AMARILLO, TX – The first minute set the tone…
That was the tonic the Amarillo Bulls needed en route to their second consecutive South Division Regular Season Title on Saturday night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center.
Two fights, and a goal 52 seconds into the opening period lifted the Bulls past their arch rival Topeka RoadRunners 6-1. It’s the fifth title by the Amarillo Bulls franchise in three seasons, and the most by any team pro or junior in Amarillo Hockey History. The next goal of the Bulls is the overall NAHL regular season title. The Bulls have a five point cushion over the Austin Bruins with six games remaining.
Tyler Deresky netted two goals for the Bulls, while Geoff Fortman, Gage Christianson, Omar Mullan, and Matt Sieckhaus added singles. Paul Berrafato had another outstanding game in goal to post the victory. Eleven players in the Bulls line-up contributed at least one point.
“We have a very special group that starts at the top with Mr. Yuill that gives us this chance to put this great team on the ice,” Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams said after the game. “Right down to Gary Gelinas our President so without thanking them for this opportunity, I couldn’t ask for better owners.
“We came back tonight after that tough loss and the guys responded. Teams can’t come in here and push us around. We scored goals tonight and we did everything we needed. I couldn’t be more proud. They deserve a couple of days off.”
Williams said after the weekend his charges will have to get re-focused and get ready for the stretch run and the playoffs.
“We have Wichita Falls coming up and then in Corpus Christi and either one could be our first round opponent,” he said. “Somebody asked me about the gas pedal. Anyone who knows me understand there is no neutral, we are here to win hockey games and move kids on.”
What a first minute to the game for the Amarillo Bulls that played typical team hockey. Captain John Rey and forward Omar Mullan got into fights and then defenseman Geoff Fortman fired a puck into the net to give his team an early 1-0 advantage. The Bulls outshot Topeka 19-9.
The second period was all Amarillo with another 15 shots and three goals in 2:24. It started with the great work of the line of Matt Sieckhaus, Mike Davis and Gage Christianson that combined to give the Bulls a 2-0 advantage. The trio was also instrumental in scoring later in the sequence. Forty-seconds later, it was Omar Mullan’s turn to get rolling as he wired a shot on the top shelf to make it 3-0. Geoff Fortman and Dan McNamara notched assists on the play. Gage Christianson added the third goal of that sequence when he scored in front of the net on the power play from Sieckhaus and Davis. The Bulls outshot Topeka by a margin of 15-7 in that stanza.
The Road Runners came out flying in the third period and pressured the Bulls. Topeka broke the shut-out string of Paul Berrafato with a power play goal just prior to the three minute mark. After that it was Tyler Deresky’s turn to restore the Bulls dominance as he fired back to back goals 19 seconds apart. Brady Ferguson, John Rey, Joe Grabowski and Geoff Fortman added helpers. The third period featured several fights including rookie Tyler Gernhofer going at it with Codey Hansen that the rookie was able to control. The Bulls were outshot 16-7 but not in the game as Amarillo had the advantage 42-34.
Each team had seven power plays with a power play goal scored on either side.
There is one final home stand remaining for the Amarillo Bulls before the team plays its final four straight on the road. The Wichita Falls Wildcats visit the Amarillo Bulls next Friday and Saturday at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center at 7 pm. Saturday is Fan Appreciation Night that includes the popular Jersey-Of-Our-Backs promotion and the Awards Presentations after the game.
Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets including United Supermarkets. For further information on Group Rates, Playoff Packages or 2013-2014 Season Tickets, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.