FRISCO, TX – Three-Peat…
The Amarillo Bulls did just that on Tuesday night capturing their third straight South Division Playoff Championship and third straight trip to the Robertson Cup National Championship Tournament. Forward Brady Ferguson fired the game winner with less than six minutes remaining in regulation time to snap a 3-3 and lift the Bulls past the Texas Tornado 5-3 at Dr. Pepper Arena, and sweep the Best-Of-Five Series 3-0.
It’s the first time in the post season that the Amarillo Bulls have swept a playoff opponent to win a series. The Bulls will again get a long layoff, this time a total of eight days, before the Robertson Cup National Championship Tournament gets underway next Friday, May 10 back at Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco.
Omar Mullan, Clint Carlisle, Blake Robos and Ryan Cole, into an empty net, tallied for Amarillo. Goaltender Paul Berrafato stopped 24 of 27 shots he faced in posting the victory.
Amarillo Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams said winning the South Division title all starts and the top and works its way down.
“What a great group to work for,” said Williams. “Our owner Mr. Bill Yuill, President Gary Gelinais, and General Manager Rick Matchett and right on through my supporting staff, the front office staff and to the players. It’s been thus far a good season. It’s time to enjoy it for a day or two but we still have work to do. There are three pretty good teams we are going to face next weekend.”
Williams said his players battled right from the opening face-off as the Tornado gave them all they could handle.
“We were reading something today about ugly wins and it was certainly that,” he said. “It wasn’t one of those games where we played the way we wanted to or executed the way we wanted, but at the end of the day, a win is a win.
“My hats off to Texas, and their coach Tony Curtale. They battled hard and probably deserved a better fate tonight then what they got. At the end of the day, we got a few extra bounces but I thought for the majority of the game they out-played us. When it came down to the bottom line, we found a way to win it.”
The Texas Tornado pressed the issue in the first five minutes against the Amarillo Bulls and were rewarded by scoring the game’s first goal via the power play. However, it didn’t take long for the Bulls to find the back of the net. Omar Mullan tied the game less than two minutes later also on the power play when he converted a play at the side of the net from Matt Sieckhaus. It was Mullan’s first of the post season. With less than three minutes remaining in the period, Blake Roubos also tallied his first of the playoffs when he finished off a great pass from Tyler Deresky in the slot area to give the Bulls the lead. Amarillo outshot the Texas Tornado 10-9 in the first period.
It was a tight checking second period with a total of 13 shots on goal. The Bulls failed to score on a five minute power play early in the stanza. Goaltender Hunter Leisner made a couple of big saves to keep his team close. One was off the stick of Dan McNamara and the other by TJ Sarcona on a partial breakaway. The Tornado pulled even with a goal in the final two minutes. Texas outshot Amarillo 8-5.
The third period started with a flurry of action as Clint Carlisle gave the Bulls a 3-2 lead when he scored on a shot from Omar Mullan and Garrett Peterson at the 1:40 mark. Just over 30 seconds later, the Tornado came right back and tied the game when a shot beat goaltender Paul Berrafato.
The teams went back and forth for a 12 minute span, but the Bulls appeared to be getting better of the scoring chances as they began pressing the Tornado defenseman.
Brady Ferguson scored one of his biggest goals of the season when he beat goaltender Hunter Leisner at 5:50 to give the Bulls a 4-3 lead. Tyler Rostenkowski and Ryan Cole added assists on the play. The Tornado pulled their goaltender in the final minute and had the puck deep inside Bulls territory. However, Tyler Deresky made a smart play clearing the puck off the boards that just went beyond the defenseman. It led to a rush up the ice by Ryan Cole who deposited the puck into the empty net.
The Amarillo Bulls were outshot by the Texas Tornado 27-25. Each team had 10 shots on goal in the third period. There were eight total power plays in the game, with the Bulls going 1 for 5 and the Tornado were 1 for 3.
The Robertson Cup National Championship Tournament begins next Friday, May 10 at Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco, TX. The Bulls are unsure who their opponents will be as the other Divisional finals are still in progress and won’t resume until Thursday night. The Bulls know that they will play their first two games of the tournament on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm, and then close the round-robin portion of the schedule at 4:30 pm on Sunday afternoon. Admission to the Robertson Cup is $10 a day or $25 for the tournament. For further information on schedule, accommodations and much more visit www.robertsoncup.com.