AMARILLO, TX – For just the third time in four years, the Amarillo Bulls have dropped an opening game of a playoff series, and for the second time it was to their rival Topeka RoadRunners.
The Bulls and the RoadRunners combined for five goals in the first 26:13 of the game and then defense and goaltending took over the rest of the way. Amarillo suffered a 3-2 loss at the hands of Topeka in the opening game of the South Division Final on Friday night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center.
The second game of the Best-Of-Five Series takes place tomorrow (Saturday) night at 7pm before the scene shifts to Kansas next week.
Roman Ammirato netted both goals for the Bulls in the first period, while Tyler Gernhofer added two assists. Paul Berrafato took the loss in goal.
After an offensive explosion in the first period, the two teams settled down to play tight defense and the goaltenders took over making big saves to keep the game close.
It was an offensively charged opening 20 minutes with each team scoring twice. The RoadRunners opened the scoring in the first 73 seconds with early pressure in Bulls’ territory. Amarillo settled down and it was Roman Ammirato who gave the homeside the lead with two goals less than three minutes apart. His first one was on a great rush up the ice with help from Tyler Gernhofer. The second goal was netted off a deflection from a Gernhofer shot that was set up by a face-off win. The RoadRunners pulled even with a goal in the final 13 seconds of the stanza. The RoadRunners outshot the Bulls 15-7 in the first period.
The second period featured lots of excitement and just one goal as Topeka took the lead on a shot from the outside that deflected and went in. The Bulls had several outstanding chances to score but were denied by PJ Bridges including a point blank opportunity by Eric Purcell who was alone in the slot area. Paul Berrafato made his best save of the game when denied Tyler Poulsen on a breakaway. The RoadRunners outshot the Bulls 9-8 in the second.
It was a tightly played third period with the Bulls controlling much of the play but being unable to finishing off a play. In the final minute the Bulls pulled their goaltender but couldn’t get the equalizer. Patrick Pollock shot the puck from the point but Bridges denied it.
Despite outshooting the opposition 10-6 in the third period the Bulls still trailed in the final shot total 30-25. Each team had two power plays in the game but didn’t score.
The South Division final series resumes tomorrow (Saturday) night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center at 7 pm. The game is sponsored by The Big Texan and the first 1,000 fans receive a 3D cup. There will be a 72 ounce Steak-Eating Contest prior to the game and the door will open at a special time of 5:45 pm.
Tickets are available at the Bulls Office, that will be open from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets including United Supermarkets. For further information on Group Rates please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.