TOPEKA, KS – The Amarillo Bulls have had some remarkable accomplishments in just three plus years of their franchise in the North American Hockey League from 46 wins two years in a row to a National Championship victory.
The Bulls entered unchartered territory on Friday night suffering their fourth straight loss, a 3-1 decision to the Topeka RoadRunners at Kansas Expo Center Landon Arena. It’s the first time that the team has had a losing streak extend to four games.
Carter Penzien scored the lone goal for the Bulls in the third period that erased a 2-0 deficit. Goaltender Paul Berrafato was solid in goal despite the loss, turning aside 27 of 28 shots he faced.
The South Division lead for the Amarillo Bulls has been reduced as three other teams (Rio Grande Valley, Topeka and Wichita Falls) are all within four points.
There was no scoring in the first period of play. Each team having one power play opportunity but didn’t score. Goaltender Paul Berrafato made a sprawling save at the goal line to keep Topeka from taking the lead. The forward line of Ryan Stevens, Mitchell Vanderburgh and Carter Penzien had a couple of good scoring chances on goaltender PJ Bridges, but couldn’t find the back of the net. The Bulls outshot the Topeka 11-5.
It was an evenly played second period with the Bulls having two power plays. Roman Ammirato with the best chance at the side of the net but was denied by Bridges. The Bulls did a great job defensively protecting the puck and preventing Topeka from getting to the front of the net. Each team had seven shots on goal in the period.
Special teams were the story early in the third period. After the Bulls failed to score on their man advantage, the RoadRunners netted a goal on their opportunity with just over nine minutes played. Five minutes later, Topeka added to its lead on rebound in front. The Bulls cut into the deficit on a delayed penalty call when Carter Penzien scored from Kyle Gattelaro and Brendan Vetter at 15:37.
In the final minute, the Bulls pulled their goaltender for the extra attacker but surrendered an empty net goal that rounded out the scoring.
The Topeka RoadRunners outshot the Amarillo Bulls 17-8 in the third and 29-26 overall. There were 10 power plays with the Bulls going 0 for 6, while the RoadRunners were 2 for 4.
A two-game weekend series between the Amarillo Bulls and the Topeka RoadRunners closes out tomorrow (Saturday) night at 7:15 pm at Kansas Expo Center Landon Arena. Fans can tune into the game live on CBS Sports Radio 1440, www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV courtesy of Fast Hockey, beginning with the Wayland Baptist University Warm Up Show at 6:55 pm.
Hockey returns to the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center next Friday and Saturday when the Bulls host the Wichita Falls Wildcats at 7 pm. Saturday is the annual Teddy Bear Toss in support of Toys For Tots. Fans can bring a new or gently used Teddy Bear or Stuffed Animal to the game and when the Bulls score their first goal, throw the toys on to the ice.
Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets. For further information on Group Rates or the Christmas Stocking Stuffer Package, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.