The Texas Tornado and Amarillo Bulls opened play in game three of the NAHLSouth Division Finals in Frisco. The Tornado had their backs against the wall having lost games one and two on the road in Amarillo. If Texas was to extend their season they had to find a way to get the Bulls out of their heads.
Texas got on the board first with a bang-bang play while on the man advantage. Max Shuart sent the puck from the near half-wall to Justin Greenberg below the goal line to Paul Berrafato’s right. Greenberg found Drew Mayer cruising down the slot for a shot through Berrafato at 5:23.
Amarillo came right back with a power play goal of their own at 7:11 as Omar Mullan pulled the puck out of the near corner, moved out front and put it over Hunter Leisner’s right shoulder. A turnover behind the Tornado net led to a Blake Roubos goal off the crossbar from the slot from Tyler Deresky. Time of the goal was 17:05.
In the second the physical play amped up and the Tornado started to see momentum shift in their direction. They cashed in late when Brandon Platt let one go from the point that was tipped in front by Jason Eddy. Berrafato got a piece of it, but Mitch McPherson was at the near post to clean up the rebound. Earlier in the period Garret Peterson was chirping Louie Rowe and as they lined up for a faceoff in the Tornado zone Peterson gave Rowe a wicked slash across the shins just as the puck dropped. Rowe shed the gloves and Peterson went straight to the ice and covered up. Rowe landed one big right and was pulled off Peterson. Referee Jordan Solomon must have been worried about the game getting out of hand because he hit Rowe with an instigator minor, a fighting major and a game ejection. Peterson on the other hand got a slashing minor.
Amarillo went back on top just 1:40 into the third on a great stick handling move by Clint Carlisle with assists going to Mullan and Peterson.
Not to be outdone Nick Neville corralled a loose puck in the far circle dangled around a defender curled back to the outside to get to the forehand and used TJ Sarcona as a screen to rip in past Berrafato into the twine at 2:11.
With just 5:50 left in the period Amarillo had a two on one breakaway as Tyler Rostenkowski carried the puck into the zone down the left side before giving it to Brady Ferguson who drove the near post then went back across the grain to sneak it past Leisner’s right skate. With Leisner on the bench for the extra attacker Ryan Cole chipped it past a diving CJ Reuschlein at 19:38 and went into the zone unimpeded for the empty net goal and the 5-3 win.
Final shots on goal were 27-25 Tornado. Texas was 1-3 on the power play while Amarillo was 1-5. The Bulls will now advance to the Robertson Cup Tournament.