David Dudich - Texas Tornado Booster Club: Texas Tornado players Justin Greenberg, CJ Reuschlein, Brandon Hawkins, Alexey Soloviev and Nick Neville celebrate a game winner.

Texas Tornado - Amarillo NAHL Division Finals Preview

With the NAHL South Division semi-finals having been settled last week both the Amarillo Bulls and Texas Tornado will have had ample time to prepare and get healthy for their Division Finals matchup.

Amarillo dropped the first game of their semi-finals series against Corpus Christi on home ice. Following their game one stumble the Bulls came back to defeat the Icerays in three straight by scores of 6-3, 5-3 and 5-3.

The Tornado on the other hand swept the second seeded Roadrunners taking the first two games of the series on the road in Topeka by identical scores of 2-1, 2-1 before topping Topeka 8-1 at home to close out the series. The Roadrunners had dominated the regular season play against Texas going 9-1-2 in the process.

The Amarillo Bulls also had the Tornado’s number in the regular season racking up a 10-1-1 record against Texas. However, they saw their goals allowed per game jump by more than one goal per game in the playoffs while Texas held Topeka to a single goal per game.

During the regular season the Tornado special teams were a big part of Texas’ success. Against the Bulls the Tornado power play was 10 for 61 or 16.4%. The penalty kill on the other hand held Amarillo to 5 goals on 52 opportunities. Texas did however surrender two Amarillo short handed goals. Texas will again need to look to the special teams for contributions in order to down the Bulls and advance to the Robertson Cup Tournament.

Goaltending Comparison in Playoff Games

 

W

L

OTL

SO

GA

GAA

SV

SV%

Texas  Tornado

3

0

0

0

3

1.00

90

.968

Amarillo  Bulls

3

1

0

0

11

2.75

97

.898

Who is Hot (Playoff Games) 

Texas Tornado    G       A      Pts   
Scott Conway

4

1

5

Alexey Soloviev

1

4

5

CJ Reuschlein

2

2

4

Max Shuart

1

2

3

 

Amarillo Bulls

BradyFerguson

2

3

5

John Rey

3

1

4

Hampus Gustafsson

3

1

4

Dan McNamara

2

2

4

During the Division semi-finals the Tornado reversed the tables on the Roadrunners from the regular season taking two close games on the road in Topeka followed by a totally dominating performance at home to advance to the finals.

The Bulls had six players with a +11 or higher +/- rating in the head-to-head matchup during the regular season. Texas failed to have a single player with a positive +/- rating against Amarillo this season.

Justin Greenberg (4G-5A) and Brandon Hawkins (2G-7A) were the leading scorers against Amarillo. Drew Mayer (2G-3A) played only five games against the Bulls due to injuries, but was nearly a point a game in the process.

TJ Sarcona (6G-8A) and Ryan Cole (6G-4A) led Bulls in goals scored against Texas. They were joined by Gage Christianson (3G-10A) and Mike Davis (4G-7A) as double digit scorers.

Paul Berrafato led the league in wins with 33, a 1.66GAA and was fifth with a .928SV%. However, against the Icerays in the first round he saw his numbers slip by more than a point per game to 2.77GAA and a .898SV%.

Hunter Leisner was in goal for all 12 decisions against Amarillo finishing with a 3.96GAA and a .889SV%. However, against Topeka in the opening round, Leisner brought back memories of the goalie Texas rode to the Robertson Cup Title last season as he finished the Topeka series with a 1.00GAA and .968SV%.

This may be a homer call, but I am going to go out on a limb and project the defending National Champion Tornado winning the series on Amarillo ice in five games. Head Coach Tony Curtale is the winningest coach in NAHL history and has seven Robertson Cup National Championships on his resume. He will have the Tornado ready for the big stage once again. If the Tornado team that swept Topeka from the first round is the team that shows up against Amarillo, the Bulls are in for a rough road. The series will get underway in Amarillo on April 25th and 26th.

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Tags: Amarillo Bulls NAHL Playoffs Texas Tornado

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