FRISCO, TX – Third time is the charm…
That’s the case for the Amarillo Bulls as they will play for their first Robertson Cup North American Hockey League National Championship tomorrow (Monday) night at 7:30 pm at Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco, TX.
Despite getting blanked 7-0 by the Wenatchee Wild in their final round-robin game on Sunday afternoon, the Bulls qualified for their first National Final. It will be the first time that an Amarillo hockey team professional or junior gets to play for a championship in 38 years. The last time was the 1975-76 Amarillo Wranglers that captured the South West Hockey League Championship.
The Bulls and the Wenatchee Wild will go head-to-head on Monday night but this time the prize is the oldest trophy in USA Hockey, the Chuck Robertson Cup awarded to the North American Hockey League Championship.
The Bulls entered the final day of round-robin with a 2-0 mark, while the Wenatchee Wild had a 1-1 record. A Bulls victory secured the National Final appearance out-right, and the loss moved Wenatchee to the final as the No. 1 seed based on a better Goals For-Goals-Against Ratio among the three teams that are tied (Amarillo, Wenatchee and the Bismarck Bobcats. The Bulls get the nod because head-to-head and of that 2-1 overtime win over Bismarck on Saturday night.
“Obviously it wasn’t the outcome we wanted but we have worked all year to have this opportunity to play for a National Championship,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams. “We are in there against a very good team, a well coached team that came out determined. We have to do a little soul searching here tonight, but you get sixty minutes to get crowned a National Champion.
“For our guys who have been here for three years, I don’t want to put any stress on them, but go out there and have fun with it. To play in the last game of your season for a title says a lot about our team. Our opponent is very good and very strong and we have to get back to playing Bulls hockey.”
The Wenatchee Wild came out of the gates hard against the Bulls and pressured them right from the opening puck drop. The Bulls surrendered three goals in the first five minutes and then another six minutes later and fell behind 4-0 after the first period. Paul Berrafato started in goal for the Bulls but was replaced after the third goal by Collin Delia who made some nice saves in the last 10 minutes of the stanza. Wenatchee outshot Amarillo 12-7.
The second period didn’t go much better as the puck wasn’t bouncing the Bulls way. The Wild scored two more goals to increase their advantage to 6-0. Wenatchee again outshot Amarillo, 9-5.
The third period got chippy between the two teams and the Wild rounded out the scoring with one final goal.
The Amarillo Bulls were outshot by the Wenatchee Wild 28-18 including 7-6 in the third period. There were 14 total power plays with the Bulls going 0 for 5 and the Wild was 2 for 9 plus a shorthanded goal.
Fans won’t want to miss the Robertson Cup final between Amarillo and Wenatchee. Prelude A Championship begins coverage on CBS Sports Radio 1440 and www.amarillobulls.com at a special start time of 7 pm. Denis J. Puska brings you the exciting action at 7:30 pm. The game is also available on PPV courtesy of Fast Hockey. There will be a watch party at Seven Grill and Bar located on Soncy Road In Amarillo where you can watch the game with other Bulls fans.