RIO RANCHO, NMX – The Amarillo Bulls remained unbeaten the North American Hockey League on Friday night, blasting the New Mexico Mustangs 7-2 at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho New Mexico.
It was a close game for the first 40 minutes with the Bulls leading 3-1, but a four goal third period put the game quickly out of reach.
The victory was the Bulls fourth of the season and extended their lead in the South Division to two points over the Texas Tornado and three ahead of third place Corpus Christi IceRays.
The first period was dominated by special teams as there were a total of four power plays with three going to the Amarillo Bulls. Michael Erickson struck first for Amarillo when he wired a shot past the Mustangs’ goaltender Lucas Hernandez. The Mustangs outshot the Bulls 9-7 in the first period
The middle stanza featured three fights and plenty of extra activities after the whistle. The Bulls took at 2-0 advantage when TJ Sarcona shot the puck from the high slot area at the 7:32 mark. New Mexico got back into the game with a goal three minutes later to cut the deficit to 2-1. A late four minute power play ignited the Bulls offense. It was Brooks Behling who tipped home a shot from Matt Johnson and Michael Erickson.
The third period began with the Bulls working hard and it led to the goal by Zane Popilock, his first of the season, at 7:23. After New Mexico cut the deficit to 4-2, the Bulls notched the next three markers. Joe Kozlak scored on a feed from Jude Warner. John Gustafsson followed that one up with a terrific play in front of the net. TJ Sarcona rounded out the scoring with a goal in the final two minutes.
Gregg Gruehl notched the win in goal for Amarillo who was 1 for 6 on the power play.
It’s a night of celebration on Saturday night in the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center when the Amarillo Bulls host the New Mexico Mustangs. Face off is at 7 pm. There is a huge tailgate party behind the Civic Center in the parking lot off of Johnson Street. There will be free Barbecue, refreshments and live music from Smooth Condition. Prior to the game itself there will be a ceremony to raise two banners. The Amarillo Bulls face the New Mexico Mustangs immediately after the fun in a huge South Division battle.
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 locations. Fans can call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122 or visit www.amarillobulls.com.