AMARILLO, TX – The first meeting of the season between the Amarillo Bulls and the Topeka RoadRunners lived up to its hype on Friday night.
The two teams, who arguably have the best rivalry in the North American Hockey League, fought tooth and nail over 60 minutes of hockey. In the end, the Amarillo Bulls fired two power play goals to post their first home win of the season, a 5-3 decision over the RoadRunners.
The game featured plenty of great hits, some rough and tumble hockey after the whistle and terrific action at both ends of the rink.
It was the Bulls seventh win of the season and it extended their first place lead in the South Division to two points as the Texas Tornado, who were tied for second, lost in overtime to the Wichita Falls Wildcats. The Bulls will face the Wildcats tomorrow (Saturday) night to close out a two game home stand.
It was a quick start to the first period for the Bulls as Matt Johnson scored just 18 seconds into the game on a great pass from forward Tyler Deresky. Greg Gibson added an assist on the goal.
The Bulls kept pushing and extended the advantage to 2-0 when Brooks Behling’s shot found the back of the net from Omar Mullan. That goal chased starter Josh Hillegas who was replaced by Jeff Traber. The RoadRunners scored in the final two minutes of the first period to cut the deficit to 2-1. The first period featured plenty of rough and tough play and several skirmishes.
The second period was dominated by special teams and the Bulls extended their advantage to two when Luke Jenkins scored on the power play from Brooks Behling and Joe Kozlak at 5:17. The RoadRunners battled back and cut the deficit to 3-2 on their own power play marker.
The Bulls punctuated the third period by scoring their second consecutive goal on the man advantage when Brooks Behling scored on a backhand shot from Joe Kozlak and John Gustafsson. Topeka pulled to within a goal for the third time in the game by tallying five minutes later. The Bulls rounded out the scoring with an empty-net goal by Matt Johnson, who hustled down the ice to push the puck across the goal line.
Greg Gruehl was solid in net for the Bulls turning aside 38 of 41 shots he faced. The Bulls were 2 for 4 on the power play, while Topeka finished 1 for 6.
The Amarillo Bulls and the Wichita Falls Wildcats will meet for the first time on Saturday night at 7 pm. It’s Game Truck night and the first 200 fans to Customer Service receive a Bulls/Game Truck Stress Puck.
Tickets for the game are available at the Bulls Hockey Office located at 301 South Polk, Suite 101, in the Amarillo Building, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets. For further information on group rates, the Budweiser Party Zone, Season Tickets for Flex Packs, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122 or visit www.amarillobulls.com.