit rough and tumble between the two teams. There were a total of six power plays with three going to each team. Both goaltenders Paul Berrafato and PJ Bridges were kept busy making some early saves. The Topeka RoadRunners outshot the Amarillo Bulls 15-12.
It was a good start to the second period for the Amarillo Bulls as they punctuated it with a pair of goals. Tyler Gernhofer notched his 12th of the year when he wired a shot inside the cross bar to give the Bulls a 1-0 lead.
Four minutes later the line of Kyle Gattelaro, Mike Davis and Cody Gylling got rolling of a media time out and a face-off. The trio created havoc inside Bulls’ territory, and Gylling stayed with a play in front to backhand a shot past the goaltender to make it 2-0. Davis and Gattelaro earned assists on the play. The Bulls dominated the period outshooting Topeka 14-6.
The third period was a strong one for goaltender Berrafato who made some big stops, including a diving one to keep the score sheet clean. At the other end, the Bulls tried to give themselves a bit more breathing room by scoring another goal, but were unsuccessful including on a couple of power play attempts.
“Over the weekend we probably played two pretty good periods of hockey out of six,” said Williams. “With the four, I wasn’t sure if we capitalized and played our best, but we found a way to win two games.”
Williams said now the weekend was a good start to a big road trip starting on Tuesday.
“We have to re-focus quickly and have less than 72 hours before we play a very good Lone Star Brahmas team coached by a good friend of mine Dan Wildfong,” he added. “They are going to come out hard down, but we have to stick to playing Bulls hockey down there and in the next few games.”
The Amarillo Bulls were outshot by Topeka 14-7 in the third and 36-33 overall. There were 11 total power plays (Amarillo 0 for 4, Topeka 0 for 7) with neither team scoring.
The two week road trip for the Amarillo Bulls faces off on Tuesday night with their first game ever against the expansion Lone Star Brahmas. The face-off in North Richland Hills at NYTEX Center is set for 7:30 pm. Fans can tune into the game live on CBS Sports Radio 1440, www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV courtesy of Fast Hockey beginning with the Wayland Baptist University Warm Up Show at at 7:15 pm.
Hockey returns to the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center on Friday, Nov. 22 and Saturday, Nov. 23 when the Amarillo Bulls host the new Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees at 7 pm. Friday is Military Appreciation Night, while Saturday fans can help support the Food Bank. Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets including United Supermarkets. For further information on Group Rates or Corporate Marketing Partnerships, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.