AMARILLO, TX – The Amarillo Bulls and the Texas Tornado gave the fans a sneak peak on Saturday night to their playoff series that will start next week.
That early glimpse was won by the Texas Tornado as they held on to beat the Amarillo Bulls 3-1 in the Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center. Those two teams start their Best-Of-Five playoff series next Thursday night in the Texas Panhandle.
The game featured terrific scoring chances, some spirited play by both teams and outstanding goaltending as Tornado goaltender Jimmy Kruger stopped 38 of 39 shots he faced. Goaltender Nikifor Szczerba kept his team in the game with some big stops in the final 30 minutes. The Bulls hit three goal posts and had one goal waived off in the third period that could have changed the momentum in the contest.
A third period goal by TJ Sarcona reduced the Texas lead to 3-1 when he pushed home a rebound from Cody Freeman and Dan McDougall at the 13:07 mark. The Bulls pulled their goaltender in the final stages of the game but couldn’t get the equalizer.
The game got off to a terrific start as the first 20 minutes featured plenty of action that is expected when the Tornado and Bulls go head-to-head. The Bulls missed two great opportunities as one shot went off the post and the other off the crossbar. Penalty killing was also solid in the first period as the Bulls killed off two Texas power plays. Texas took a 1-0 on a breakaway goal in the final minute of the period.
The Amarillo Bulls had control of the second period, but it would be two goals 24 seconds apart that would put them down 3-0. The first goal was a bad bounce off the boards that hit goaltender Nikifor Szczerba in the skate and crossed the goal line. The second goal was a quick pass over to the side of the net.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Texas Tornado 39-21, including 25-17 in the first 40 minutes. There were a total of five power plays, but neither team scored a goal.
The Best-of-Five playoff series between Amarillo and Texas begins on Thursday at 7 pm and continues with Game two on Friday at 7 pm. Tickets for those two games are available at all Panhandle Ticket Outlets, including United Supermarkets, Civic Center Box Office or online at www.amarillobulls.com. For further information or to purchase playoff tickets, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122 or visit 901 South Buchanan.