CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – It was quite a game for Tyler Gernhofer.
The Amarillo Bulls forward figured in on all four goals, scoring the game winner in the final minute in overtime, to power his team past the Corpus Christi IceRays 4-3 on Sunday afternoon at American Bank Center. It was the Bulls 16th win of the season and it moved them four points clear of the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees for first place in the South Division. The two teams will meet next Friday and Saturday to start four straight games against one another, including two back in the Texas Panhandle.
Gernhofer scored three times and assisted on the other Bulls’ goal in the third period. He is now tied with teammate Matt Sieckhaus for the scoring lead. Mike Davis had the other marker. Goaltender Paul Berrafato saw his shutout string of more than 200 minutes come to an end in the third period.
“What I am starting to see is that goaltenders are on high alert when it comes to Tyler,” said Bulls Assistant Coach Harry Mahood. “I think last year we saw a goalie over play a 2-on-1, and other night he faked the shot and passed it over. Today in overtime, he went over and fired the puck short- side. He is showing so much imagination, poise and confidence with the puck. He’s an elite goal scorer that do not come around too often, but he is certainly in that category.”
It was a dominating first 20 minutes by the Amarillo Bulls controlling much of the play inside IceRays’ territory. The power play got the Bulls on the score board as Tyler Gernhofer netted his 15th of the season from Roman Ammirato and Cody Gylling at 3:48. The Bulls outshot the IceRays 11-3.
There was no scoring in the middle stanza but the Bulls had to kill off three penalties. Amarillo had a couple of chances to score on Ben Myers, but he kept the IceRays close. The Bulls outshot the Rays 16-12.
Gernhofer notched his second of the game to open up the third period. The power play goal was converted on a great pass from Matt Sieckhaus and Brendan Vetter at the 56 second mark. The IceRays got back into the hockey game with two goals including one on the power play to tie the game 2-2.
Twenty two seconds later, the Bulls regained a one-goal advantage with a goal-mouth scramble and Mike Davis pushing the puck across line. Gernhofer and Brady Ferguson earned assists on the play.
It wasn’t long before the IceRays tied the game 3-3 when they scored on a quick break up the ice.
There was no scoring in the final five minutes, but the Bulls nearly won the contest in regulation, missing several chances in front.
In overtime, Gernhofer carried the puck inside Corpus Christi territory and let a shot go that beat Ben Myers on the short side with less than a minute remaining.
Mahood said one of the keys for the Bulls in overtime was their 4-on-4 play.
“We had a four-on-four earlier in the game when we had the power play nullified on a penalty we took and we didn’t play very well during that time,” he explained. “Before we started overtime we had a good talk and how to better our play 4-on-4 and it was really quite noticeable. We had a couple of good chances and the ultimately what led to the game winner.”
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Corpus Christi 43-24 including 16-9 in the final 24 plus minutes of play. Each team had five power plays with the Bulls scoring twice and the IceRays getting one.
The long six game-13 days road trip concludes for the Amarillo Bulls this coming weekend when they visit the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees on Friday and Saturday at 7 pm at State Farm Arena. Fans can listen to all the action on CBS Sports Radio 1440, www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV courtesy of Fast Hockey beginning 15 minutes before the puck is dropped with the Wayland Baptist University Warm Up Show.
Hockey is back at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center in two weeks as the Bulls host the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees at 7 pm. The Friday game is military appreciation night, while Saturday is an opportunity to support the food bank. Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets including United Supermarkets. For further information on Group Rates or Seven Game Flex Packs, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.