AMARILLO, TX – Goaltending continues to be the story in recent games for the Amarillo Bulls.
That was the case on Saturday night as Paul Berrafato made some outstanding saves stopping 31 of 34 shots he faced to help the Bulls hang on for a 4-3 triumph over the Topeka RoadRunners at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. It was the Bulls sixth win in row and seventh straight game where they have collected at least one point. The victory moved the Bulls into second place in the South Division, three points back of the first place Wichita Falls Wildcats.
Carter Penzien, Cody Gylling, Tyler Gernhofer and Matt Sieckhaus scored for the Bulls. Sieckhaus scored what proved to be the game winner in the final two minutes of regulation on the power play.
“We gutted it out tonight,” said Assistant Coach Austin Sutter. “Paul certainly played outstanding in goal. The coaching staff told the players after the game that Paul stole that one. It’s great we got the sweep and the four points but it wasn’t easy and the boys found a way to win.”
Both offenses got into the act early in the game. Amarillo netted the first goal when Carter Penzien scooped up a rebound and put it in the back of the net. Just over ninety-seconds later, the RoadRunners tied the game on a delayed penalty call and an extra attacker on the ice. The Bulls had two goals waved off. The first one was on the power play when the referee said that a Bulls’ player had batted the puck in with his hand, while the second one was due to the referee losing sight of the puck. The Bulls outshot the RoadRunners 13-9.
Topeka got rolling in the second period and had several Grade A scoring chances that were denied by goaltender Paul Berrafato. The Bulls took a 2-1 advantage on a goal by Cody Gylling from Mike Davis and Kyle Gattelaro at 7:17. Just over two minutes later, the RoadRunners tied the game on a face-off win inside Bulls territory. It was Topeka that controlled the shot department with a 16-11 advantage.
The Bulls came out flying in the first 35 seconds of the final period and were rewarded with their effort. Tyler Gernhofer fired a shot that beat goaltender Drew Vogler to make it 3-2. Brady Ferguson earned an assist on the play when he got the puck over to Gernhofer. Late in the stanza, the Bulls extended their lead by two when Matt Sieckhaus scored on the power play from Gernhofer and Cody Gyling.
“Our staff decided that during the second intermission to stay out of the locker room and let the boys work things out amongst themselves,” said Sutter. “It was the first time we did that this year and the players responded the way we wanted them to. They came out and decided as a group to compete and play Bulls hockey.
The RoadRunners pulled their goaltender in the final 90 seconds and scored to close the game to 4-3. But goaltender Paul Berrafato made a key glove save in the final seven seconds to preserve the win.
The Topeka RoadRunners outshot the Amarillo Bulls 34-32. Special teams were a big key for the Bulls as they managed one power play goal on six attempts. The penalty killing was up to form preventing Topeka from scoring on four opportunities.
A four game home stand continues for the Amarillo Bulls next Friday and Saturday when they host the Corpus Christi Ice Rays at 7pm. It’s Face Off To Cancer weekend and fans can get two Silver Level Tickets for $18 and two Red Level Tickets for $24. Tickets are also 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, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.