AMARILLO, TX – Home ice has certainly been a benefit for the Amarillo Bulls program the past three seasons, and it has certainly been a huge advantage this year including Friday night.
Patrick Pollock and Tyler Gernhofer scored third period goals to power the Bulls past the Wichita Falls Wildcats 3-1 before more than 3,000 fans at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. It was the Bulls 38th win of the season and it kept their South Division lead to a single point over the Topeka RoadRunners to a single point.
Topeka needed a penalty shot goal in overtime to excuse their rival Springfield Junior Blues 3-2.
In the Texas Panhandle, Brady Ferguson scored for the Bulls in the opening period while his teammates built momentum off a great second period to get the offence rolling in the third.
Goaltender Collin Delia stopped 35 of 36 shots he faced for his 21st win of the season. After a slow start, Delia got stronger as the game went along.
“There’s nothing quite like home cooking and support of fans and family to rally around the guys and get the win,” said Bulls Assistant Coach Harry Mahood who made is return to the bench tonight. “You could really tell the energy level and confidence was starting to rise in the second period. We were a different hockey game the second half of the game.”
The Amarillo Bulls began their final two home games of the regular season by getting on the scoreboard early. Brady Ferguson scored on a partial breakaway with a shot along the ice at the 3:31 mark from Carter Penzien and Brendan McGuire. Just over a minute later, the Wildcats pulled even, on a wrap around on the far side of the net.
It was a pretty closely played first period with the Wildcats owning the shot lead 13-10. The Bulls missed on a golden opportunity when Brendan McGuire was stopped on a 2 on 1 by goaltender David Zevnik.
There was no scoring in the second as both teams worked hard and had their scoring chances turned aside by the respective goaltenders. The Bulls were outshot by the Wildcats 10-8, but many of their attempts were in the final five minutes of the stanza.
It was a great start to the final 20 minutes by the Bulls and they were rewarded for their hard work by taking the lead. Patrick Pollock fired a shot past Zevnik to make it 2-1. Roman Ammirato and Eric Purcell earned assists on the play that was started from a great win by the Bulls off the face-off.
Five minutes later, forward Purcell outhustled the Wildcat player to the puck and he got it over to Tyler Gernhofer who’s shot went under the cross bar and into the net.
Down the stretch, the Bulls defense and goaltender Delia took over preventing Wichita Falls from coming back.
The Wichita Falls Wildcats outshot the Amarillo Bulls 36-30, including 13-10 in the third period. Special teams didn’t have much work to do in the game as there were just three combined power plays with the Bulls going 0 for 1 and the Wildcats were 0 for 2.
There is one final regular season home game for the Amarillo Bulls and it takes place tomorrow (Saturday) night versus the Wichita Falls Wildcats at 7 pm. It’s Teacher Appreciation Night Presented by Education Credit Union and all Teachers can get a free ticket when showing an ID. It’s also Jerseys Off Our Back night with lucky fans going home with a Bulls game worn jersey. After the game fans are encouraged to stay and watch the awards ceremony in The Corral.
Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets including United Supermarkets or online at www.panhandletickets.com. For further information on Group Rates, 2014 Playoff Packages, or 5th anniversary Season Tickets, please call the Bulls Office at 242-1122.