AMARILLO, TX –The Amarillo Bulls clinched the South Division title on Friday night despite losing to the Texas Tornado 5-1 at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. The Bulls captured the South Division after the Topeka RoadRunners dropped a 3-2 overtime decision in St. Louis. That regular season division title is the first by an Amarillo hockey team, pro or junior, in more than 15 years.
The game didn’t go right from the outset for the Bulls who were out-worked by the Texas Tornado. The difference in the contest was three Tornado power play goals in the first eight minutes of the second period to break open a close 1-0 score.
“I don’t mind if we lose hockey games but the disappointment comes when we don’t execute and play our style of hockey. That’s what bothers me,” Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams said. “We didn’t have it right from the get-go. Our special teams were poor and hats off to them they were three for five. We had the best power play and penalty kill coming into the game and we didn’t play that way.
“It’s got to be a lesson learned. We need better effort and better execution. We had too many perimeter hockey players out there that didn’t want to go to the front of the net to score goals. We looked scared and timid at times. It was men versus boys for most of the game.”
It was tough opening to the game for the Amarillo Bulls as they surrendered the game’s first goal at the 1:17 mark.
However, the Bulls responded with a strong three quarters of the stanza and controlled the play with some terrific scoring chances, but were unable to find the back of the net. Amarillo outshot Texas 13-10.
The second period didn’t get much better for the Bulls as they surrendered four goals, including three via the power play. Two of the goals were scored less than a minute apart. The three goals chased goaltender Gregg Gruehl who was replaced by Mike Taffe. Texas added a goal in the final six minutes of the period.
The lone bright spot for the Bulls came in the third period when Michael Erickson broke the shutout bid by Hunter Leisner when he tapped home a puck at the side of the net. Mike Davis earned an assist on the goal.
The Bulls outshot the Texas Tornado 37-28 including 14-9 in the third period. There were 11 total power plays in the contest with the Tornado going 3 for 5, while the Bulls were 0 for 6.
These two teams will meet one final time during the regular season tomorrow (Saturday) night at 7 pm at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. The Bulls will look for a split of the weekend series. The game is sponsored by Street Toyota Scion and during an intermission one lucky fan will have an opportunity to shoot for a Scion TC.
Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk in the Amarillo Building, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets including United Supermarkets. For further information on Group Rates, Playoff Packages or Corporate Marketing Partnerships, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.