AMARILLO, TX – The score of 4-0 has been a common theme early in the season for the defending Robertson Cup Champion Amarillo Bulls.
For the fourth time this season, the Bulls beat an opponent by that score and for the second occasion it was the Topeka RoadRunners. The victory on Friday night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center was the Bulls 11th of the season and it pulled them into a tie for first place in the South Division with the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees and the Wichita Falls Wildcats.
Collin Delia continued his spectacular play in goal turning aside all 25 shots he faced including 20 of them in the first two periods. The shutout, which was his third of the season, lowered his goals against average to less than a goal (.93) per game. Tyler Gernhofer, Mike Davis, Mitchell Vanderburg and Carter Penzien scored for the Bulls. Three of them came in the third period as the Bulls took over control of the game with a terrific performance that has been the team’s trademark in the first four years.
“The first two periods were not very good,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams. “I didn’t think we had a lot of jump in our game and we looked sluggish. We came out and scored that power play goal late in the second. It was great work by Brady Ferguson to get the puck over to Brendan Vetter who found Tyler Gernhofer on the weak side.
“We had a good talk as a team between the second and third. I felt we were not skating very well at all. But Mike Davis had a big goal in the third to get us going.”
Prior to the game, there was a little celebrity watch for the fans, as Jerry Springer who was in town for the Price Is Right Live Performance came out for a ceremonial puck drop.
It was a defensive battle in the opening 20 minutes as both teams played cautiously. Goaltenders Collin Delia and PJ Bridges were tested with quality scoring chances. There were no penalties in the first period and a combined 16 shots on goal with the RoadRunners having the edge 9-7.
The second period was dominated by special teams with the RoadRunners getting three consecutive power plays but not being able to score. The Bulls got rolling with their first man advantage of the game. Tyler Gernhofer scored on a terrific feed from Brendan Vetter at 16:42 to make it 1-0. Brady Ferguson added an assist on the play. Goaltenders PJ Bridges of Topeka and Collin Delia of Amarillo were outstanding through 40 minutes, keeping their respective teams in the hunt. Topeka outshot Amarillo 11-10 in the middle stanza.
The Bulls took over control of the game in the third period firing 17 shots on goal and scoring three times. Mike Davis gave the Bulls separation they desired with a goal just 20 seconds into the stanza from Cody Gylling and Kyle Gattelaro.
Ten minutes later the line of Mitchell Vanderburg, Roman Ammirato and Matt Sieckhaus went to work creating scoring chances and were rewarded for their hard work. Vanderburg scored his second of the season from Sieckhaus and Ammirato 10:05. Carter Penzien rounded out the scoring when he tipped home a shot from Brett Szajner and Gernhofer about six minutes later.
“That’s the way we should be playing is hard, fast and quick,” said Williams. “Collin Delia was our best player on the ice for us. To be able to pitch a shutout versus Topeka is a big game for him. In the first two periods, he was the reason why we stayed in that game. We were not very strong and Topeka had a number of opportunities, but Collin kept us in.”
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Topeka RoadRunners 35-25. There were seven total power plays with the Bulls going 1 for 3, while Topeka was 0 for 4.
A short two game home stand concludes tomorrow (Saturday) night for the Bulls as they host the Topeka RoadRunners at 7 pm. It’s Panhandle Spirit Night and fans outside of Amarillo can purchase $10 tickets when they call the Bulls Office. Those fans will be entered into a draw to win a get-away package from The Big Texan. The first 500 fans will receive a Pucky T-shirt and it’s also $1 hotdog night.
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, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.