Hoy's late heroics not enough as Texas falls to Amarillo in OT
In a game which featured 18 minor penalties and a game-tying goal by Michael Hoy in the final seconds, the Texas Tornado lost to the South Division-leading Amarillo Bulls on Friday by an overtime score of 4-3. Brooks Behling’s hat-trick marker at 1:20 of overtime gave Amarillo the victory in the first meeting between the two teams since the Bulls knocked Texas out of the playoffs last season. Joakim Jutras made 17 saves, but was unable to stop Behling’s shot from the right-wing circle in overtime.
Trailing by a goal with 55 seconds to play and an icing faceoff inside the Amarillo zone, Tornado head coach Tony Curtale—who was honored before the game for becoming the winningest coach in U.S. Junior Hockey history—pulled Jutras in favor of the extra attacker. Texas was able to keep the puck in the zone for their entire shift, until a pass from Tyler Rostenkowski found Michael Hoy at the top of the left-wing circle. Hoy buried the one-time and tied the score at 3 with 4.1 seconds to play in regulation.
Overtime was a different story, however, after Behling received a pass at center ice from his goalie, Mike Taffe. Behling took advantage of the open ice in 4-on-4 play, faked a shot as he entered the zone, then fired a wrist shot past Jutras for the game-winner.
Behling initially got on the board at 9:53 the first period. He intercepted a pass in the neutral zone, made a move to get past Lucas Whelan and beat Jutras with a nice deke to give the Bulls the 1-0 advantage.
However, the Tornado would even the score before the first period came to a close. With their fourth line on the ice, the Tornado broke into the zone 3-on-3. Skyler Spiller’s initial shot was stopped by Taffe, but it produced a scramble for the rebound at the top of crease. With a mass of bodies around him, Mitchell McPherson put home the rebound for his first career NAHL goal to tie the score at 1.
The Tornado didn’t wait long into the second period to break the 1-1 tie, with a shorthanded goal by Jack Prince coming just 44 seconds into the period. Prince skated into the zone on the right-wing side, moved towards the corner, and threw a backhand on goal from a sharp angle that fooled Taffe and snuck over the line for the goal.
The score remained 2-1 through most of the second, but with 25 seconds to play in the period, Behling struck again. With the Bulls on a power-play, T.J. Sarcona took a shot from the high slot that was redirected by Behling, who was camped out right in front of Jutras, and tied the game at 2.
With the score tied at 2 early in the third, Amarillo then regained the lead. Matt Johnson took what looked to be an innocent shot from the high slot, but it baffled Jutras and slipped underneath his left pad for the goal at 3:40 of the third period. The Tornado were able to tie it late, but Behling’s third goal of the game gave Amarillo the bonus overtime point.
The two teams will play again Saturday night at Dr Pepper Arena, with opening faceoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.