CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – When the games were on the line, the leadership rose to the challenge and helped the Amarillo Bulls collect four points against the Corpus Christi IceRays over the weekend.
Whether it was a big hit, a fight, a key save, or a timely goal, the Bulls leaders came up big and kept their squad alone in first in the South Division and in the entire North American Hockey League.
Forward Tyler Gernhofer scored four goals and added two assists for six points, including a hattrick on Sunday afternoon. Mike Davis posted two goals and two assists, while defenseman Joe Grabowski pitched in a goal and three assists. Goaltender Paul Berrafato won both of the contests, but had his shutout string of more than 200 minutes broken early in the second period. Other returning players such as Brady Ferguson and Connor Frey also had big weekends.
“I’ve been here for three years and I have learned how to play Bulls hockey,” said Davis. “I am trying to teach the younger guys so when I leave they know how to take over the leadership role.”
Gernhofer, who is tied with teammate Matt Sieckhaus for the NAHL scoring lead, said he is doing what he does best and that’s shoot the puck.
“I am not doing anything different just putting pucks on net which is my strength,” he said. “I’ve gotten a couple of fortunate bounces and a couple of good passes from some of the playmakers on the ice. I just have to keep shooting the puck on a consistent basis.”
On Friday night, the Bulls leadership seized the moment, rallying the troops from a 3-1 deficit to beat Corpus Christi 5-3 in front of more than 6,300 fans at American Bank Center.
“We didn’t play well in the first two periods on Friday,” said Gernhofer. “Mike Davis got us going with that fight (in the second period) and we picked it up from there.”
“We all got a little wound up after falling behind,” Grabowski added. “I think we settled down, got into our groove and started playing Bulls hockey.”
That victory was the first of the season by the Bulls when they didn’t score the game’s first goal.
The Bulls have put together a six-game winning streak that started against the Topeka RoadRunners on home ice, and has continued on the two week six game road trip.
One of the areas that have been productive in this recent streak has been special teams. The power play has scored 8 goals in 23 attempts. Grabowski has four power play points in the last six games.
”Our power play is working very well with everyone moving the puck around,” he said. “The other guys on my unit have done a great job like (Brett) Szajner and (Connor) Frey. We are getting lots of shots on net, and players in front.”
The Ranch Rodeo Road Trip is two-thirds complete after four games in six nights. The Bulls have netted at least four goals in each of the contests.
After a week of practice in Corpus Christi, the Amarillo Bulls will head to Hidalgo to begin a big stretch of games against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. The first two are this Friday and Saturday at State Farm Arena at 7 pm. The two teams will meet again the following weekend, Friday, Nov. 22 and Saturday, Nov. 23, at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center.
Tune into both games in Rio Grande Valley live on CBS Sports Radio 1440, www.amarillobulls.com, and on PPV courtesy of Fast Hockey beginning with the Wayland Baptist University Warm Up Show at 6:45 pm on Friday and Saturday night.
Fans are encouraged to get their tickets when the Bulls return to home ice on Friday, Nov. 22 and Saturday, Nov. 23 at 7 pm. The Bulls will honor the Military on the Friday, while the High Plains Food Bank will be supported by fans on Saturday.
Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, 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.