CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – The Amarillo Bulls won their 2nd straight North American Hockey League Overall Regular Season Championship here on Saturday night.
Dan McNamara and Hampus Gustafsson each had two-point nights to lift the Bulls past the Corpus Christi IceRays 4-2 at American Bank Center. It was also the Bulls 43rd win of the season and it puts them three shy of the same identical record they posted one year ago of 46-7-7.
Gustafsson, Carter Penzien, Tyler Gernhofer and Clint Carlisle picked up goals for the Bulls and goaltender Paul Berrafato posted his 31st win of the season. Berrafato made some big saves late in the third period to preserve the win.
It was an excellent start to the game for the Amarillo Bulls as they came out firing with 20 shots on goal and scored twice.
Tyler Gernhofer got the Bulls rolling when he scored off a face-off win from Matt Sieckhaus at 3;43. Nearly nine minutes later, the Bulls potted their second one and it was Hampus Gustafsson finishing off a play at the side of the net from Ryan Cole and Dan McNamara.
The IceRays spent most of the period inside their own end as only had less than a handful of chances on Paul Berrafato.
In the second period, the Bulls extended their advantage by three when Carter Penzien cashed in on a rebound in front of the net from Gustafsson and Dan McNamara. The momentum of the game clearly changed after that as the Bulls ran into penalty trouble and were penalty killing for four straight times. The IceRays scored on one of those opportunities to cut the Bulls lead to just two goals.
The third period saw the Bulls control the play and prevented the IceRays from getting any closer. Clint Carlisle scored Amarillo’s fourth goal from Mike Davis and Omar Mullan at 18:12. The IceRays rounded out the scoring with a goal 19 seconds later.
There were nine total power plays with the Bulls going 0 for 5 and the IceRays were 1 for 4.
The Bulls and the IceRays close out their two game set tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon at 3 pm at American Bank Center. Fans can tune into the action live on CBS Sports Radio 1440, www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV courtesy of Fast Hockey with the Bulls Warm Up Show at 2:45 with Denis J. Puska.
The North American Hockey League playoffs return to the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center on Friday, Apr. 5 and Saturday, Apr. 6 when the Bulls host the first two games of the South Division Semi-Final series. Game time for both is set for 7 pm. For further information on Playoff Packages, drop by the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Suite 101 in the Amarillo Building or call 806-242-1122.