AMARILLO, TX – The Amarillo Bulls won their third home opener in their last four years.
Tyler Gernhofer scored twice, including the game winner as the Bulls doubled the Odessa Jackalopes 4-2 at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. The victory evened the Bulls record at 2-2-1.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow (Saturday) to close out the weekend series. The Bulls will celebrate the 2013 National Championship win with a banner raising ceremony prior to the game. The puck drop is set for 7 pm.
Starts and finishes have been a strong part of the Bulls games over the years and that continued on Friday night. The Bulls came out and played hard in the first and then after a slow second, rallied to control the final stanza. Joe Grabowski and Carter Penzien netted the other Bulls goals.
“What a great vote of confidence for our guys after having some difficulty in the third period in games versus Bismarck, Kenai River and Janesville in Minnesota,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams. “We didn’t have a great second period, but hats off to Odessa who played well. They scored a timely power play to get the momentum going, and then a nice goal on a 3 on 2 rush.
“I thought Rick Matchett and his staff did a great job with the atmosphere in this building tonight and our players were able to feed off that great crowd.
A terrific opening night crowd was treated to a fast start by their Amarillo Bulls. Just 1:58 into the first period, Tyler Gernhofer netted his fourth goal of the season from Matt Sieckhaus and Joe Grabowski to give the home side a 1-0 lead. It was the Bulls 9th power play goal of the season. The Bulls added to their lead at 12:15 mark of the stanza when Carter Penzien tallied his second of the year from Matt Sieckhaus and newcomer Cody Gylling. The goal was set up by great work from Sieckhaus and Gyling who moved the puck to the front of the net where Penzien was in position to score. Each team had 12 shots on goal in the first period.
The Jackalopes went to work in the second period and tied the game with two goals 4:36 apart. The first one was via the power play the second one was even strength. The remainder of the stanza was dominated by the Bulls with several big chances to score but thwarted by goaltender Yoshihiro Kuroiwa. The best opportunity was by Ryan Stephens who was left alone in front of the net. The Bulls outshot the Jackalopes 18-10.
The Bulls kept pressing in the third and were finally rewarded for their hard work. Tyler Gernhofer notched his second of the game when he converted a pass from Roman Ammirato and Brett Szajner at 3:10.
The Bulls put the game on ice with their second power play goal of the game in the final three minutes. Joe Grabowski fired a shot low past the goaltender from Gernhofer and Brendan Vetter at 16:57.
The Amarillo Bulls limited the Odessa Jackalopes to just 10 shots over the final 25 minutes of the game. The final shots favored the Bulls 38-27.
Tomorrow’s game is not to be missed by sports fans as Amarillo will celebration a championship when the Bulls host the Jackalopes at 7 pm. 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 Season Ticket packages please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.
Fans can tune into the game live on CBS Sports Radio 1440, www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV courtesy of Fast Hockey beginning with the Wayland Baptist University Warm Up Show at 6:45 pm. Denis J. Puska has the play-by-play action at 7p m.