AMARILLO, TX – The Amarillo Bulls collected five out of a possible six points over the weekend and clinched a birth in the North American Hockey League South Division Playoffs. The Bulls posted a 2-1 win over the Wichita Falls Wildcats, a 3-2 OT decision against the Texas Tornado, and also managed a point in a 4-3 Overtime loss in Wichita Falls.
HISTORY MADE:following a 3-2 Overtime decision over the Texas Tornado on Saturday night, the Amarillo Bulls clinched a playoff spot in their Inaugural Season in the North American Hockey League. It is the first time an Amarillo hockey team, pro or junior, has qualified for the playoffs since the 2006-2007 season of the former Amarillo Gorillas.
RADIO SHOW:Two new faces highlight tonight’s (Monday’s) Amarillo Bulls Radio Show at Fazolis from 6 pm to 7 pm. Forward Eric Millisor (pronounced Mil-lie-zor) and defenseman Alex Wiese (Weese) join host Denis J. Puska as well as Head Coach Dennis Williams and Assistant Coach Rocky Russo.
UPCOMING SCHEDULE:It is a well deserved break for the Amarillo Bulls for the next 11 days and won’t return to action until Thursday, Feb. 24 with a visit back to the New Mexico Mustangs at Santa Ana Star Center at 7:30 pm, Mountain, 8:30 pm, Central.
NEXT HOME GAMES/PROMOTIONS:The home schedule for the Amarillo Bulls resumes on Friday, Feb. 25 and Saturday, Feb. 26 when the Corpus Christi IceRays visit The Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center at 7 pm. The Friday game is Scout Night and to book your Troop or Pack, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122. The Bulls will wear their Make-A-Wish Jerseys on the Saturday night. An auction follows immediately after the game with proceeds to benefit the Make-A-Wish foundation.
TWO BULLS AT TOP PROSPECTS THIS WEEKEND:Two current members of the Amarillo Bulls will be part of the South Division roster at the North American Hockey League Top Prospects Tournament in Ann Arbor, Michigan this weekend. Team Captain Derek Hills, forward and Assistant Captain Cody Freeman will suit up for a strong South team. Meantime, former Bulls goaltender Steve Bolton, who now plays for the Traverse City Stars, will also be on that all-star roster.
FIRST OT WIN:Saturday’s 3-2 victory over the Texas Tornado in Frisco, TX was the Amarillo Bulls first overtime win of the season. The Bulls are now 1-2 in OT and 2-2 in shootouts.
WINNING PERCENTAGE RISES AGAIN:After a successful weekend on the ice, the Amarillo Bulls saw their winning percentage rise to nearly .700 (.698) and move back into sole possession of fourth in the league in that statistical department. Division leaders the St. Louis Bandits, Topeka RoadRunners and Fairbanks IceDogs are the only other teams higher than the Bulls.
BULLS BITES:Karl Beckman leads all NAHL defensemen with a plus-minus rating of plus 25. Goaltender Nikifor Szczerba is now second in NAHL wins with 23, and save percentage at .926. After picking up at least 35 shots in each of their last 10 games, the Amarillo Bulls have jumped into the top five among shots on goal in the North American Hockey League.
WICHITA FALLS WILDCATS 4 – AMARILLO BULLS 3, OT:A two goal. third-period lead fell by the wayside in the Bulls 4-3 OT loss in Wichita Falls on Wednesday night. Brooks Behling, Cody Freeman and Zack Smoot tallied for the Bulls in the loss, while Eric Millisor and Matt Johnson had assists.
AMARILLO BULLS 2 – WICHITA FALLS WILDCATS 1:A solid defensive effort lifted the Bulls to a 2-1 victory on Friday night. Cody Freeman and Zack Smoot tallied for the Bulls in the first period and after that the defense and goaltender Nikifor Szczerba took over. Luke Jenkins, Matt Johnson, Brandon Lubin and Dan Sherer added assists in the contest.
AMARILLO BULLS 3 – TEXAS TORNADO 2, OT:The Amarillo Bulls saw a 2-0 lead evaporate only to rally and beat the Tornado 3-2 in OT. Defenseman Karl Beckman and John Rey provided the offensive scoring punch in the second period. Michael Erickson notched the game winner 72 seconds into the extra session. Cody Freeman, Zack Smoot, Dan Sherer, Matt Johnson and Erickson had assists in the game.