TOPEKA, KS – The final score of 3-2 has not been kind recently to the Amarillo Bulls.
For the third time in the last five games the Amarillo Bulls found themselves on the short end of that decision, this time 3-2 in overtime to the Topeka RoadRunners on Monday night at Kansas Expo Center Landon Arena. Despite collecting a single point, Amarillo saw its South Division lead shrink to three points.
The Bulls trailed 2-1 in the final minute and were rewarded a power play and took full advantage of it. With the goaltender pulled for the extra attacker, Tyler Gernhofer converted a great pass from Matt Sieckhaus to tie the game.
Bulls Assistant Coach Austin Sutter said face-offs is an area the team has been improving on in recent games.
“That tying goal was set up by a great face-off win by our guys,” said Assistant Coach Austin Sutter. “Face-offs require a team effort on the ice and it’s not just one person.”
Sieckhaus who had a solid game for the Bulls scored the Bulls only other marker that came in the second period.
The Bulls were without Head Coach Dennis Williams who served his one game suspension that was handed out by the North American Hockey League. Assistant Coach Austin Sutter was joined on the bench by NA3HL North Iowa Bulls Head Coach Todd Sanden and Assistant Mark Hicks.
“We didn’t play well enough to win but we also didn’t deserve to lose the game,” said Bulls Assistant Coach Austin Sutter. “We took some undisciplined penalties that hurt us.”
Special teams dominated the contest as there were 15 combined power plays, including several in the opening 20 minutes.
“Tomorrow is a fresh day and a huge opportunity for us with two huge points available,” said Sutter. “I know we will come out and give it our best effort.”
It was a first period dominated by special teams as there were seven combined power plays. No team could get a real flow to the game when they were five on five. The RoadRunners netted the first goal shorthanded when they finished off a 2-on-1. The Bulls had some great chances on their power play, including a big shot from Joe Grabowski that was turned aside by PJ Bridges. The Bulls outshot the RoadRunners 9-6.
The Bulls tied the game early in the second period when Matt Sieckhaus converted a 2-on-1 pass from Brendan McGuire and Mitchell McPherson. Less than two minutes, later the RoadRunners notched their second shorthanded goal of the game when they scored on a breakaway. The Bulls kept pressing in the stanza as Mike Davis’ one timer was denied by Bridges. The shots were even in the second period 8-8.
It was a tight defensive third period with the Bulls having a hard time generating any offensive opportunities. The RoadRunners were assessed their second too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty of the game with 48 seconds remaining in regulation. The Bulls were able to capitalize by scoring with 43 seconds on a shot by Tyler Gernhofer.
The dying seconds of the game proved to be unkind for the Bulls as they were penalized creating another power play. The RoadRunners had a 4-on-3 to start overtime and scored on a rebound at the side of the net.
The Topeka RoadRunners outshot the Amarillo Bulls 25-22, including 11-5 over the last 20 plus minutes.
There is one more meeting in the season series between the Amarillo Bulls and the Topeka RoadRunners and it takes place tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 7 pm at Kansas Expo Center Landon Arena. Fans can tune into the game 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 6:15 pm. Denis J. Puska as the call with the puck drop set for 6:30 pm.
Hockey returns to the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center this Friday and Saturday when the Bulls host the Wichita Falls Wildcats at 7 pm. Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets. For further information on Group Rates, 2014 Playoff Tickets or 5th Anniversary Season Tickets, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.