ODESSA, TX – The Amarillo Bulls are one win away from a return trip to the South Division Final.
John Gustafsson scored 2:59 seconds into overtime to lift the Amarillo Bulls past the Odessa Jackalopes 4-3 and a 2-1 lead in the Best-Of-Five semi-final. The Bulls can close out the series with a win on Tuesday night.
It was a highly emotional and exciting game as the two teams waged a war for 60 minutes plus. Amarillo rallied from two different deficits and sent the game into the overtime with a goal in the final 76 seconds of regulation. The Bulls had 65 shots on goal including 26 alone in the third period on Connor Hellebuyck who did everything in his power to keep his team in front.
In overtime the Bulls controlled the play inside Odessa territory. Off a face-off the Bulls grabbed the loose puck in front of the net and Gustafsson’s backhand shot went in.
“It was a good win, and our guys didn’t quit,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams after the game. “They had all odds against them, down 3-2 heading into the third period versus a hot goalie and getting lots of shots on net. They were a resilient group. We kept throwing pucks on net and staying with the game plan. They answered the bell, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
The Amarillo Bulls came out and played well early in the first period, but everything that was shot on goal was denied by Connor Hellebuyck. Odessa scored twice in a span of one minute. The first one was scored on a sharp angled shot on the short side, and the second one was on a two on one break. The Bulls outshot Odessa 13-11 in the first period.
The Bulls worked hard to tie the game 2-2 early in the second period. First, Luke Jenkins scored on the power play from John Rey and John Gustafsson at 1:08. Gustafsson scored at 3:56 from Rey and Geoff Fortman.
However, Odessa regained a 3-2 advantage three minutes after the Bulls tied the game. The Bulls had the play advantage and the shot lead at 21-6 for a two period total of 35-18.
It was an exciting third period and in several instances Odessa couldn’t get much going offensively and iced the puck numerous times.
In the final 90 seconds, the Bulls pulled their goaltender for the extra attacker and were rewarded for their hard work. Karl Beckman’s shot from the point was tipped home by Omar Mullan with 1:14 remaining to send the game into overtime. Brandon Lubin also had an assist on the goal.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Odessa Jackalopes 65-24. There were just four power plays in the contest with the Bulls going 1 for 3.
Fans are invited to tune into tomorrow (Tuesday) night’s game live on ESPN1440 and www.amarillobulls.com beginning with Prelude To The Playoffs Presented By Wayland Baptist University at 6:45 pm. Denis J. Puska has the exciting action at 7 pm. The game is also available on Pay Per View courtesy of Fast Hockey and a high speed internet connection is required.