FRISCO, TX – Brooks Behling scored the game winning goal 1:20 into overtime to lift the Amarillo Bulls past the Texas Tornado 4-3 on Friday night at Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco, Texas.
The goal by Behling completed a three-goal performance and pushed the Bulls lead in the South Division to five points ahead of the Tornado and six on top of the Topeka RoadRunners.
It was a thrilling and exciting game between the two South Division leaders. The Bulls jumped out to a 3-2 lead early in the third period when Matt Johnson scored on a shot from the high slot area. Amarillo played tight defense the rest of the way and nearly held on for the win in regulation. The Tornado tied the game with just four seconds remaining in the third period on a scramble in front of the net.
“The best defense is a good offense,” said Bulls Assistant Coach Rocky Russo. “We did a good job of getting pucks deep in their end, cycling and wearing down their defense. They can’t score goals 200 feet away and that is a tribute to our forwards who are doing a great job on the fore check. When they did get rushes on the way back our defense did well, and Michael Taffe made all of the saves.”
It was a spirited opening 20 minutes of hockey between the Bulls and the Tornado. The Bulls began the scoring with a shorthanded goal by Brooks Behling his second in as many nights. He made a great move on Tornado goaltender Joakim Jutras to score on a partial breakaway.
About six minutes later, the Tornado tied the game up on the scramble in front of the net. The Bulls outshot Texas 11-7 in the first period.
There was a pre-game ceremony to honor Texas Tornado Head Coach Tony Curtale who recently set a new record for the most wins in US Junior Hockey.
The second period featured a pair of specialty teams’ goals. The Tornado took a 2-1 advantage on a sharp angled shot shorthanded. The Bulls pulled even in the final 30 seconds of the second period when Brooks Behling added his second on a deflection in front. Joe Kozlak and TJ Sarcona earned assists on the power play marker.
Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams said the game was going to come down to the 50-50 puck battles.
“We are not concerned about their (Texas Tornado) size, and we are the strongest team out there,” said Williams. “We are not the biggest team, but I will put our strength up against anyone. Our conditioning is very good. There has to be a will to go out and get that puck.”
The Amarillo Bulls and the Texas Tornado will meet again on Saturday night at 7:30 pm at Dr. Pepper Arena in the third of the four straight road games. Fans can listen to the game live on ESPN1440 and www.amarillobulls.com fueled by UStream, beginning with the Bulls Warm Up Show Presented By Wayland Baptist University at 7:15 pm. Denis J. Puska has the call at 7:30 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.