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.
This being the second of back to backs, with early morning travel and no morning skate, the Bulls were at a disadvantage in terms of preparation. The Eagles had their own challenges, with only 13 skaters available. By the shot count through the first two periods, the fatigue factor was the greater problem. Idaho had a 25-17 lead, with each team having two power plays.
The one Bulls’ player who had not skated the night before– goalie Thomas Heemskerk– made all the difference. While the Bulls were losing on the shot clock, the scoreboard was a different story. By the end of the second, the teams were tied at 3-3.
The Bulls never fell behind by more than a goal. Additionally, they never trailed for more than four and a half minutes before the third period.
At 12:52 of the first, the Eagles took the lead with a goal from Steve Haddon. Bryan Cameron got that one back at 14:39 off a feed from Dean Ouellet.
The Bulls fell behind again when the Eagles scored on a power play 2:02 into the second period. Idaho had another power play at 5:10 of the same period, but that one was less successful.
Scoring the Bulls’ second short handed goal of the season, Christian Ouellet earned his 13th goal unassisted. The team’s first short-handed tally was scored December 15 by Kris Belan.
Yanni Gourde, in his second game with the Bulls, and having points in both already, got his first ECHL fight off the to-do list. He chose 6’2″ 204 lb Michael Forney. Gourde is listed as 5’9″, 170 lbs. That fight was followed shortly by another between San Francisco’s Cody Carlson and Colorado’s Kyle Ostrow.
The fighting majors meant that Eagles had to finish the second period with only six forwards. They still took the lead at 17:36. Bulls’ defenseman Simon Danis-Pepin tied it up with his third goal of the season, his second of the road trip, just 54 seconds later.
The teams started the third tied at three. At 7:29, Ostrow roofed a shot over Heemskerk to give the Eagles their fourth lead.
Almost seven minutes elapsed before the Bulls would have a solid chance to tie the game again. Idaho’s Ray Kaunisto was called for goalie interference. The Bulls’ power play couldn’t even the score, and they were running out of time. The power play had been over for 32 seconds when San Francisco’s Peter Sivak ended his goal drought:
SIVAK!!!!Bulls tie the game with 3:26 left in the game!
— SF Bulls In-Game (@SFBullsInGame) February 28, 2013
Sivak hadn’t scored a goal in five games. Since his first month playing in North America (when he only scored one goal), Sivak only had one other goal drought that lasted so long.
At the very same time, Carlson took a roughing penalty, and the Bulls would spend most of the rest of the game on the penalty kill. They held on and made it to OT. By the end of regulation, the shots were 36-29 for Idaho.
Overtime went by without a penalty or a goal, the Bulls starting strong but ending up stuck in the defensive zone. To let the Bulls catch their breath, Curcio called a timeout with just six seconds remaining in the period.
As the teams headed to a shootout, Heemskerk had lost two of three shootouts this season.
Kyle Ostrow, Steve Haddon, Trent Deavetilla, Michael Forney and Collin Bowman shot for Idaho.
Bryan Cameron, Dean Ouellet, Tristan King and Peter Sivak shot for the Bulls. Only Ouellet scored, but Heemskerk made five saves so the Bulls didn’t need a fifth shooter. The fifth save had the added flourish of being a poke check.
Jason Lockhart chose Peter Sivak’s game-tying goal as the Play of the Game, and named Thomas Heemskerk as the Player of the Game.
The Bulls’ next game will be Friday in Las Vegas at 7:05 PST. Listen to the game on KNBR.com or watch it live on America One Sports.
San Francisco goals scored by: Bryan Cameron(17) (D. Ouellet, Gourde), Christian Ouellet(13)(SHG), Simon Danis-Pepin(3)(Langdon, Ouellet), and Peter Sivak(27)(Morrison). Thomas Heemskerk made 35 saves and stopped five of five shots in the shootout for the win.
The Bulls’ power play went 0/4, their penalty kill was 3/4.
Idaho goals scored by: Steve Haddon(7)(Bowman, Kaunisto), Trent Daavettila(16)(PPG, Bidwill, Ulanski), Collin Bowman(7)(Ulanski, Strueby), and Kyle Ostrow(4)(Hau, Forney). Kyle Jones made 28 saves for the Eagles.
(Originally published at Inside Hockey)