RIO RANCHO, NMX – Another dominating third period propelled the Amarillo Bulls to their 23rd win of the season on Saturday night.
Four third period goals, including two 2:59 apart sparked the Bulls past the New Mexico Mustangs 5-1 at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, NMX. The victory kept the Bulls eight points ahead of the Texas Tornado in the South Division. Texas beat Corpus Christi earlier in the evening.
The game was tied 1-1 to begin the final 20 minutes and it would be TJ Sarcona that got the Bulls rolling by scoring 10 seconds into the frame. A shot was fired off the glass and came right in front of the net to Sarcona who pushed it past goaltender Jake Stafford. John Rey notched an assist on the goal. Amarillo extended the lead to two goals when Luke Jenkins scored on a high shot on the power play from Greg Gibson. Alex Carey made it a three goal advantage when he converted a great play by Darren McCormick. Mike Erickson scored into an empty net to round out the scoring. Jude Warner and Joe Kozlak added helpers.
The line of Darren McCormick, Alex Carey and Ryan Taylor was solid tonight for the Bulls with two goals and three assists.
“It was just hard work and that is what you get out of those guys,” said Bulls Assistant Coach Rocky Russo. “Darren McCormick is really starting to come around. He scored a goal in Fresno last weekend and got another tonight. When you put Alex (Carey) and Ryan (Taylor) together, it’s like two bowling balls out there.”
The New Mexico Mustangs took the play to the Bulls in the opening 20 minutes and scored the game’s first goal in a scramble in front of the net. Joe Kozlak had the Bulls best scoring chance when he tipped a puck just wide of the net. New Mexico outshot Amarillo 10-8 in the opening stanza.
The second period was one of the Bulls best stanza’s of the weekend. It was started off with a fight involving Matt Johnson and Zach O’Mara and towards the end finished off with a nice goal by Darren McCormick. Alex Carey and Ryan Taylor picked up the assists at 16:53. The Bulls out-hustled and outshot the Mustangs 15-6.
Amarillo had a 37-24 shot advantage, and the Bulls had the lone power play goal on a combined nine chances with the Mustangs.
The Bulls concluded a tough part of their schedule that saw them play 12 out of 13 away from the Budweiser Bull Pen. In that stretch, Amarillo posted a mark of 9-2-2.
“I think the young men handled that stretch great,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams. “There have been no excuses and we take full responsibility for our play. We don’t use the travel as a crutch per say and still have to lace them up and go out and play. They haven’t complained, and it hasn’t been easy.”
Hockey is back at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center on Friday, Dec. 16 when the Bulls entertain the Odessa Jackalopes at 7 pm. The night is sponsored by The Peoples Federal Credit Union and it’s also the 2nd annual Teddy Bear Toss. Fans are encouraged to bring a new or gently used Teddy Bear or stuffed animal to the game and when the Bulls score their first goal, throw the Toys onto the ice in support of the Toys For Tots Program. Stuffed animals will be available for purchase at the game. Fans can register to win money from TPFCU, as well as a cooler and water for a year courtesy of Aquaone. Pet Savers will also be in attendance to talk about their work in the Texas Panhandle. There will be free massages from ACE school of Massage and Santa Claus will make an appearance.
Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Suite 101, in the Amarillo Building, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets including United Supermarkets. For further information on Group Rates, or Seven-Game Flex Packs, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.