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. Continue reading

Bulls roll up their sleeves, find another win against the Aces

I wasn’t able to listen to this game, but the headline says it all.  That it was a 3-2 OT win isn’t as important as the fact that it was a second win for the Bulls against Alaska.  The Bulls are again tied with Utah for the last two playoff spots, and Utah has two games in hand over the Bulls.  No matter.  The Bulls won, and here are some of the things they tweeted about it: Continue reading

Aces high: early goals trip up the Bulls

Saturday, the SF Bulls fell to the Alaska Aces by a score of 2-1.  It was the second of three games in three nights.  Unlike Friday, the Bulls surrendered that all-important first goal.  As if to bolster superstition, they gave up a second just over a minute later.  With 12:03 remaining in the first period, the Bulls were already down by two.  Alaska’s goals were scored by Alexandre Imbeault (a power play goal while Jordan Clendenning sat for roughing) and Garry Nunn respectively.

Those were the only goals scored by the Aces.  The Bulls’ Christian Ouellet scored the lone goal for the Bulls midway through the second period, assisted by Jordan Morrison and Sebastian Trudeau.  Aces goalie Gerald Coleman made 34 saves for the win, Taylor Nelson made 33 saves on 35 shots  The loss dropped the Bulls back to eighth place in the western conference.  A Utah win in Stockton further cemented San Francisco’s position in the standings. Continue reading

SF Bulls trump Alaska’s Aces

Friday the Bulls won the first of three road games in three days against the Alaska Aces.   It was the Bulls’ first win against Alaska out of four games this season.   The final score was 5-2, with goals from Rob Kwiet, Jordan Clendenning, Cody Carlson, and two from Christian Ouellet.  Goalie Taylor Nelson stopped 23 of 25 shots for the win.  Alaska’s Zach Harrison and Chris Clackson scored for the Aces, with Mark Guggenberger stopping 26 of 30 shots.

Now pretend you didn’t read any of that.  Those tell-all first paragraphs really ruin a story.

The Bulls scored first, but didn’t hold their lead for long.  That first goal came near the half way mark of the first period.  It was defenseman Rob Kwiet’s seventh goal of the season, with assists going to Dean Ouellet and Ryan Galiardi.   Less than three minutes later, Zach Harrison tied the game for the Aces.  Fisticuffs followed between Hans Benson and Dustin Molle.   By the end of the period, the Bulls trailed on the shot clock 10-8.

In their three prior meetings, the first periods ended with the shot count at 14-6, 9-6, and 13-3, all for the Aces.  The Bulls only scored first once before, in their very first meeting.  Those games ended 4-1, 5-2, and 3-2 for the Aces.  This first period was as close as the Bulls had been to the Aces in shots or score, and they hadn’t been that close very often. Continue reading

North to Alaska: Bulls to face Aces after All Star break

The Bulls will face the Alaska Aces on Friday, when play resumes after the ECHL All-Star break.  It will be the Bulls’ first of three games in three days in Alaska.  No team has had a whole lot of luck against this season’s Aces, but since the Bulls last played them, Alaska has lost a few NHLers.  So there is hope.

Dean Ouellet will rejoin the team in Alaska after spending the last few days in Colorado on the ECHL All-Star team.  The All-Stars were pitted against the Colorado Eagles.  Ouellet participated in the accuracy shooting competition on Tuesday.  He hit 4 targets in 7 attempts.  That was the second best score, shared with Dustin Gazely of the Elmira Jackals and Michael Fornley of the Colorado Eagles.  It was enough to help the All Stars win that competition.  Ouellet didn’t score against Colorado’s Ryan Jones in the breakaway relay, but only one of the All Stars did.  Colorado scored four times against Ryan Zapolski of the South Carolina Stingrays.  In all, the Eagles won four of the six events.

The next night, the All Stars won the All Star game 7-3.  They had a little trouble getting organized in the first but they outscored Colorado 6-1 after that.  One surprising stat: the final SOG count was 52-27… for the Eagles.  The All Stars used each of their three goalies (Mike Lee, Phillipp Grubauer and Ryan Zapolski), one in each period, while Colorado’s Kyle Jones played the whole game.  Overall, the game looked a little more intense than the last NHL All Star game I watched.  It was still a high-paced game of shinny, no serious hitting or shot-blocking, but quite competitive for what it was.  Ouellet finished a plus 3 but had no points.  After the game, Zapolski was named the All Star MVP. Continue reading

Bulls silence Thunder, everybody wins

The San Francisco Bulls won 4-2 yesterday in Stockton, ending a weekend binge for Bay Area pro hockey fans.  It was the third game in three days, the second victory in a row for the first year San Francisco team.  Stockton lost two of the three, but it was arguably a victory for both franchises.  In an age where sports fans can go online to watch games played anywhere in the world at all hours of the day, a surprising number of fans showed up to watch local teams play a live hockey game.

Last weekend’s trio of games was more significant than a chance to cement a Bay Area rivalry.  Last weekend the NHL came back from the lockout.  Every single NHL team played.  Saturday and Sunday, noon to night,  NHL games could be seen on tv from all over the US and Canada.  Would the minor league fans stay home to watch?  It doesn’t look like they did, despite record viewing numbers posted by NBC for NHL games.

Friday’s and Saturday’s games were held in Stockton, the Saturday game in San Francisco.  The arenas couldn’t be less alike.  Stockton’s arena was built near the heart of the city in 2005, the same year the team came into being,  The Cow Palace is one of the oldest venues still operating in the Bay Area, located outside the San Francisco city limits, the quintessential “old barn.”  This weekend they had hockey in common.

Continue reading