AMARILLO, TX – The Amarillo Bulls picked up where they left off prior to the Christmas Break.
A signature balanced-scoring attack, including three goals in the second period lifted the Bulls past the Odessa Jackalopes 5-1 on Friday night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. It was the Bulls 24th win of the season and it kept them alone in first place overall in the NAHL standings and first in the South Division.
TJ Sarcona, Garrett Peterson, Connor Frey, Ryan Stevens, and Mike Davis tallied for the Bulls in support of Paul Berrafato who faced just 16 shots to post his 17th win of the season.
“The guys played well and I was happy with their effort tonight,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams. “They bounced back after being off for 10 to 12 days and a lot of guys didn’t take their skates home.”
Williams said he was particularly happy with the play of defenseman Garrett Peterson.
“Garrett is a Division I recruit to Army and he chipped in a goal and two assists for us tonight,” Williams noted. “He played in a lot of key situations for us and did a nice job for us on defense.”
It was a sluggish opening 20 minutes for both teams. The layoff along, with travel issues for players returning due to a blizzard in the eastern part of the country, made it tough for players to get any type of strong skating legs. The Bulls still managed to dominate play but couldn’t score on goaltender Nick Deery. Amarillo outshot the Jackalopes 15-3.
The floodgates opened in the second period for the Bulls with three goals just over two minutes apart. Connor Frey netted his fourth from Tyler Rostenkowski and TJ Sarcona at 4:34. Just 36 seconds later, Garrett Peterson blasted a shot through from Gage Christianson and newcomer Travis Underwood. Michael Davis rounded out that scoring, tallying shorthanded, from Brady Ferguson and Tyler Gernhofer at 6:34. It was the Bulls seventh shorthanded goal of the year. The Bulls again were able to keep goaltender Deery busy with 21 shots, while Odessa managed just seven.
In the third period, the Bulls added to their lead when Ryan Stevens finished off a play in front of the net from TJ Sherman and Garrett Peterson after sustained pressure inside the Odessa zone. It was Stevens’ first goal in the North American Hockey League. The Jackalopes broke the shutout bid of Paul Berrafato with a goal three minutes later.
TJ Sarcona rounded out the scoring when he tipped home a shot from Ryan Cole at 13:30. John Rey earned an assist on the goal.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Odessa Jackalopes 57-16 including 42-13 over the final 40 minutes. There were eight total power plays in the game with neither team able to score.
Holiday hockey continues at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center tomorrow (Saturday) night when the Bulls close out a two game series with the Odessa Jackalopes. Face off is set for 7 pm. There will be several Budweiser giveaways throughout the game. Monday, is the second annual New Years’ Eve game as the Bulls host the Wichita Falls Wildcats at 7 pm. The game is sponsored by Amarillo Community Federal Credit Union and there will be cash giveaways throughout the night. There will be a post-game New Years’ Eve Party and extended Public Skate. The Bulls will wear special jerseys with a live auction to be held immediately after the game to benefit Amarillo Youth Hockey.
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 on Group Rates, Seven Game Flex Packs or Birthday Party Packages, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.