FRISCO, TX – It will come down to one game to decide if the Amarillo Bulls will qualify for the Robertson Cup National Semi-Finals.
The Amarillo Bulls surrendered two even strength goals that snapped a 1-1 tie, and dropped a 3-1 decision to the Fairbanks Ice Dogs on Saturday afternoon at Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco, TX.
The Bulls’ record fell to 1-1 the same as tomorrow’s opponent the Bismarck Bobcats. A win tomorrow and the Bulls can advance to the semi-finals on Monday, and a loss could end their tremendous season. Two other teams, the St. Louis Bandits and the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, are also in a similar boat with a 1-1 mark.
“We didn’t work hard, we were outshot 15-5 in the third and they (Fairbanks) wanted it more than us,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams. “We played a style of hockey that mirrored Fairbanks style and they are better at that play. We didn’t stick to our game plan and respect our opponents.
“It’s now gut check time for us. We win and move on and if we don’t then we don’t deserve to win. We’ll see what we are all about tomorrow. It’s time for some of our older guys to pick it up. It’s easy to do it early in the season but at this time of the year it’s time for those guys to show themselves.”
It was a defensive battle in the opening 20 minutes with neither team being able to score. The Bulls had a couple of chances in close but were unable to beat Steve Perry. It was one of the Bulls’ lowest shot totals the entire season with just five in the first stanza.
In the second period, Fairbanks jumped out to a 1-0 lead thanks to a power play goal at the 6:21 mark. Amarillo pulled even when Greg Gibson scored on a five-on-three power play. Joe Kozlak and Matt Johnson earned assists on the goal at 10:50. Just over three minutes later, the Ice Dogs took the lead back, converting a two on one break up the ice.
The Bulls scrambled to tie the game up in the third period, but couldn’t be Steve Perry. Fairbanks rounded out the scoring with a goal that was just pushed in across the goal line.
The Fairbanks Ice Dogs outshot the Amarillo Bulls 24-21 including 15-5 in the third period. There were nine power plays in the game with Fairbanks going 1 for 6 and the Bulls were just 1 for 3.
The final game of the round robin for the Amarillo Bulls is set for tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon at 12:30 pm against the Bismarck Bobcats. Fans can tune into the game live on ESPN1440 and www.amarillobulls.com, beginning with Prelude To The Robertson Cup Presented By Wayland Baptist University at 12:15 pm. Denis J. Puska has the play by play to follow. The game is also available on Pay Per View courtesy of Fast Hockey and a high speed internet connection is required.