TOPEKA, KS – 2-0…
That was not only the deficit facing the Amarillo Bulls in the series, but the score early in the second period of game three on Thursday night at Kansas Expo Center Landon Arena. The Amarillo Bulls stared that deficit right in the face and snarled right back. Three consecutive goals, including one by Tyler Gernhofer 6:10 into overtime lifted the Bulls to a come from behind 3-2 victory over the arch rival Topeka RoadRunners.
That was the first victory by the Bulls over Topeka since late November of the regular season. It also forced a fourth game in the Best-Of-Five Series tomorrow (Friday) night at 7:15 pm. If a fifth game of the series is needed, it would be back in Amarillo on Monday night at 7 pm.
Kyle Gattelaro carved the RoadRunners lead in half with a goal midway through the second period and then Ben Jentsch netted the equalizer with 5:05 remaining in regulation time. Gernhofer fired a screen shot in overtime from the blueline to complete the comeback. Goaltender Collin Delia stopped 33 of 35 shots he faced to notch the win in goal.
The third game started out with good offensive push by both teams. The RoadRunners jumped out to a 1-0 lead when they converted a rebound in front of the net. The Bulls were not without their chances and the best one was for Eric Purcell as his shot was turned away by goaltender PJ Bridges. There were three total power plays with neither team being able to score. Amarillo outshot Topeka 10-9 in the first period.
Topeka extended their lead to 2-0 with a goal 94 seconds into the second period on a one timer from the top of the face-off circle. The Bulls worked hard and gave themselves a chance when Kyle Gattelaro raced over the blue line and backhanded a shot past PJ Bridges just before the midway mark of the period. Carter Penzien and Brendan Vetter picked up assists on the play. Eric Purcell had another terrific opportunity later in the stanza but he was stopped by the glove of Bridges. The Bulls penalty killing was solid in the middle stanza killing off two Topeka opportunities including one near the end of the period. Each team had 12 shots on goal.
The Bulls dominated the third period and threw everything they had at goaltender PJ Bridges. One goal was called back because it was believed the referee had blown his whistle. The visitors continued to work hard and were rewarded for their hard work as Tyler Gernhofer and Roman Ammirato kept the puck in deep. Defenseman Ben Jentsch’s one timer from the point found the back of the net to tie the game with 5:05 remaining in regulation time.
The overtime period featured furious action at both ends of the rink. Topeka’s best chance in front of the net was turned aside by Collin Delia. The Bulls worked the puck up the ice and it appeared that Tyler Gernhofer’s shot had gone up on the mesh and the play was to be blown dead. The officials lost sight of the puck and allowed the play to continue behind the net. The Bulls kept the play in at the blue line and Tyler Gernhofer’s hard shot went through a screen and into the net for the victory.
The Topeka RoadRunners outshot the Amarillo Bulls 35-32 including 13-11 over the final 26 minutes.
There were seven total powerplays between the two teams with neither being able to score.
The fourth game of the South Division Final between the Amarillo Bulls and the Topeka RoadRunner is set for tomorrow (Friday) night at 7:15 pm. Fans can tune into the action 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 6:55 pm. Denis J. Puska has the hard-hitting action to follow.
Don’t forget the Amarillo Bulls have 5th anniversary Season Tickets on sale with fans being able to take avantage of some great prices before the November 26th deadline expires. Fans can save over $100 over walk-up prices if they bought the same ticket on game day. The Bulls are offering a unique draw called the 30 Days Of Hockey where if fans purchase or renew Season Tickets they will be entered into a draw to win great prizes. For further information on Season Tickets or the 30 Days Of Hockey, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.