EARLY TESTS: The Amarillo Bulls lost just eight times, the lowest total in the North American Hockey League, during the regular season.
The South Division champion Bulls, however, dropped their first two games in the Robertson Cup playoffs and will need three straight wins to get past the Corpus Christi IceRays in the division semifinals.
Johnstown lost just nine times while finishing first overall, but the Northeast Division champions dropped one of their first two to the Northeast Generals and are even in the best-of-five series going into road games Wednesday and Thursday.
Corpus Christi won both Friday and Saturday by 6-5 scores. The Saturday win came in overtime.
The IceRays overcame a pair of three-goal deficits and a Gabriel Seger hat trick in the series opener. Che Landikusic scored a pair of third-period goals, including the game-winner.
Kyle Moore completed his hat trick 1:17 into overtime to create the 2-0 series lead.
Amarillo had scored twice in the last 2:44 of regulation to erase a 5-3 deficit and force overtime.
Louis Boudon scored all four goals for the Generals in Saturday’s 4-3 game two victory to even the series.
Roman Kraemer had two goals and an assist when Johnstown won the opener 4-1 on Friday.
ROBERTSON ROUNDUP: Of the eight division semifinals, five feature teams off to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five.
The Aberdeen Wings and Minot Minotauros in the Central Division both lead 2-0.
The Jamestown Rebels, in the East, and Fairbanks Ice Dogs, in the Midwest, have the other 2-0 leads.
Matt Vernon made 27 saves in the opener for Aberdeen, which defeated the Austin Bruins 2-1 and 6-2.
Minot defeated the Bismarck Bobcats 5-1 and 5-3. Nick Grabko made 35 saves in the first game. Andrew Kangas scored twice and Willmer Skoog had three assists in the second game.
Jim Glynn, in the opener, and Alex Frye, in the second game, had two-goal efforts as Jamestown defeated the New Jersey Titans 5-3 and 4-1.
Mattias Sholl had a 26-save shutout to open the playoffs for Fairbanks, which defeated the Janesville Jets 2-0 and 4-1. Sholl had 22 saves in Game 2.
The Shreveport Mudbugs-Lone Star Brahmas series in the South and the Springfield Junior Blues and Minnesota Magicians in the Midwest are tied 1-1.
Nick Techel scored on a rebound 4:30 into overtime to produce the road win that tied the series for Springfield.
COLLEGE COMMITMENT: Cam Babiak, a defenseman and the team captain for the NAHL’s Brookings Blizzard, announced his commitment to Bowling Green.
The 19-year-old from Saline, Michigan, had 11 points in 46 games in his recently completed third NAHL season.
COACHING CHANGE: Kevin Murdock has been named head coach of the NAHL’s Kenai River Brown Bears.
Murdock spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach with the NA3HL’s North Iowa Bulls.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.