The Texas Tornado opened a weekend set with the Amarillo Bulls knowing they needed to pick up points in the NAHL South Division standings. In the first period things got off on the wrong foot as Amarillo jumped out on top at 7:30. Joe Grebowski took a pass from John Rey and fired a shot from the far point that Matt Sieckhaus redirected in front for the score.
The goal seemed to wake up the Tornado offense as they reeled off the next five shots on goal. Then Mitchell McPherson pulled the puck out of a pile behind the Bulls net and sent it along the boards to Brandon Hawkins behind the goal line to Paul Berrafato’s left. Hawkins found Scott Conway out front and he fired a shot on goal which Berrafato knocked aside. Conway followed his own shot, grabbed the loose puck and sent the rebound over Berrafato’s right shoulder. Time of the goal was 9:40.
It took the Bulls only 43 seconds to respond and retake the lead. T.J. Sherman controlled a puck in front of the Amarillo goal and gave it to Garret Peterson. Peterson found Mike Davis streaking down the far side and he skated the puck to the top of the far circle then ripped a wrister on goal. Hunter Leisner saw the puck all the way, but it sailed past his glove hand for the goal.
With just under five minutes to go Berrafato froze the puck and Rey started pushing and shoving after the whistle as he had done several times already in the game. This time Drew Mayer was all too happy to accommodate Rey and landed two quick rights sending Rey to the ice. T.J. Sarcona jumped on Mayer’s back taking him to the ice on top of Rey. Once order was restored, referee Joshua Greco tagged Mayer with a double minor for roughing while both Rey and Sarcona skated away scot free.
In the second period Michael Hoy got things going at 6:12 when he found Conway at the left point. Conway sent a blast on goal that Berrafato got a pad on, but McPherson was on the doorstep to slam home the puck.
The teams skated to an even third period despite Amarillo ringing two off the post in addition to a huge save by Leisner, mano y mano on a Ryan Cole breakaway. Cole brought the puck in and put a move on, but Leisner stood his ground then flashed out the blocker to put the puck over the net sending the game to overtime tied at two.
At 3:50 of the extra period, Mayer showed the determination that led to his selection as the Combat Hockey – South Division Star of the Week. Mayer stripped Rey of the puck at the near halfwall and headed for the front. The Tornado forward was hauled down by Rey yet still managed to fling the puck on net. Berrafato made the save and as he dove to cover the puck Mayer who had scrambled back to his skates flipped the puck over the sprawled Bulls’ netminder.
It was the first loss of the season for Amarillo after scoring first. The Texas Tornado outshot the Bulls 35 – 32 in the game and neither team scored on the powerplay with Amarillo going 0 – 4 and Texas 0 – 2.
The overtime win pulled the Tornado to five points behind the Bulls who still lead the division. Elsewhere around the division Topeka used 3 second period goals to down the Wichita Falls Wildcats 3 – 2. In Corpus Christi the Icerays jumped out to an early lead then held off Odessa down the stretch for a 6 – 4 win.