AMARILLO, TX – For the first time in team history, the Amarillo Bulls find themselves in a difficult spot in the post season.
Despite playing their hearts out, the Bulls surrendered two 3rd period goals and dropped a 3-1 decision to the Topeka RoadRunners on Saturday night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. For the first time the Bulls trail a playoff series 2-0. Game three of the Best-Of-Five South Division Final set for Thursday night at Kansas Expo Center Landon Arena.
Brendan Vetter tallied the lone Bulls goal, while goaltender Collin Delia, who was locked up in a terrific duel with PJ Bridges, stopped 33 of 36 shots he faced in the loss.
The Amarillo Bulls got the start they needed in the opening 20 minutes. Brendan Vetter scored 26 seconds into the contest when his power play blast from the point beat goaltender PJ Bridges. The RoadRunners were penalized for having too many men on the ice.
Mike Davis provided the screen in front, while Patrick Pollock and Roman Ammirato added helpers. Special teams took over the remainder of the period as the teams had to kill off five combined power plays. Goaltender Collin Delia preserved the Bulls lead with some big saves on three consecutive RoadRunners’ man advantage. Topeka outshot Amarillo 16-8.
Forwards Mitchell McPherson and Brad Ferguson had the Bulls best chances to extend the lead to 2-0 in the second period. McPherson’s break away attempt was stopped by a double pad-stack save by Bridges, while Ferguson’s chance just trickled wide.
Topeka had the lone 5-on-3 of the hockey game and it was the Bulls that kept the visitors from scoring. That, was until the RoadRunners scored on a one-man advantage, converting a rebound at the side of the net. The RoadRunners outshot the Bulls 13-10 in the second period.
It was a fast paced third period with very few whistles. Overtime was looming on the horizon, but the RoadRunners grabbed a 2-1 lead when they tipped home a shot in front of the net. Amarillo kept pressing in the second half of the period causing Topeka to turn the puck over inside its own zone. Forward Matt Sieckhaus played well and set up a few chances that just missed. The Bulls pulled their goaltender in the final minute play, and couldn’t score. Topeka collected the puck inside its blue line and scored into an empty net to round out the scoring.
Despite outshooting the RoadRunners 15-7 in the third period, the Amarillo Bulls were on the short end of the shots on goal 36-33.
There were 10 total power plays in the game with all of them taking place in the first 40 minutes. Amarillo was 1 for 4, while Topeka was 1 for 6.
The South Division Final resumes next Thursday with game three at Kansas Expo Center Landon Arena. Fans can tune into the game live on CBS Sports Radio 1440, www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV courtesy of Fast Hockey, beginning with Prelude To the Playoffs Presented By Wayland Baptist University at 6:45 pm. Denis J. Puska has all of the exciting hard hitting action at 7 pm. Should a four game be needed it would be played next Friday. A fifth and deciding game is set for the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center on Monday, Apr. 28 at 7 pm. Details on Game 5 will only be available once the Bulls know certain they will be a part of it.