Bulls Take Game One, 5-2



April 6, 2012



Hellebuyck stops 47 in Odessa’s first NAHL playoff game.


AMARILLO, TX– In the first game of a five-game, South Division semi-final series, the fourth-seeded Odessa Jackalopes fell to the top-ranked Amarillo Bulls 5-2 on Friday at Cal Farley Coliseum at Amarillo Civic Center. With the win, the regular-season NAHL champion Bulls took a 1-0 lead in the two teams’ first-round playoff series.

Odessatook an early lead in period one, when Tyler Minx let fly a wrister at 4:29 off a faceoff win by Ryan Atkinson that beat Amarillo netminder Mike Taffe high to the glove side, to stake the Jacks to a 1-0 lead. After Bulls forward Mike Davis tied the game two minutes later, Amarillo rattled off three more unanswered goals through the end of the second period to enter the third with a 4-1 advantage.

Their work cut out for them in the final frame, Odessa was next to strike as Atkinson fought through a maze of defenders in the neutral zone at 8:10 of the period and sent a shot off Taffe’s right pad that Darren Lapic mopped up on the rebound to draw the Jacks within a pair of goals.

Ever aggressive, Amarillo responded just minutes later when Bulls defenseman Geoff Fortman cleaned up a center-ice turnover and beat Odessa goaltender Connor Hellebuyck with a transition wrist shot to make it 5-2 ‘Rillo.

In his first career postseason start, Hellebuyck turned in a vintage performance, stopping 47 of the 52 shots he faced, including numerous highlight-reel stops in a 23 save second period, including several dazzling denials from point-blank range.

In a rough-and-tumble game that featured three fights, two game-ejections and a grand total of 77 combined penalty minutes, the Jackalopes ended up 0/2 on the power-play, but killed off five of the six Amarillo man-advantage chances they faced.

Game two of the Jacks’ South Division semi-final series comes up Saturday in Amarillo with the opening faceoff set for 7:05 pm and game three of the series awaits Monday, April 9th in Odessa’s Ector County Coliseum with all tickets for that game on sale now for just five dollars apiece.

To reserve playoff tickets, Jacks fans are invited to call the Jackalopes’ ticket office at 432-552-7825 during regular business hours (8:30 am to 5:00 pm) Monday through Friday. Playoffs tickets are also available online at www.jackalopes.org.

Be sure to follow the Jackalopes on Twitter @LetsGoJacks all season long and don’t forget to ‘Like’ the official “Odessa Jackalopes” fan page on Facebook.