Amarillo, TX – The Amarillo Bulls inched a little closer to their third straight North American Hockey League South Division title on Saturday night.
Despite a 3-2 loss to the Wichita Falls Wildcats at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center in their final regular season home game, the Bulls added one extra point to lead by two over second place Topeka RoadRunners that lost in regulation to the Springfield Junior Blues.
That loss by the Bulls was the fourth in a shootout by the same 3-2 margin in the last eight games and second on home ice. Going into the third period the Bulls trailed 2-1 but tied the contest on a power play marker from Brett Szajner. Each team had numerous opportunities to score in third and in overtime but failed to get the decision on their side forcing the shootout.
Mitchell Vanderburgh had the other Bulls goal that was scored in the first period. The two teams combined for 78 shots on goal in the contest with David Zevnik outdueling Paul Berrafato.
Prior to the game fifteen Amarillo Bulls players who were playing in their final junior regular season home game were honored. Those players received a great ovation from the crowd.
Mitchell Vanderburgh gave the Bulls a 1-0 advantage midway through the opening period when he followed up a loose rebound and put it into the net. Adem Arifi and Cody Gylling earned assists on the play. After getting off to a slow start in the game, the Bulls picked up the pace and dominated the last nine minutes. The Bulls outshot the Wildcats 13-10.
It took a span of three minutes for the Wichita Falls Wildcats to tie and take the lead. The first goal was scored when a player was left uncovered at the side of the net, while the second marker was scored on a shot on a partial breakaway. The Wildcats dominated the last half of the period after the Bulls had controlled things early.
The Bulls went to work to with a power play to begin the third period and were rewarded for their hard work just 71 seconds into the stanza. Defenseman Brett Szajner scored on a play in front of the net from Brady Ferguson and Mike Davis. Goaltenders Paul Berrafato and David Zevnik traded saves to keep the game tied in regulation.
There was no scoring in overtime and in the shootout the Wildcats were able to score four times while the Bulls just twice.
The Wichita Falls Wildcats outshot the Amarillo Bulls 40-38. There were just five power plays with the Bulls landing the lone marker.
Following the game, Bulls’ fans participated in the ‘Jersey Off Their Back.’ Fans names were drawn and presented with a players’ jersey.
After that had concluded Bulls fans gathered in The Corral for the End Of Season Awards Ceremony.
Here is the complete list of winners:
- NAHL Top Prospects Plaques: Mike Davis, Brett Szajner, Kyle Gattelaro, Cody Gylling, Matt Sieckhaus and Tyler Gernhofer.
- Most Improved Player: Mitchell Vanderburgh
- Best Defensive Defenseman: Brett Szajner
- Best Offensive Defenseman: Joe Grabowski
- Humanitarian Award: Collin Delia
- Volunteer Of The Year: Eddie Francis
- Bulls’ Award: Dr. David Duncan
- Best Defensive Forward: Mitchell McPherson
- Best Forward: Brady Ferguson
- Corporate Partner of The Year: Plains Dairy
- Coaches Award: Matt Sieckhaus
- Most Valuable Player: Mike Davis
The Amarillo Bulls close out their regular season schedule next Friday and Saturday when they visit the Odessa Jackalopes at Ector County Coliseum. Fans can tune into the games live on CBS Sports Radio 1440, www.amarillobulls.com and watch on PPV courtesy of Fast Hockey, beginning with the Wayland Baptist University Warm Up Show at 6:55 pm. The Puck Drop to follow on both nights at 7:17 pm.