FRISCO, TX – The Amarillo Bulls hit the North American Hockey League record books on Saturday night at Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco, TX.
A 5-3 triumph over the Texas Tornado lifted the Bulls to their second straight 99 point season and the exact same record of 46-7-7 as they had in 2011-2012. It’s a mark that no NAHL team has been able to hit until now until the Bulls were able to do it twice.
Clint Carlisle and TJ Sarcona each scored twice for the Bulls, while Dan McNamara added a single. Collin Delia notched the win in goal and made some big saves in the second period to keep his team in front.
“We have a really great group of players, I am very lucky and fortunate,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams. “The players worked hard tonight, the Captain did an excellent job between the second and third period preparing them.
“With the amount of turnover we had from last year, the mix of new guys we brought in and the acquisitions we made throughout the year, the guys were gelling and playing well.”
Williams said the last few games of the regular season are tough on players and the best they can do as coaches is to keep them motivated and healthy.
“We wanted to have a lot of momentum going into the playoffs when we play Corpus Christi,” he said. “The big part of the season starts now. This is where it all counts. The first 60 games is the opportunity for them to play. Now in the playoffs, it is time for us coaches to get our game hats on and make sure they are prepared, well motivated and the details are taking care of.”
It wasn’t a great start to the game for the Amarillo Bulls as the Texas Tornado jumped on the visitors. On their third power play the Tornado struck first and grabbed a 1-0 advantage. The Bulls penalty killing tied the game when Clint Carlisle finished off a 2 on 1 from Brady Ferguson. It was the Bulls 13th shorthanded goal of the season.
The Bulls added to their lead 2:50 later when Dan McNamara roofed one past Hunter Leisner. Referee Sean MacFarlane first didn’t signal a goal and allowed play to continue. But after an icing call and a conference with the goal judge and the linesman, the Bulls were awarded the goal.
Amarillo and Texas traded four goals in the second period. It started quickly in the first minute as TJ Sarcona notched his first of the stanza to give his side a two goal lead when he finished off a play from Tyler Gernhofer and Mike Davis. After the Tornado tied the game three minutes later, there wasn’t another flurry of scoring until nearly 10 minutes later. Sarcona restored the two-goal margin when he fired a shot to the far post from Mike Davis at 14:48. It was Sarcona’s second of the game. Two minutes later, the Tornado added their third goal and second via the power play. The Bulls outshot the Tornado 10-8 in the second period.
The third period was controlled by the Bulls limiting Texas to just two shots on goal. Clint Carlisle would score his second of the game and a key insurance goal. Connor Frey and Tyler Rostenkowski earned assists on the play. Carlisle took the puck just over the blueline and beat the goaltender cleanly with a great shot.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Texas Tornado 28-19. There were eight total power plays with Texas going 2 for 5 and the Bulls were 0 for 3.
The North American Hockey League playoffs are back at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center next weekend. The Amarillo Bulls host the Corpus Christi IceRays in the first two games of the South Division Semi-Final Series on Friday and Saturday night at 7 pm. 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, or 2013-14 Season Tickets, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.