AMARILLO, TX – It was a game of streaks on Saturday night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center that in the end went the way of the defending National Champions.
The Amarillo Bulls scored four straight goals to snap a 3-3 tie and went on to beat the Wichita Falls Wildcats 7-4 in the second game of the South Division Semi-Final Series. The Bulls lead the Best-Of-Five Series 2-0 with a chance to wrap things up next Friday, April 11 at Kay Yeager Coliseum.
It was 3-0 Bulls after the first period, but the Wildcats rallied early in the second to tie the game 3-3 only to see Amarillo take the lead late in the period and then score three more times early in the third. Six of the 11 goals were scored via special teams with the Bulls firing two power play goals and adding another two shorthanded, while the Wildcats had two via the power play.
Brady Ferguson notched two goals for the Bulls with one coming shorthanded and a second on the power play. Single goals came off the sticks of Roman Ammirato, Tyler Gernhofer, Kyle Gattelaro, Eric Purcell and Cody Gylling. Goaltender Paul Berrafato stopped 26 of 30 shots he faced to notch the win goal.
“I thought we showed a lot of playoff character coming back so strongly and adding the types of goals that we did through the power play and shorthanded,” said Bulls Assistant Coach Harry Mahood. “When it was 3-all I thought the boys showed a lot character in our play.”
Mahood said the hardest part of any series is to be able to close it out and take that deciding game.
“What you are dealing with is a lot of the other team’s pride,” said Mahood. “They certainly have a lot of that and have a lot of really good players. We are going to have to use that week properly to regenerate ourselves knowing that it is going to be a battle right from puck drop.”
The Amarillo Bulls blasted off in fine fashion in the opening 20 minutes. Roman Ammirato gave the Bulls a 1-0 advantage when he scored shorthanded from Tyler Gernhofer and Brett Szajner at 2:09. Six minutes later, Cody Gylling added to the lead when he followed up a rebound in front of the net from Brendan McGuire and Patrick Pollock. The scoring frenzy in the first was concluded just over a minute later when Tyler Gernhofer stole the puck from a Wildcats’ defenseman and fired it low past Chase Munroe. The Bulls outshot the Wildcats 13-9.
The second period was a tough one for the Bulls as they surrendered a goal on a five on three power play, and then two more goals eight seconds apart. That flurry of activity tied the game 3-3. But with 1:41 remaining in the stanza, the Bulls took the lead for good when Kyle Gattelaro scored on the power play when picked up a pass from Roman Ammirato and put it past the goaltender Chase Munroe. Brendan Vetter also earned an assist on the play.
The third period was all Bulls as they scored three times in a five minute span. Brady Ferguson netted back to back goals one on the power play and a second shorthanded to make it 6-3. Patrick Pollock and Mike Davis earned helpers on the goal. Eric Purcell notched the Bulls seventh goal when he finished off a pass from Roman Amirato and Tyler Gernhofer. The Wildcats scored in a second five on three power play goal to round out the scoring.
There were 11 total power plays in the game with the Bulls going 2 for 5, while Wildcats were 2 for 6. The Wichita Falls Wildcats outshot the Amarillo Bulls 30-28.
The scene will shift for the South Division Semi-Final series between the Bulls and the Wildcats for Game three on Friday, Apr. 11 at 7 pm at Kay Yeager Coliseum. Should a fourth game be necessary it would take place on Saturday, Apr. 12 also at 7 pm. If a fifth and final game is needed it would be on Monday Apr. 14 at 7 pm at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center.