Thunder nudges Bulls in a shootout win

“Experience the storm” is the Thunder’s motto and they did their best to drown the Bulls Wednesday night.  After a stunning rally by the Bulls in the second period, the Thunder  needed a shootout to win.  Stockton pelted the Bulls’ Taylor Nelson with 45 shots on goal before overtime ended.  By the third period, the rink looked like there had in fact been a rainstorm.  Water pooled behind the net that the Bulls would be trying to score in.  It was only the third time in eight tries that the Thunder defeated the Bulls.

Goals for San Francisco were scored by Rob Kwiet (from Cody Carlson and Peter Sivak), Dean Ouellet (from Alex Tuckerman) and Christian Ouellet (from Carlson and Dylan King).  Stockton goals were scored by Gabriel Levesque (from Shawn Boutin),  Tony DeHart (from Matt Reber and Harrison Reed), and Ryan Constant (from Maxime Boisclaire and Matt Reber).  Taylor Nelson made 42 saves for the Bulls, Cody Reichard made 23 saves for the Thunder.

A mere 30 seconds into the game, Stockton scored first after the Bulls failed to clear a rebound.  It was an inauspicious start for San Francisco.   To add insult to injury, the Bulls took three penalties in the first: one less than 3 minutes into the period, another with under 3 left, and one in the middle.  Things looked dire indeed, until Stockton took a series of penalties and gave the Bulls a 5 on 3 chance.  The Bulls took that chance and tied the game in the final 18 seconds of the period.  Rob Kwiet scored it with a one-timer set up by Cody Carlson and Peter Sivak.

The Bulls started the second on a power play but Stockton killed that off and retook the lead with a power play goal after a Hans Benson hooking penalty.

During the Bulls trip to Alaska last weekend, Christian Ouellet had a very good run, almost overshadowing the more familiar high-scoring Ouellet, Dean.  As if to remind fans who the team’s All-Star was, “Dean-O” tied the game up again, with an even-strength goal 8:49 minutes into the period.

The non-sibling rivalry didn’t end there.  Christian answered Dean’s goal with another, 17 seconds later.   Stockton left Christian alone in front of the net and he didn’t miss.  That goal gave the Bulls their first lead of the game.

The Thunder were showing signs of shock, icing the puck shortly after the Ouellets took the lead away from them.

With just over 5 minutes left in the period, the referee gave matching penalties for tripping and diving, to Stockton’s Colton Hayes San Francisco’s Sebastian Trudeau respectively.  This put the teams at 4 on 4.  Neither team was able to take advantage of the extra space.

The Bulls started the third with two statistical strikes against them.  They had not scored first, and they were trailing badly on the shot clock with only 14 shots to Stockton’s 29. Neither situation was in keeping with past wins.  They were still leading by one goal.  Stockton pushed back quickly.  Ryan Constant tied the game with a shot from the circle, 2:06 into the period.

A few minutes later, Jonathan Lessard and Matt Green dropped the gloves, which sent Lessard to the dressing room for repairs.   Hans Benson took issue with that, but nothing came of it.  The tension did lead to a very chippy period, during which the referee was hesitant to make a call.  Finally, just past the mid point of the period, Bulls defenseman Cody Carlson went to the box for interference.  Stockton went to the power play.  Ouellet and Danis-Pepin killed some of that off making Stockton chase them around Stockton’s zone.  Stockton didn’t score on the power play but did sustain some pressure afterwards.

Neither team was able to break the tie in regulation.  By the time the teams went to overtime, Taylor Nelson had made 40 saves.

The referee had been saving his calls for overtime.   The Bulls got a man advantage less than a minute in, but before that ended, the Cody Carlson took another penalty to even it up for 19 seconds of 3 on 3 play.  Stockton’s power play took them to less than a minute left in OT. In those last few seconds, no one scored, but Jordan Morrison had a good chance that left him shaking his head:

@SFBullsInGame: An incredible move by @1986jmorrison almost leads to the winning goal but Reichard came up with a great save

The teams went to a shootout that ended 3-0 for Stockton.

—————————————–

The Bulls were without without Rylan Galiardi, who made his mark on the roster very quickly after being acquired in mid-January.  He has 4 points in 5 games so far.  He was suffering from post-concussion symptoms after a hit he sustained in Alaska (from Gackle Report pre-game).

Rejoining the team recently, defenseman Martin Lee made an impression with a fight in the first period, after Stockton’s Ryan Green took issue with a hit from Peter Sivak.

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