Despite playing for the second time in two nights, the San Francisco Bulls chased the Colorado Eagles down to win in a shootout. The Bulls never led on the scoreboard, but tied the game four times during regulation. The win kept them four points behind the Utah Grizzlies, who also won in a shootout Wednesday, and stretched their lead over the Bakersfield Condors to eight points.
The last time the San Francisco Bulls met the Colorado Eagles was in January, a pair of games that the teams split in San Francisco. Both were one goal games, one was a shootout loss for the Bulls. Continue reading →
Changes to the Bulls’ roster seem to be the norm right now. Since last week’s moves, Bulls’ forward Kris Belan was called up by the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs. Tuesday, the Bulls released forward Colin Reddin, and he was signed by the Evansville IceMen the same day. That left room for two, but only one has arrived: Yanni Gourde, from the Worcester Sharks. Gourde is the third player added to the team since the Bulls set out on their six-game road trip.
Tuesday night, Head Coach Pat Curcio put Gourde on a line with Dean Ouellet and Peter Sivak. Though Gourde had just arrived late the night before, he played very well on the top line.
The Bulls started a six game road trip in Idaho with two new players on the team. The moves didn’t pay instant dividends as the Bulls lost 4-0 Friday night to the Steelheads. Saturday, both players helped the Bulls to a 4-3 shootout win against the same team.
Last Tuesday, the Bulls traded forward Alex Tuckerman and defenseman Martin Lee to the Utah Grizzlies for winger Bryan Cameron, a Calgary Flames prospect. Rylan Galiardi, recently cleared to skate after suffering post-concussion symptoms, was traded the next day to Idaho for a Dallas Stars’ prospect: forward Tristan King. Both King and Cameron met up with the team in Idaho.
Cameron was the second leading scorer for the Grizzlies. King was the leading scorer for the Steelheads. It was a boost that Bulls’ Head coach and GM Pat Curcio felt the team needed urgently. He explained how the trade with Idaho addressed Bulls’ need for offense to The Gackle Report:
Last week, San Francisco Bulls’ forward Jordan Morrison took some time after a morning skate to answer questions about hockey, life and everything. Back in November, Head Coach Pat Curcio described Morrison as:
…an interesting player. He’s a guy that has flashes of offensive ability and then you want more. He doesn’t give you that but what he does give you is a great penalty killer, a guy you want to put on the ice in the last minute that you can trust. He brings leadership, he’s an assistant captain and the guys respect him. He’s a utility player with some skill. I think that he’s got the ability to score even more.
Interesting indeed. Since the publication of that quote, Morrison’s numbers have improved. In his first 21 games with the Bulls, he had five goals and ten points. In the 31 games that followed, he earned ten goals and twenty-three points. His value to the team goes beyond points production: Curcio has regularly put newly arrived players on a line with “Mo,” suggesting that he sees leadership traits in Morrison that are more complex than setting a good example with his play.
The Bulls played their last home game for February Sunday afternoon. They fell 3-1 to Stockton, San Francisco’s second loss in two nights to the Thunder.
A disappointing performance the night before left San Francisco with nothing to show but 73 penalty minutes, most of which were earned in a ten man brawl late in the third period. The 4-0 loss was unexpected, especially after San Francisco’s surprising and hard-fought win in Idaho on Wednesday. Stockton, bolstered by some new talent in their lineup, outplayed the Bulls from the start, keeping them off the score board and staying well ahead on the shot clock. The Bulls lost board battles and spent too much of the game trying to gain or retain possession of the puck. After Stockton took a four goal lead, head coach Pat Curcio pulled his starting goalie, Taylor Nelson, and replaced him with Thomas Heemskerk. Heemskerk saved all 22 shots he faced.
Sunday, Thomas Heemskerk started in goal, facing Tyler Bunz for Stockton. San Francisco’s Kris Belan and Stockton’s Ryan Green started things off with a fight at 1:42.
The Idaho Steelheads have one of the best home win records in the ECHL. The Bulls have one of the worst road records. Tuesday’s game in Idaho ended as those figures would predict, and Wednesday didn’t start out much better. Idaho scored twice and outshot the Bulls by a significant margin through the most of the first period. Shaking off the bleak stats and ignoring bad omens, the Bulls charged forward to claim their first win of the road trip.
Final score: 6-3 San Francisco Bulls.
The game began with a fight between Bulls’ defenseman Dylan King and Steelheads’ forward Mike Towns. King ended up hitting the ice first.
It was Thomas Heemskerk’s second start since returning from surgery, and Idaho would keep him busy. An awful play in the defensive zone just after the faceoff sent the puck behind the net and then back over it, right into the path of Idaho’s Tyler Gron. Heemskerk saw it and faced the shooter but the hard shot squeaked through and bounced into the net. Continue reading →