TOPEKA, KS – Tyler Gernhofer has a knack for scoring big goals against the Topeka RoadRunners.
The Grapevine, Texas native did it again inside Kansas Expo Center Landon Arena scoring 82 seconds into overtime and lifting the Amarillo Bulls past the Topeka RoadRunners 3-2.
The victory snapped the Bulls 11 game losing streak and was the first win in Topeka since November of 2013. Jake Rosenbaum and Nick Santoro powered the Bulls to a 2-0 second period lead, but Topeka rallied back with two goals less than a minute apart to force the extra session. Brian Baker was outstanding in goal for the Bulls robbing Topeka Captain Dominic Lutz on a penalty shot with nine seconds left in regulation time.
It was a terrific opening period for the Amarillo Bulls filled with heart, character and hard work. Special teams prevented the Topeka RoadRunners from scoring as all four penalties were killed off. Jake Rosenbaum scored his first NAHL goal to give Amarillo a 1-0 advantage. His first shot was blocked, but then he was able to fire his rebound into the net ending a team scoring drought of 63 plus minutes. Brian Baker was solid in the first period making some huge stops to preserve the lead. Topeka outshot Amarillo 14-9 in the first period most of those shots occurred on the power play.
The second period saw the Bulls extend their lead thanks to their great work on the power play. Nick Santoro’s hard shot found its way through Juha Niku to make it 2-0 at the 6:14 mark Joey DiBenedetto and Michael Forman. Joey Molinaro, Coale Norris and George Mika failed to convert a pretty passing play that would have widened the Bulls lead even more. Brian Baker again was dynamite in the middle period keep the RoadRunners off the score sheet. Each team had 11 shots on goal in the stanza.
There was plenty of special teams action in the third period. Topeka took advantage of a 4-on-3 power play to score and make it a 2-1 game. Less than a minute later, the RoadRunners pulled even on a shot from the blue line that got just under the cross bar. The game continued at a fast pace with both teams nearly scoring in regulation to win the game. With nine seconds remaining, the referee called for a penalty shot when a Bulls player covered up the puck near the goal crease. Dominic Lutz took the penalty shot but shot it right at the glove of Brian Baker.
The overtime period went end to end in the first 40 seconds, the Bulls were able to chip the puck off the wall to a breaking Tyler Gernhofer who made a great move on goaltender Juha Niku and scored to win the game.
The Topeka RoadRunners outshot the Amarillo Bulls 44-28 including 17-8 in the final 22:12. There were 14 combined power plays with each team scoring once.
The Amarillo Bulls close out their 2015-16 season next Friday and Saturday against the Odessa Jackalopes at Ector County Coliseum. Fans can tune into the action on CBS Sports Radio 1440, online at www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV courtesy of Fast Hockey beginning with the Wayland Baptist University Warm Up Show at 6:40 pm. Amarillo Bulls Hockey with Denis J. Puska follows at 7 pm.