FRISCO, TX – The Amarillo Bulls won their third straight opening game at the Robertson Cup NAHL National Championship Tournament. For the second straight year they needed overtime to decide the outcome.
Matt Sieckhaus scored 3:12 into the extra session to lift the Amarillo Bulls past the Jamestown Ironmen 2-1 at Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco TX, in front of a large crowd of Bulls’ fans that have converged on the tourney.
The Bulls will play their second game of the championship tomorrow (Friday) night against the other unbeaten team the Bismarck Bobcats at 7:30 pm.
“On this stage, you get a win any way you can get it,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams. “Jamestown worked hard and is a very good team. They did a great job of taking away the Grade A areas on the ice. Their penalty killing hadn’t allowed one in the post season until we got that timely one with Hampus Gustafsson and Omar Mullan working it down low and getting it to Mike Davis.
“I thought in the first two minutes of overtime Jamestown dictated the play and took it to us. We just had a really nice play by offensively with Matt Sieckhaus, Dan McNamara and TJ Sarcona. We got the traffic and the rebounds and that is how you have to score.”
Williams said it feels good to be 1-0 but tomorrow we have Bismarck who is 1-0 and a very good opponent.
It was a tight defensive battle between the two teams, especially in the opening period. Both teams had also been off for eight days and entered play riding six game winning streaks. The Bulls had the majority of the play but were unrewarded for their efforts. Jamestown scored the game’s first goal when they converted on a scramble in front of the net. The Bulls were also busy in the first 20 minutes with penalty killing as they had to kill off three straight. There were a total of nine shots in the first period with the Bulls outshooting the Ironmen 6-3.
The second period was scoreless with both teams having excellent opportunities to score. Both goaltenders Paul Berrafato and Joe Ballmer made some key games to keep their respective opponents off the score sheet. Jamestown outshot Amarillo 7-6.
The power play ignited the Bulls and pulled them even. Mike Davis shot a one-timer from Hampus Gustafsson at the 7:01 mark. Omar Mullan also earned an assist on the play. It was the first power play goal allowed by Jamestown in the post season. Down the stretch, the Ironmen applied pressure inside Bulls territory but couldn’t score. The Bulls outshot Jamestown 7-6.
In overtime it was Jamestown with the early pressure, but the Bulls broke out and able to keep the puck along the boards. Dan McNamara, TJ Sarcona and Matt Sieckhaus worked the puck to the top of the point for Geoff Fortman. Sieckhaus was able to grab the loose rebound and put it behind Ballmer, and the celebration began.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Jamestown Ironmen 20-18. There were seven power plays with the Bulls going 1 for 3 and the Ironmen were 1 for 4.
The Robertson Cup Tournament rolls on tomorrow (Saturday) night when the Bulls face the Bismarck Bobcats at 7:30 pm. Fans can tune into the action live on CBS Sports Radio 1440, www.amarillobulls.com beginning with Prelude To the Robertson Cup at 7:10 pm. The face-off follows at 7:30 pm. The game can also be seen on PPV courtesy of Fast Hockey and a high speed internet connection is required in order to view the game.