AMARILLO, TX – The Amarillo Bulls gave their fans a little drama, but a lot of excitement on Saturday night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center.
Three third period goals erased a one goal deficit and lifted the Amarillo Bulls to another third period comeback, this time, 5-3 over the Texas Tornado.
It was the Bulls 38th win of the season and that coupled with a Topeka RoadRunners shootout loss at the hands of the Wenatchee Wild, trimmed the first place lead to 16 points.
The Bulls trailed 3-2 going into the final 20 minutes when they mounted another amazing comeback. Matt Johnson pulled his teammates even when he scored shorthanded on a backhand shot that eluded goaltender Hunter Leisner. Johnson was able to utilize the entire ice surface to get away from the defender and then get a backhand shot away.
It appeared the game was destined to overtime until John Gustafsson worked the puck out of the corner and spot John Rey open with a terrific pass. Rey’s shot found the top corner, inside the post to give the Bulls the lead 4-3. TJ Sarcona rounded out the scoring for the Bulls when he tallied into an empty net with under a minute remaining in regulation time. The Bulls managed the two goals on just eight third period shots.
“It wasn’t our team’s best effort tonight,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams. “They worked hard but it just wasn’t clicking. We fought it but one of the things that I was proud of was that we persevered. In the third period we battled through and got what we wanted done.”
It was an evenly played first period of played that was dominated by special teams. The Bulls jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a shot from the point from John Rey from TJ Sarcona and John Gustafsson at the 2:21 mark. Texas tied the game less than a minute later on a power play goal. Late in the stanza the teams traded goals. Michael Erickson notched one from Clint Carlisle and Matt Johnson at 16:39 and in the final minute Texas scored on a shot from inside the blue line.
The Bulls had the better scoring chances in the second period but had a hard time beating goaltender Hunter Leisner. Texas took the lead in the final two minutes on a shot from the high slot area.
The Texas Tornado outshot the Amarillo Bulls 41-40. There were a total of eight power plays with the Texas Tornado netting the lone marker on the man advantage.
The Amarillo Bulls return to action next Thursday when they visit the Corpus Christi IceRays at American Bank Center at 7 pm. Fans can tune into the game live on ESPN1440 and www.amarillobulls.com, beginning with the Bulls Warm Up Show Presented By Wayland Baptist University at 6:45 pm. Denis J. Puska has the exciting call at 7 pm. The game is also available on Pay- Per-View courtesy of Fast Hockey and a high speed internet connection is required in order to view the game.
Hockey returns to the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center when the Amarillo Bulls host the Texas Tornado in a return match-up on Friday, Mar. 9 and Saturday, Mar. 10 at 7 pm. Tickets are available at The Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk in the Amarillo Building, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets. For further information on Group Rates or Playoff Packages, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.