AMARILLO, TX – The Amarillo Bulls are one win away from a return ticket back to the Robertson Cup National Championship Tournament.
Goaltender Gregg Gruehl stopped all 33 shots he faced and Brooks Behling netted two third period goals to spark the Bulls past the Topeka RoadRunners 3-0 at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center.
The Bulls can wrap up the series with a victory in Topeka on Thursday night at the Kansas Expo Center Landon Arena, a place where the team has done very well.
This game was in sharp contrast Friday night, where the two teams combined for 14 goals, including seven alone in the second period. It was a defensive minded contest between the two teams which has become the norm through the two years of the rivalry.
“We knew the game would be a lot tighter,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams. “That first one was an uncharacteristic game. It was a great team effort. We had a timely power play goal in the second period and then Brooks Behling took over with a shorthanded goal in the third period, and then another one on a big time play from a big time player. Gregg Gruehl made a ton of saves when we didn’t play the best.”
It was a scoreless first 28 minutes of hockey before the Bulls grabbed the lead. Brandon Lubin started the play with a rush deep inside Topeka territory. Lubin’s slap shot was stopped by goaltender Peter Traber, and Karl Beckman was there to pounce on the rebound and stick it into the back of the net.
The Bulls turned up the intensity and emotion in the final 20 minutes and were rewarded for their hard work when Brooks Behling scored shorthanded from John Rey and Mike Erickson at 9:52. Just over two minutes later, Behling went at it again when he scored on a breakaway with a great move around the Topeka defensemen.
Gruehl continued to stand tall in net with some big saves, including one from Ben Bahe who scored three times the previous night.
“We have an opportunity now to get to that common goal we had when we arrived together on August 20th and that’s to get back to the Robertson Cup,” Williams commented. “We are still going to have a tough road as it’s not easy to close out a series in Topeka. They are going to come out and throw the kitchen sink at us and we have to be ready to go.”
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Topeka RoadRunners 42-33. Each team had five power plays in the contest with the Bulls netting the lone marker.
The third game of the Best-Of-Five series is set for Thursday, Apr. 26 at 7 pm at Kansas Expo Center Landon Arena. There will be a watch party for fans at Cattle Call located on I-40 and Western. Fans can also tune into the game live on ESPN1440 and www.amarillobulls.com, beginning with Prelude To The Playoffs Presented by Wayland Baptist University at 6:45 pm. Denis J. Puska has the heart stopping action at 7 pm. The game is also available on Pay Per View courtesy of Fast Hockey and a high speed internet connection is required.