It took them more than eight seconds. It took the Wranglers about nine minutes to tie the Bulls down with two goals. Even with two periods left to play, the Bulls never managed to shake those early goals off their backs. The Bulls loss was also Las Vegas goalie Jody O’Neill’s first professional shut out in his first professional start. He played twice before as a pro, once for the Trenton Titans and once for the Stockton Thunder, both times in relief. Where did this guy come from, in hockey terms? Dartmouth College.
The Bulls started the first period with a couple of minutes almost completely in the Wranglers’ zone. Play balanced out after that, and after not many shots from either team, Vegas scored. The Bulls got a power play as Sean Wiles took a boarding penalty. The Wranglers penalty kill did a good job of forcing the Bulls all the way back down the ice. Just as the Bulls were finally getting set up, a fumbled pass gave Andrew Sarauer a short handed chance that he buried.
Sarauer went on to earn a hat-trick. Two goals were scored against the Bulls on breakaways The Bulls didn’t have any breakaway chances. The Bulls had extended time in the offensive zone, almost invariably punctuated by a momentary breakdown that led to a scoring chance for their opponent.
By the end of the first period, the Bulls were thoroughly rattled. Their passes were not connecting, players collided at the blue line, at one point a Bull threw up his hands to show he wasn’t tripping anyone, only to have another Bull come in and take the same Wrangler out at the knees. The ref didn’t care about any of that, but soon after he did call Martin Lee for holding. Lee was having a rough game.
The Bulls did settle down but couldn’t make any headway. Before the second period ended, after the fourth Las Vegas goal, Curcio pulled Nelson and put Heemskerk in for his first playing time since December 28. He stopped all but one shot during the third period.
That shot came in the middle of the final frame, dropping the Bulls into a trench five goals deep. The goal was scored by Matt Campanale (assist to Scott Pitt), and a fight followed. Scott Langdon went to the box for the second time during the game. Adam Huxley took a seat too. Seconds later, Eric Lampe was called for high sticking and the Bulls had another power play. By now, Vegas was locked up tight, preserving their goalie’s shutout.
The other goal that was not scored by Sarauer was the first Wranglers goal. That was Josh Lunden’s, from Charlie Cook and Channing Boe. Sarauer scored his first goal unassisted, the second from Sean Wiles, the third from Adam Hughesman and Nolam Juleseth-White. All goals were scored at even strength.
Fighting majors also went to Josh Godfrey and Hans Benson, and Benson was given a game misconduct for instigating a fight in the last five minutes of the game.
Jody O’Neill made 40 saves for the shutout. Taylor Nelson made 19 saves on 23 shots, and Thomas Heemskerk made 10 saves on 11 shots in relief.
The Bulls play again on Friday in Ontario then come home to play at 7:15 on Saturday and 2:15 on Sunday, both against the visiting Condors.
Rylan Galiardi has now missed 4 games, but those have been spread over some long breaks for the team. He was in the press box for the game. He isn’t ready to start skating again, said Curcio:
We’ll know more after the weekend. He hasn’t been cleared to start working out yet, so until he’s cleared to do that we can’t even get him on the ice.
Concussions are notoriously difficult to treat or put a timeline on. No wonder then that Curcio’s estimate that Galiardi would be back last week has not come to fruition.
Marek Viedensky is expected to play in Ontario Friday. He will stay with the Bulls for at least a month before possibly being sent back to the AHL. That timeline isn’t fixed, it depends partly on Viedensky’s performance and also on whether the Worcester Sharks need him.
Since returning to the AHL from the his stint with the Bulls, Daniil Tarasov has become a scoring beast for the Sharks. They aren’t in such desperate need of goals as they were even a couple of weeks ago. But you can never have too much scoring.
It was Wrangle a date Wednesday at the Cow Palace: I googled it, I couldn’t find another example of a hockey team doing it. I found a story about speed dating Tyler Seguin at a baseball game, which was not quite the same.
The little stage was set up like the old Dating Game, with three chairs to the right of the curtain, one on the left. During the first intermission, the male date asked questions of the female contestants and it was all shown on the Cube’s view screen. Votes for the winner were collected at a desk and via text message. I don’t know who won, but the women’s answers were pretty funny. I could tell that at least two of them had watched the show, though of course none looked old enough to have seen the original.