FRISCO, TX – The Amarillo Bulls got off to the start they were looking for at the Robertson Cup NAHL National Championship Tournament in Frisco Texas on Thursday night. But it wasn’t easy. Greg Gibson scored just over three minutes into overtime to lift the Bulls past the Texas Tornado 3-2 in overtime.
The Bulls, Port Huron Fighting Falcons and the St. Louis Bandits are all 1-0 after the first day. Amarillo returns to action with a rematch against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs tomorrow (Friday) afternoon at 3:30 pm. The Bulls and the Ice Dogs met in last year’s tournament in Topeka.
It was a typical South Division match-up between the Bulls and the Tornado with plenty of physical play and punishing hits. The goaltenders Gregg Gruehl of the Bulls and Hunter Leisner of Texas were solid in net, making some big saves to the keep the game close.
“It was a terrific game,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams. “I thought the intensity was great by both teams. It’s what you want this time of the year, overtime and a one goal game. Greg (Gibson) comes across the blue line and good things happen when you throw pucks at the net.
“Our boys have faced a lot of adversity this season and they continue to build off of it. I couldn’t be happier for them. It’s a great win.”
It was a tentative start to the game for the Amarillo Bulls and the Texas Tornado capitalized on a two-on-one break to take a 1-0 advantage. The Bulls had a couple of chances in close by Omar Mullan and TJ Sarcona, but were unable to beat Hunter Leisner. Amarillo outshot Texas 9-7 in the first 20 minutes.
In the second period the Bulls pulled even when Michael Davis converted a rebound in front of the net off a shot from Luke Jenkins. Despite improved play by Amarillo in the stanza, Hunter Leisner was able to stop the rest of the Bulls attempts. The Tornado took a 2-1 lead near the end of the period when they scored via a power play. The Bulls outshot Texas 10-9 in the second.
The Bulls tied the game up early in the third period when Karl Beckman’s one-timer on the power play beat the goaltender. The rest of the period featured plenty of spirited play with both teams not giving an inch. Amarillo had a power play in the final minute of regulation that carried over into overtime but couldn’t score.
In the extra session, Greg Gibson raced down the blue line and his shot hit a Texas defenseman’s stick and beat Leisner over the shoulder.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Texas Tornado 32-28. There were a total of 10 power plays in the contest with each team going 1 for 5.
Fans are invited to tune into Friday’s game live on ESPN1440 and www.amarillobulls.com, beginning with Prelude To the Robertson Cup Presented By Wayland Baptist University at 3:15 pm. Denis J. Puska provides the exciting play by play at 3:30 pm. The game is also available on Pay Per View courtesy of Fast Hockey and a high speed internet connection is required in order to view the game.