AMARILLO, TX – Matt Johnson and John Rey each had two points to lift the Amarillo Bulls past the Odessa Jackalopes 4-2 on Friday night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. The victory was the Bulls seventh in a row and it extended their South Division lead to four points over the Texas Tornado and the Topeka RoadRunners. The Tornado fell 8-7 in a shootout in New Mexico, while Topeka won in Springfield.
“I think the score was a little deceiving,” said Bulls Assistant Coach Rocky Russo. “I thought we clearly dominated them for a good number of stretches in the game. I think our problem came when we couldn’t score goals. As good as the Odessa goaltender is, and don’t get me wrong he is a good one, I think we shot a lot of pucks either in his chest or at his glove.”
The Bulls outshot Odessa 54-29 including 23-11 in the second period, alone. The game was a feisty one that featured four fights and several skirmishes after the whistle.
A couple of power play goals opening the scoring in the first period. Brooks Behling notched his ninth on a wraparound at the 13:55 mark from Michael Erickson and Matt Johnson. The Jackalopes tied the game up about four minutes later with a shot from the face-off circle.
The Bulls got off to a fast start in the second period with two goals in the first six minutes. Tyler Deresky tipped home a feed from Clint Carlisle and John Rey at 4:25. A short time later, Matt Johnson scored on a nice play also from John Rey. The Bulls had a five minute power play late in the stanza but couldn’t score. With just 21 seconds remaining in the second period, Odessa scored on a partial breakaway to narrow the margin to 3-2.
Both teams worked hard in the third period and with the Odessa net empty, Joe Kozlak rounded out the scoring with just 32 seconds remaining.
“We’re playing some pretty good hockey right now,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams prior to the game. “It’s up to us to keep that streak live and keep working hard. It doesn’t come easier because the target is on our back right now.”
Goaltender Mike Taffe was solid in notching his sixth win of the season. He turned aside 27 of 29 shots he faced.
The Amarillo Bulls will host the Odessa Jackalopes on Saturday night at 7 pm. The game is sponsored by Avondale Pharmacy and the Bulls will be wearing their third jerseys for the first time.
Tickets are available from the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk in the Amarillo Building; Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets including United Supermarkets. For further information on group rates, season tickets or Seven-Game Flex Packs, please call the Bulls office at 806-242-1122.