Tornado stymie Amarillo in 2-0 victory
The Texas Tornado completed a weekend sweep of the Amarillo Bulls with a 2-0 victory at the Amarillo Civic Center on Saturday. Hunter Leisner stopped all 33 shots he faced en route to his fourth shutout of the season, and second with the Tornado. Taylor Herndon scored his 16th goal of the season, while Jordan Lovick added an empty-net goal for his 18th of the year.
The first period did not feature a goal, but wasn’t without its fair share of fireworks. The first fight of the game came just 11 seconds in, when Skyler Spiller and Omar Mullan lined up next to each other on a faceoff and dropped the gloves. Both players exchanged right hands, but when Spiller switched to the left, he was able to score the takedown on Mullan. That scrap set the tone for the first period¸ as exactly eight minutes later, more fighting majors needed to be assessed.
A huge hit by Michael Hoy on Joe Kozlak sparked a flare-up between the two teams that led to Hoy and Gustaffson receiving five-minute majors for fighting, while Drew Allen and Luke Jenkins were each given roughing double-minors. Two minutes after that, Lovickand Ryan Taylor went at it in the neutral zone. Each were given minors for roughing in addition to ten-minute misconducts, but Taylor was given an extra minor for elbowing. That scrap took place at 10:26 of the first, but cooler heads prevailed the rest of the first period.
The Tornado finally opened the scoring at 6:01 of the second after they found themselves on the power-play. Texas scored three power-play goals on Friday, and after Joe Kozlak was whistled for slashing, the Tornado set up the man-advantage in the Bulls zone. Herndon was stationed at center-point, and that was where Lucas Whelan found him waiting for the puck. The Oklahoma City, Okla. native wound up and blasted it past Taffe and in for the goal.
The Bulls came close to tying the game twice late in the second, but were held off the board both times. First, with just about one minute left in the period, Leisner made a save on a shot from outside but left the rebound loose in front. That created a scramble near the crease, and though the puck crossed the goal line, the goal was washed out after Leisner was ruled to have been knocked down. No penalty was called, but it remained a 1-0 game. Then, with just 1.2 seconds left in the period, the Bulls won an offensive zone faceoff back to Brandon Lubin. Lubin fired a slapshot that beat Leisner, but caught the post as time expired in the second.
At 5:14 of the third period, Allen and Karl Beckman got tied up in the Amarillo zone before dropping the gloves and receiving five-minute fighting majors. Still leading 1-0 through most of the third, Texas employed an excellent forecheck and did not allow the Bulls to employ their patented quick-strike offense. Time continued to wind down until, late in the period and with the Bulls net empty, Jordan Lovick sent the puck from the neutral zone into the open goal to seal the win for Texas
The Tornado have not played a home game since a February 11th contest against Amarillo, but will finally return to Dr Pepper Arena next Friday and Saturday for two games against the New Mexico Mustangs. That weekend will be Skate to a Cure Weekend at Dr Pepper Arena, with a portion of all ticket sales to be donated back to Frisco Relay for Life.