The Texas Tornado built on the momentum from Drew Mayer’s overtime winner Friday night and the buzz created by the crowd on 2763, to control the game from the opening puck on Saturday. It was clear from the beginning that Amarillo Bull’sgame plan was to play a physical game and take the Tornado out of their game. Unfortunately for the Bulls the Tornado were every bit as physical as the Bulls and used the openings generated by Amarillo’s aggressive play to build a three goal lead that they could set on in the third.
Special teams were a big part of the game as was predicted in the preview for this series. Texas’s first goal came on the man advantage at 10:25 of the first. Michael Hoy carried the puck down the middle into the zone and saucered a pass to Scott Conway cutting from the halfwall. Conway kicked the bouncing puck to his stick and sent a shot on goal. Chad Catt made the initial save, but Justin Greenberg was able to jump on the rebound and put it over the right pad. With time winding down in the period the physical play resulted in gloves being dropped in front of the Bull’s net. Geoff Fortman landed an overhand right on Jason Eddy early then the two locked up. Eddy used his size and strength to get Fortman bent over and fed him four bruising uppercuts before both threw big rights that missed and they went to the ice.
The Tornado’s NAHL leading home powerplay struck again just 2:03 into the second period as CJ Reuschlein skated the puck into the zone and dropped it at the top of the left wing circle for Jackson Leef. Catt threw out the left pad to kick Leef’s slapper to the near corner, but Brandon Hawkins was all alone on the back door to deposit the rebound before Catt could go post to post. Greenberg logged his second goal of the night at 11:02 on a scamper into the near corner. Greenberg slammed on the brakes, let the defenseman clear then sent a sharp angle shot that went off Catt’s left pad and in putting Texas up by three and cutting Catt’s night short. Mayer and Conway picked up the assists on the Greenberg goal.
Amarillo’s only goal of the night came when Mike Davis got behind the defense and took a pass off the far wall from Tyler Gernhofer. Davis went barreling in on Hunter Leisner who went for the poke check but missed leaving the net open for Davis to flip the puck in. Time of the goal was 15:43.
The Tornado had two chances late in the third with the empty net but both Mayer and Greenberg sent contested shots off the posts.
On the night, the Tornado outshot the Bulls 40 – 23 and converted 2 of 5 powerplay opportunities while stymieing the Bulls on all five of their chances.
Conway’s two assists along with his goal and assist from Friday night gave him four points on the weekend to lead the offense. Leisner stopped 52 of the 55 shots the Bulls threw at him in the two games and earned pushed his league leading win total to 22.
With the winTexas ran their winning streak to four and nine of the last ten. They also picked up three points on Amarillo in the standings, cutting the Bulls lead in the division to three points. However, the Bulls have three games in hand.
Elsewhere around the division, the Wichita Falls Wildcats used a hat trick from Conor O’Neil to down the visiting Topeka Roadrunners 5 – 2. The loss dropped the Roadrunners to six points behind the Tornado in third place. As with last night, Corpus Christi jumped out to an early lead behind Beau Walker’s five point night and held on to defeat the determined Odessa Jackalopes who scored two third period goals but came up one short losing 5 – 4. The loss ran Odessa’s losing streak to six.