What a difference a day makes. A day after falling to the Wenatchee Wild 7-0 in round-robin competition, the Amarillo Bulls made no such mistake on Monday in the Robertson Cup National Championship Game as they shutout the Wild 5-0 to win their first ever National title. Ryan Cole scored twice on his way to tournament MVP honors and goaltender Paul Berrafato made 16 saves for the shutout.
The Bulls were the aggressor from the start of the game and determined not to have a repeat from the night before. Just over seven minutes into the game Bulls defenseman Joe Grabowski fired a shot from the point that found its way through traffic to beat Wild goaltender Robert Nichols on the power play to give Amarillo a 1-0 lead. The Bulls took a 2-0 lead as Tyler Deresky got free down the left hand side and fired a shot low to beat Nichols.
The 2nd period was the Ryan Cole show as the forward scored twice to make the score 4-0 after two periods. On the first goal, Omar Mullan stole the puck at the blueline and raced in on a shorthanded 2 on 1. Mullan’s initial shot was denied by Nichols, but the rebound was collected by Cole and put into the open net. Another Wild turnover led to a 2 on 0 breakaway as TJ Sacona raced in with Cole and waited until the last minute to drop it to Cole who fired it home for a 4-0 lead.
The Wild could not get any offense going in the 3rd period, recording just six shots. After a mostly defensive period Omar Mullan rounded out the scoring to make it a 5-0 final. Final shots in the game favored Amarillo, 24-16. Berrafato stopped all 16 shots, while Nichols made 19 saves.
The NAHL announced the Easton All-Tournament Team following the event:
Forward: Ryan Cole, Amarillo Bulls (Most Valuable Player)
Forward: Stanislav Dzakhov, Bismarck Bobcats
Forward: Chris Kerr, Wenatchee Wild
Defense: Joe Grabowski: Amarillo Bulls
Defense: Dylan Abood, Wenatchee Wild
Goalie: Paul Berrafato, Amarillo Bulls
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)