Amarillo 5 @ Corpus Christi 1 – The Amarillo Bulls picked up a 5-1 victory over the IceRays in front of 3,235 fans inside the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi in the lone game in the NAHL on Thursday night. The win was the Bulls 5th in the row and it locked up home ice for the Bulls in the 1st round of the playoffs. Amarillo now had an 18-point lead in the South Division and only needs a combination of two wins or two Topeka losses to secure their first ever South Division regular season title.
The game was back and forth from the start that included some physical play and hard hitting, however, it was Amarillo who drew first blood with only :12 seconds left in the first period on the power-play. A shot from defenseman Karl Beckman was stopped by Anthony Stolarz, the puck rebounded onto the stick of Mike Erickson who recorded his 16th goal of the year to give the Bulls a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.
The second period was another physical one but Amarillo struck a 2-0 lead at the 11:08 mark as Luke Jenkins came out of the penalty box and picked up a long pass from Zane Popilock beating Stolarz between the legs for his 9th goal of the year. Amarillo then scored twice in a span of 1:37 as Joe Kozlak scored his 24th goal of the season on a rebound in front for an easy tap-in and the Bulls led 3-0 after two periods.
Corpus Christi pulled within two goals when Perry D’Arrisso jammed a puck past Amarillo goaltender Mike Taffe to make it 3-1. It was D’Arrisso’s 12th goal of the year. However, the Bulls added two more goals in the third period courtesy of TJ Sarcona and Omar Mullan to finalize a 5-1 victory.
Kozlak and Erickson finished the game with a goal and an assist apiece for Amarillo and John Gustafsson and Karl Beckman each had two assists in the win. Anthony Stolarz stopped 37 of 42 shots in the loss, while Bulls goaltender Mike Taffe was solid in the win making 26 saves.