FRISCO, TX – The Amarillo Bulls posted a huge emotional win on Friday night at Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco, TX.
Matt Johnson scored with just 26 seconds remaining in overtime to lift the Bulls past the Texas Tornado 5-4. The victory snapped the Bulls two game losing streak and it extended their first-place lead to 14 points.
The Bulls fell behind 3-2 entering the third period but tied the game early 3-3 thanks to a goal by Joe Kozlak. After Texas regained the advantage 4-3 on a power play goal, Brandon Lubin tied the game for Amarillo on a blast from the point with less than four minutes remaining in regulation time. In overtime, the Bulls out worked the Tornado and were rewarded for their efforts when Karl Beckman spotted Matt Johnson open at the side of the net for the game winner.
“That was great vision by Karl on the goal,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams. “He had all the room the shoot it but held on and held on. He pulled the goalie out and fed the puck over to Matt Johnson on the back door.”
The Texas Tornado opened the scoring in the first 90 seconds of the game on a shot from the blue line. The Bulls regrouped and scored the next two goals to gain a 2-1 advantage. Joe Kozlak pushed a loose rebound past the goal line at the 9:48 mark from John Rey. The Bulls power play went to work near the end of the stanza when Greg Gibson deflected in a shot from Karl Beckman at 18:47.
The second period wasn’t the Bulls best as the Tornado took it to the visitors and scored two goals less than six minutes apart. The Tornado outshot the Bulls 10-6 in that middle stanza.
Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams said he challenged his charges in the second intermission in a way that he hasn’t done all year, and they responded.
“We controlled the play in the first period, but they took it to us in the second, Williams said. “I thought it was men versus boys. They were bigger and stronger than us.
“We tied it up in the third period, and then Texas took the lead, but we kept battling and battling. On the road it doesn’t have to be pretty, but what matters to me are wins. Hopefully, that gets them going on Saturday, and we come in here and complete the sweep.”
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Texas Tornado 27-26 including 8 to 4 in the third period. Each team had two power play goals in six opportunities.
These two South Division rivals will play again on Saturday night at 7:30 pm at Dr. Pepper Arena. Fans can tune into the action live on ESPN1440 and www.amarillobulls.com, beginning with The Bulls Warm Up Show Presented By Wayland Baptist University at 7:15 pm. Denis J. Puska has the action to follow. The game is also available live on Pay Per View courtesy of Fast Hockey and a high speed internet connection is required in order to view the game.