AMARILLO, TX – Two goals in the first 3:15 of the third period powered the Amarillo Bulls to their 28th win of the season, dumping the Corpus Christi IceRays 5-2 on Friday night at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center.
The victory by the Bulls allowed them to maintain a two point lead over the Texas Tornado for first in the South Division. Amarillo also moved into sole possession of first place in the overall standings after the Austin Bruins were beaten by the Coulee Region Chill.
TJ Sarcona led the Bulls attack with two goals, while Matt Sieckhaus, Clint Carlisle and Gage Christianson earned singles. It was Christianson and Sarcona, with his second of the game, who scored the two goals to break open a 2-2 tie. Carlisle played his first game back in the Bulls’ line-up since being injured back in October. Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams said it was great to see Carlisle back in the line-up.
“He brought an instant spark that was missing the last two and half months, and a veteran leader that we definitely needed out there,” said Williams. “We used Clint on the penalty kill and power play and he also scored a nice goal in the third period.”
Special teams dominated the opening 20 minutes. The Corpus Christi IceRays opened the scoring on a 5-on-3 power play goal. The Bulls responded nearly three minutes later when Matt Sieckhaus scored off a rebound in front of the net from Tyler Gernhofer. After the IceRays tallied their second 5- on-3 power play goal, the Bulls tied it again. Amarillo got into the power play swing when TJ Sarcona scored from John Rey and Geoff Fortman at 16:19. The Bulls outshot the IceRays 12-10 with most of those shots coming via the power play.
Despite the Bulls dominating in the second period they couldn’t manage a goal on goaltender Hayden Stewart. Amarillo outshot Corpus Christi 18-14 and had more than a dozen quality scoring chances.
“Our guys battled and we just didn’t score in that second period,” Williams explained. “We out-graded them 13-1 by our count and we just have to do a better job in front of the net and be more tenacious to score goals.”
Forward Gage Christianson gave the Bulls a 3-2 advantage just 35 seconds into the final period when his wrap around went off of an IceRays’ player and in behind Stewart. TJ Sarcona and Ryan Cole earned assists on the play. Less than three minutes later, Sarcona added to the lead when his shot found the back of the net from Tyler Deresky and Ryan Cole.
Clint Carlisle punctuated his return to the line-up by scoring the Bulls’ fifth goal as he drilled a shot in the top shelf. Matt Sieckhaus and Tyler Rostenkowski added assists on the play.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Corpus Christi IceRays 46-21 in the game, including 16-7 in the third period. There were 14 total power plays with the Bulls going 1 for 9 and the IceRays were just 2 for five.
A four game home stand closes out for the Amarillo Bulls tomorrow (Saturday) night when they host the Corpus Christi IceRays at 7 pm. Fans can pick up free child’s tickets when they purchase a regular priced ticket. For further information call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122 or drop by 301 South Polk in the Amarillo Building or drop by the Civic Center Box Office.