AMARILLO, TX — It was certainly a great month of September to remember for the Amarillo Bulls thanks in part to a six game winning streak and the club is sitting tied for first place not only in the South Division but the overall NAHL standings.
Jason Brancheau and Brenden Datema were rewarded for their hard work during the month by being chosen as players of the month.
It was a big month for Ferris State recruit and Amarillo Bulls forward Jason Brancheau. The 19-year-old from River Rouge, Michigan, led the NAHL in scoring during the month of September with 13 points (4 goals, 9 assists) in 7 games played as the Bulls moved to the top of the NAHL and South Division standings with a 6-1-0 record.
Brancheau (5’9/177) had four multi-point games and was a +9 during the month.
“Jason’s talent was evident from day one last season. His skating and puck skill are elite, which is why he received his NCAA commitment to Ferris State so early. Jason’s compete level and ability to play with high intensity on a consistent basis is what has taken his game to the next level. The way he thinks the game and sees the ice, allows him to make good decisions with the puck and at times slow the game down. He finished the last games of the 2017-18 season playing on a line with Alex Peterson and Brett Abdelnour, allowing them to create some chemistry, which has led to their hot start this season season. Jason has also come back to Amarillo more prepared to be a leader and a mentor for some of our first year players. He takes that responsibility seriously and has done a great job of it to this point,” said Amarillo head coach Rocky Russo.
“We have bought in to what Coach Russo has been preaching from the very start of training camp and that has paid off in a good start for us. I think going through what we did last season really helped us grow and prepare for this season,” said Brancheau. “I want to continue to try and become a better player and work harder and harder each day. It is a goal of mine to be one of the top forwards in the NAHL. I think the sky is the limit for us and we have a team that contend for the Robertson Cup.”
Like his teammate Jason Brancheau, Amarillo Bulls defenseman Brenden Datema, 19, was a main reason behind the Bulls success in September. The 6’5/220 lbs. native of Sterling Heights, Michigan, led all NAHL defensemen in points during the month with 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists) in 7 games played. His six goals are actually tied for the current NAHL lead. Datema, who is in his second NAHL season, had four multi-point games during the month as well. He has already surpassed last season’s point total of nine.
“We are very proud of Brenden for the way he has started the season. He took his summer very seriously, adding muscle and improving his game in a number of ways. He returned to Amarillo prepared to be a leader and play in all situations and his results are currently reflecting that effort. Brenden is a very good skater with good offensive instincts and an NHL quality shot. He has been a calming presence in our defensive zone and his stick and physical play have helped us to succeed on the penalty kill. We look forward to watching Brenden continue to grow and develop this season and in the future,” said Bulls head coach Rocky Russo.
“I think our returning players have been key to the good start. We have bought into 100% of Coach Russo’s systems and coaching and things have paid off thus far. I worked really hard this summer to become a better player and athlete,” said Datema. “I really want to help us make the Robertson Cup. The South Division is tough, but I know we have a group that can do it. Beyond that, I would really like to play NCAA Division I hockey.”
The Amarillo Bulls return to action with a single game this Saturday night hosting the Lone Star Brahmas at 7 pm. It’s the second meeting of the season of the annual Battle Of The Cattle Series.
Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket locations including United Supermarkets or by calling 806-242-1122.
The same night Amarillo Youth Hockey is hosting it’s annual Dueling Pianos Fundraiser in the South Exhibit Hall of the Amarillo Civic Center beginning at approximately 9:30 pm. Tickets are available by visiting www.amarillohockey.com/duelingpianos