By Rob Lippolis, Corpus Christi IceRays
Amarillo Bulls 4 @ Corpus Christi IceRays 3 (OT) - Nick Monfils, Brad LeLievre, and Maurin Bouvet all scored third period goals for Corpus Christi to erase a two goal deficit and force overtime, however Tyler Gernhofer scored his third of the game to complete a hat-trick with 51 seconds left in OT to get Amarillo the extra point and the 4-3 win on Sunday afternoon inside the American Bank Center.
The Bulls came into the game with the top ranked power-play in the North American Hockey League and showed why early on. After Connor Kelly took a penalty early in the first on a tripping, Roman Ammirato found Tyler Gernhofer waiting in the slot. Gernhofer took the pass from Ammirato and wristed the puck over the shoulder of Ben Myers for a 1-0 lead just 3:48 into the game. Cody Gylling had the other assist.
All the remainder of the scoring in regulation came in the third period as the Bulls built a two goal lead early on while up a skater. As Maurin Bouvet sat in the box, Gernhofer scored his second of the game just 56 seconds into the frame with assists from Matt Sieckhaus and Brendan Vetter to go up 2-0.
Corpus Christi started the comeback when Jake Durflinger saw Nick Monfils going to the front of the net, backhanding the puck right to his stick, and Monfils fired it behind Paul Berrafato to get the ‘Rays on the board and at the same time splitting the Amarillo lead in half at 2-1. The other assist was picked up by Michael Mahan in his first game in Corpus Christi.
Another new face electrified the crowd to tie the game up at two goals each. Grant Hutton skated down the right wing wall and hit Brad LeLievre with a centering pass that the former Kenai River Brown Bear slid by Berrafato for his first goal in two games with the IceRays at 10:52 of the third period.
A goal less than 30 seconds later gave the Bulls the lead shortly after LeLievre tied the game. On a jam up in front of Ben Myers’ net, the puck somehow crossed over the goal line as Myers scrambled to cover the puck and the Bulls took the lead once again, this time at 3-2.
Corpus Christi hung around all game long and it paid off courtesy of Maurin Bouvet. From one import player to another, Martin Hojbjerg sent the puck right to Bouvet who went in one-on-two. Bouvet cut across the top of the circle and wired a wrist shot top shelf on Berrafato to tie the game with 6:04 remaining in regulation.
Both teams got a point and went into overtime. With 51 seconds left in OT, Tyler Gernhofer went around Jake McNamara and beat Myers on the glove side for the game winner, and the hat trick as Amarillo escaped with a 4-3 win.
Berrafato made 21 saves in the win, while Myers stopped 38 of 42 in the loss.