AMARILLO, TX – There has been some wild games in the short two-year plus history of the rivalry between the Amarillo Bulls and the Topeka RoadRunners. Saturday’s game at the Budweiser Bull Pen in the Amarillo Civic Center will have to rank up there with some of the best.
The Bulls fired four goals to erase a 3-0 third-period deficit and defeated the RoadRunners 4-3. Gage Christianson netted the game-winning goal with just eight seconds remaining in regulation time after the Bulls tied the game just over a minute earlier.
“Our M.O. is that we never quit,” said an elated Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams after the game. “I told the guys going into the third period that I don’t care what the score is, I just want them to win the period. If it is 1-0 then we have accomplished what we wanted to do. The boys took the challenge and scored four.
“We’re a team that’s just not going to roll over. We could be down seven goals we are going to claw our way back into it. They responded to it like a good junior hockey team, and they ready to play anyone.”
The third period comeback started when TJ Sherman scored on a five-on-three power play with shot that eluded goaltender McKenzie Sawyer at 5:22. Omar Mullan and Hampus Gustafsson picked up assists on the goal. Nearly eight minute later, the power play struck again and this time it was Connor Frey who blasted one past the goaltender on the short side from John Rey and Gage Christianson at 13:18.
After that, the momentum was all Amarillo’s as Dennis Williams’ charges kept pushing with pressure. Geoff Fortman pulled the Bulls’ even with less than two minutes remaining when he scored off the face-off from TJ Sarcona and Gustafsson. The RoadRunners had iced the puck on the previous play and called a timeout to rest the players.
Fortman, who was just announced as the new Assistant Captain earlier in the week, helped get his team the lead when he led a big rush up the ice and threw the puck in front of the net. Christianson lifted the loose puck over top of the RoadRunners’ goaltender to send the crowd into a frenzy.
“I thought Topeka sat back in the third period and we were able to apply pressure and get pucks on net,” Williams added. “Our guys just believed in it. To cap off a weekend with three of four versus them and four of four against Texas, our guys are feeling pretty good right now.”
The Amarillo Bulls dominated the opening 20 minutes but were unrewarded for their efforts. The Bulls fired 19 shots on net but were denied by Topeka goaltender McKenzie Sawyer. The RoadRunners jumped out to a 1-0 lead when they scored on a rebound in front of the net. The Bulls outshot Topeka 19-8.
The second period didn’t go well for the Bulls as they surrendered two goals and were outshot 7-6. The first RoadRunners goal was scored just after a power play had ended, and the second was on an odd-man rush up the ice.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Topeka RoadRunners 34-19 including 9-4 in the third period. There were fifteen total power plays on the game with the Bulls going 2 for 6 and Topeka was 0 for 9.
It’s hard to believe but the Bulls and RoadRunners are just getting started with one another and have two more games, this time at Kansas Expo Center Landon Arena next Friday and Saturday. The face-off for both are set for 7 pm. Both can be heard live on ESPN1440 and www.amarillobulls.com beginning with Denis J. Puska and the Bulls Warm Up Show at 6:45 pm. The games are also available on PPV courtesy of Fast Hockey and a high speed internet connection is required.
The Amarillo Bulls don’t return to home ice until Saturday, Nov. 17 when they host the Odessa Jackalopes at 7 pm. Tickets for all home games are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket Outlets. For further information on Group Rates, Flex Packs or Birthday Party Packages, call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.