TOPEKA, KS – The Amarillo Bulls Captain made his eighth shot of the game count the most on Friday night at Kansas Expo Center Landon Arena.
John Rey scored the winning goal in the final 95 seconds of overtime to lift the Bulls past the Topeka RoadRunners 3-2. The victory was the Bulls 22nd of the season, and it kept them in first place in the South Division as well as first overall in the North American Hockey League.
“It was a good win tonight for us,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams. “We’re hurt bodies right now with Carter Penzien being injured. Chad Catt had a really good night for us in goal. Our guys worked hard. We were not trying to be cute or flashy and just tried to get pucks to the net. It took us a couple of more minutes, but we got the job done.”
The game was largely dominated by the Bulls who played a strong defensive game limiting the Topeka RoadRunners to just 11 shots for the first 52 minutes of the game. Goaltender Chad Catt won his first NAHL game, stopping 18 of 20 shots he faced.
The Amarillo Bulls got off to a good start in the first period, out-chancing the RoadRunners. Mike Davis gave the Bulls a 1-0 lead when he converted a 2-on-1 break from Omar Mullan at 13:04. Brady Ferguson earned an assist on the goal when he moved the puck through the neutral zone. Late in the first period, the RoadRunners pulled even when they scored on a power play. Amarillo outshot Topeka 7-6.
The Bulls special teams took over in the second period and made it 2-1. Mike Davis scored his second of the game on the power play from Omar Mullan at 6:10. It was Davis who pushed the puck across the goal line after a scramble in front of the net. The Bulls played tight defensively and limited the RoadRunners to just five second period shots.
In the third period, the Bulls continued to keep the RoadRunners bottled up until the final eight minutes when Topeka pulled even on a high shot. The Bulls were pressing down the stretch but couldn’t beat Spencer Veile.
Topeka took a penalty late in the third period and the power play carried over to the first part of the overtime. The Roadrunners nearly won the game in the extra session, but Chad Catt came up with some sensational saves to keep his team even. Late in overtime, Ryan Cole dug the puck from along the boards and put a centering pass on the stick of John Rey, who put it across the line to give Amarillo a well deserved win.
“What a great play by John Rey,” Williams said. “That’s why he is the Captain and our leader. John chips the puck up and a great route by Ryan Cole who spotted him open. John separates himself from the defender and back checker. He goes to the net and finishes off the play.”
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Topeka RoadRunners 29-20. There were a total of 9 power plays with each team getting one goal on the man advantage.
The Bulls and the RoadRunners will meet again tomorrow (Saturday) night at Kansas Expo Center Landon Arena. Fans can tune into the action live on ESPN1440, www.amarillobulls.com and on Pay-Per-View courtesy of Fast Hockey, beginning with The Bulls Warm Up Show and Denis J. Puska at 6:45 pm. The game follows at 7 pm.
Hockey is back at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center with three big games after Christmas. On Friday, Dec. 28 and Saturday, Dec. 29 the Bulls host the Odessa Jackalopes at 7 pm. On Monday, Dec. 31 the Bulls celebrate New Years’ Eve with a game against the Wichita Falls Wildcats also at 7 pm. Tickets are available at the Bulls Hockey Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets including United Supermarkets. For further information on Group Rates, Seven Game Flex Packs or Birthday Party Packages, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.