AMARILLO, TX – A four-goal, second-period uprising powered the Amarillo Bulls to a 5-1 victory over the Texas Tornado, and a 2-0 lead in the South Division Final on Friday night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center.
A crowd of more than 3,200 had plenty to cheer about during the game that may be the final one of the season, barring a fifth and deciding game, in the Texas Panhandle. The Bulls can close out the series and their third straight trip to the Robertson Cup National Championship Tournament with a victory on Tuesday night at Dr. Pepper Arena.
Brady Ferguson notched two back-to-back goals, while Ryan Cole, Tyler Deresky and Mike Davis added singles. Goaltender Paul Berrafato had another solid performance in net stopping 26 of 27 shots he faced.
“Our guys just worked hard and stuck to the game plan,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams. “It was a nice first goal by Tyler Deresky who scored on a breakaway exposing their defenseman. They scored a big power play goal late in the period that gave them some life. But our guys responded with that goal from Ryan Cole that went off the Texas defenseman’s stick. From there, we were able to capitalize and build ourselves a good lead.”
Williams said the hardest thing to do is to close out a series and knows that the Tornado will come out strong in Game three.
“Texas is in this South Division final for a reason, they are highly skilled and well coached,” said Williams. “They are hard fought games in Frisco. It’s been an exciting series so far and I am sure both teams will be ready to go on Tuesday night.”
It was a quick start to the game for the Amarillo Bulls. Tyler Deresky scored the game’s first goal when he was sent in on a breakaway and beat goaltender Hunter Leisner. The Tornado pushed forward in the remainder of the period and gave the Bulls all they could handle inside their territory but Paul Berrafato made the saves he needed to. Texas tied the game up in the final three minutes of the period when a shot from the point eluded the Bulls’ goaltender. Texas outshot Amarillo 12-9 in the first period.
The second period was all Bulls as they fired four goals on just 14 shots with the first three coming in the first 6:30. Just 15 seconds into the game on the power play, Ryan Cole got the Bulls rolling when his cross ice pass was tipped in by a Texas Tornado player into his own net. Brady Ferguson and Gage Christianson earned assists on the play. Less than four minutes later, the Bulls were able to get their first shorthanded goal of the post season. Brady Ferguson raced in on a partial breakaway and his shot beat goaltender Hunter Leisner. Defenseman Joe Grabowski pushed the puck up to Ferguson and notched an assist on the play. Less than two minutes later, Ferguson then notched his second in a row when he fired a pass from Gage Christianson into the back of the net. Ryan Cole also had an assist on the play.
The Bulls completed the scoring frenzy five minutes later when Mike Davis fired a rebound past the goaltender on a two on one with Dan McNamara. Tyler Rostenkowski added a helper on the play.
The Tornado replaced Leisner with Aaron Davis in the third period and the Bulls were unable to score. The Bulls did a great job limiting the Tornado to just eight shots on goal.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Texas Tornado 30-27. There were 10 power plays in the game with each team scoring once.
This playoff series resumes on Tuesday night at Dr. Pepper Arena as the Bulls visit the Texas Tornado at 7 pm. If a fourth game is necessary it would be played on Wednesday also at 7 pm. Fans can tune into the game live on CBS Sports Radio 1440, www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV courtesy of Fast hockey, beginning with Prelude To The Playoffs at 6:45 pm with Denis J. Puska. The puck drop follows after.