TOPEKA, KS – The Amarillo Bulls fired 36 shots on goal on Friday night at Kansas Expo Center Landon Arena. However, it was the Topeka goaltender Juha Niku that stole the show stopping them all, blanking the Bulls 5-0.
The difference in the game besides the goaltending was the second period as the RoadRunners scored three times to break open a close 2-0 game. Forwards Tyler Gernhofer and Coale Norris led the Bulls with a combined 13 shots. Anton Martinsson began the game in goal and was replaced after the fourth goal by Brian Baker.
The Bulls were missing two of their regulars due to NAHL Suspensions as Joey Molinaro and Nick Santoro were both out of the line-up but will be back on Saturday night.
The Bulls came out strong in the opening period and had the RoadRunners penned in the early moments. George Mika and Coale Norris each had terrific chances that were denied by Juha Niku. The RoadRunners settled down and grabbed the first goal on a shot that beat Anton Martinsson stick side. Defenseman Jake Houston nearly tied the game when he tried to convert a 3-on-2 break up the ice for the Bulls. Topeka added to its lead in the final minute by following up a shot off the post and putting it into the net.
Topeka outshot Amarillo 15-13 in the first period of play. The Bulls penalty killing was solid preventing Topeka from scoring on a five on three.
The first seven minutes of the second period saw the Bulls in retreat mode as the RoadRunners came out firing and pushed the Bulls, scoring two goals four minutes apart that broke open a close game. The second goal chased goaltender Anton Martinsson in favor of Brian Baker. who surrendered Topeka’s fifth goal of the game and third in the period just past the midway mark. The RoadRunners outshot the Bulls 15-7.
The third period featured a parade to the penalty box by both teams and two five minute power plays handed to the Bulls. However, it was goaltender Juha Niku who stole the show making some timely saves to preserve the shutout. He robbed Coale Norris and Charlie Singerhouse on two great plays near the side of the net.
The Bulls outshot Topeka 16-11 in the third period but overall the RoadRunners had the advantage 40-36. There were 12 combined power plays with Topeka netting the only goal.
The season series between the Amarillo Bulls and the Topeka RoadRunners concludes tomorrow (Saturday) night at 7:15 pm at Kansas Expo Center Landon Arena. Fans can tune into the action on CBS Sports Radio 1440, online at www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV with Fast Hockey beginning with the Wayland Baptist University Warm Up Show at 6:50 pm.
Fans can now purchase or renew 2016-17 Amarillo Bulls Season Tickets and take advantage of some great pricing. There are a variety of ticket options and payment plans available. For further information, please call the Bulls Office at 1-806-242-1122 or visit 301 South Polk in the Amarillo Building.