Game Report from Dave Henry of the Amarillo Globe News
From Amarillo, Texas: Even if the 4,936 fans had paid to get in the doors of the Cal Farley Coliseum, they still would have had more then got their money's worth.
The Amarillo Bulls put on an impressive show on "Sonic Sunday" - the team's 2nd free admission game in two seasons - by storming past the Odessa Jackalopes, 7-2.
And the game had a little bit of everything, from fights to natural hat tricks to playoff implications. Amarillo stretched its streak of non losses (games in which the Bulls have not lost regulation and earned at least one point) to 21 straight games, the best streak in the North American Hockey League this season.
The Bulls also clinched at least a tie for a playoff birth and will earn a post-season spot outright with their next win.
And for the second straight night, the Bulls weren't shy about dropping their gloves with their opponent.
The Bulls and Jackalopes had four fights, including a rare goaltending tussle between Amarillo's Mike Taffe & Odessa's Justin Davis 21 seconds into the third period when the net-minders charged each other at center ice.
"We talk about us a group playing tough hockey. It is a team game and we ask guys to stick up for each other," and that's what we've been doing," said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams. "Our Penalty Kill has been good right now, but obviously there are some penalties there that I don't like - the slashing and the hooking. A penalty for boarding or a hard hit, hey, that happens. We just don't need to take those lazy penalties."
Bulls forward Joe Kozlak did come out lazy as he had Amarillo's first three goals, including two on the power play, and the Bulls were in control from that point.
"I just got to the front of the net," said Kozlak, who has 19 goals.
"One was just a shot from the slot and the others were putting the puck on the net from the dirty areas. We've always been a physical team, that is our nature. We don't always do things pretty. We just wanted to work their defense down low and use that to our advantage."
"We had some fights, we had some hits and we had some goals, and I think everyone had fun tonight. I know we had a lot of fun tonight."
The Bulls recent penchant for fisticuffs was evident when Taffe and Davis stormed from their respective nets during another fight between Bulls defensemen John Rey and Odessa Defensemen Tyler Minx. Both goalies received fighting/game misconducts and hit the showers.
"(Davis) kind of asked me during the second TV Timeout. He had a couple of choice words for me and I didn't want to have anything to do with it," said Taffe, who stopped 10 of 11 shots and improved to 16-1-3."
"After our first little scrum, I said 'Why Not?' There's 4,500 fans and I don't like being called out and i'm not afraid to throw them down if I have to.
"If your going to hit us, we're going to hit you right back."