RIO RANCHO, NMX – The Amarillo Bulls ended their 2011-2012 regular season just as they started it on Saturday night. Three third period goals lifted the Amarillo Bulls to their record 46th win of the season and 99th point defeating the New Mexico Mustangs 4-1 at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
The point total of 99 set a new NAHL record based on a 60-game schedule. The two totals are also new marks in Amarillo Hockey History.
The game was a lot closer than the score would indicate and Bulls’ fans that numbered close to 50 had to wait until the third period to see their team rally for the victory.
“I don’t think we respected our opponent to start the game,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams. “New Mexico came out strong just as I thought they would and didn’t roll over. The Mustangs have a great coach in Jason Kerzner, and I like what he has done with this program. They came out buzzing, and we were flat footed and sat back.
“We capitalized on our chances in the second and had one goal called back which hurts your momentum. I thought we came out hard in the third period and we buried a lot of pucks.”
It was a tough first 10 minutes for the Amarillo Bulls as they came out flat against the New Mexico Mustangs. The Bulls took a penalty and that led to the Mustangs scoring first at a play near the side of the net. The offense for the Bulls picked up in the second half of the period and out shot New Mexico 10-2 over the final 10 minutes and 11-8 overall.
Tyler Deresky tied the game up for Amarillo 58 seconds into the second period when he finished off a great odd-man rush. It was all Bulls in the middle stanza as they controlled much of the play and outshot New Mexico 16-8.
In the third period TJ Sarcona gave the Bulls a 2-1 advantage when he scored on a scramble in front of the net. Brooks Behling earned an assist on the goal. Seven minutes later, Michael Davis fired a shot past Randy Graham, who played well, to extend the lead to two goals at 3-1. Ryan Cole rounded out the scoring in the dying seconds when he scored into an empty net.
The Amarillo Bulls doubled the New Mexico Mustangs in shots 40-20 and had a 13-4 advantage in the third period. There were just three power plays in the game with New Mexico capitalizing on its lone chance.
The North American Hockey League’s South Division playoffs begin on Friday, Apr. 6 and continue Saturday, Apr. 7 when the Amarillo Bulls host the Odessa Jackalopes in the first two games of the Best-Of-Five Series. Games three and four (if necessary) will be held on Monday Apr. 9 and Tuesday, Apr. 10 at Ector County Coliseum. Should a fifth game be necessary, it will be held back in Amarillo on Saturday, Apr. 14.
Don’t forget that there will be huge Tailgate for the opening game in the series on Friday, Apr. 6 that will feature music, barbecue and refreshments. The first 1,000 fans through the doors at the game will receive a rally towel. Tickets for the Bulls’ home games are available at 301 South Polk, in the Amarillo Building, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets. For further information on Group Rates, or 2012-2013 Season Tickets, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.