Bulls Trades Tested in Weekend Split

Last weekend was a test for the San Francisco Bulls. The two games against the Utah Grizzlies measured their skill, their focus, and their roster. The Bulls won the first in a shootout, with a final score of 6-5.  They lost the second game in a 6-2 blow out after giving up a two-nothing lead. San Francisco could have clinched a playoff spot by winning both games, but instead is still two points away. There is no reason to say the Bulls failed the test, but they didn’t ace it either.

It was Utah’s second trip to San Franciscothis season, but for some it was more than another visit. Six players were playing against their old team, in their old barn, for the first time: Cody Carlson, Jordan Clendenning, Martin Lee, Jonathan Lessard, Sebastian Trudeau, and Alex Tuckerman. Another player who was traded to Utah by San Francisco never played with the Bulls. Taylor Carnevale was moved three days after arriving. In total, seven players currently on the Utah roster used to be on San Francisco’s. That is a big chunk of an ECHL team. Continue reading

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Bulls Drown Out the Thunder 7-2

For the first time this season, the San Francisco Bulls scored seven goals, and won by five.  The victims of this scoring binge were the Stockton Thunder.  One game can make a point.  Two games doesn’t make a pattern, but a line from Sunday’s 4-1 win to Wednesday’s 7-2 win leads to the question: how far can these Bulls go?  The Bulls have scored as many as six goals in a game before, but rarely with such a voracious offensive appetite.   Quite simply, they ran away with the game and looked ready to keep going if the final buzzer hadn’t stopped them.

Wednesday’s game plan was not an ambitious one: survive the first ten minutes and go from there.  In their losses to Stockton, the Bulls were frequently overwhelmed by the Thunder’s quick starts, putting them down by one or two goals before they knew it. No one wants to hear that a team plans to merely survive the first ten minutes of a game, but it was a good plan. Stockton did take an early lead, when Ryan Hayes scored 5:57 into the first. Then, as if they had been waiting for the critical ten minutes to pass, the Bulls went on the attack and finished that first period up by two goals. Kory Falite, Nick Walsh and Peter Sivak all scored in under three minutes. Continue reading

Bulls Lose Another One Goal Game to Aces

The San Francisco Bulls might be sick of hearing that the Alaska Aces are the best team in the league, how their 87.7% penalty kill leads the league, how they have been at the top of the standings pretty much all season, with or without locked-out NHLers.  The Bulls weren’t happy after last night’s game to know that they only lost by one, again.  They aren’t pleased that they outshot the Aces, even if it was an improvement over Wednesday.  Scoring two goals instead of one wasn’t much comfort since they still lost 3-2.  Head Coach Pat Curcio was at a loss to see the bright side:

I just think that we did everything right tonight. I mean one loose puck in the third, it’s tough, tough because I think we played a pretty good hockey game. But two goals isn’t going to be enough. We need to find a way to score more goals.

Friday’s game was the second of three games in a row against the Aces.  Round two began with a fight between the Bulls’ Ian Schultz and the Aces’ Dustin Molle.  The fighters were still in the box when Mikael Tam and Alaska’s Chris Clackson joined them after another fight.  Before that second fighting major expired, Ian Schultz went back to the box for trying to fight again.  He only got a roughing minor.  The Bulls killed off the first penalty of the game. Continue reading

Bulls Come Home, Drop One to the Aces

Wednesday, the Bulls played their first game at home since February 17.  Thomas Heemskerk described some of the simple benefits of being back in San Francisco:

Being on the road gets old after about two or three days.  Nice to get home, get some groceries, get some normal food, a normal bed again.  It’s nice to be back playing at home.

The Bulls’ homecoming was marred by a 2-1 loss to the Alaska Aces, but it could have been much worse.   The Aces are at the top of the ECHL standings, with a six point lead over the second place team.  Of the Alaskan team, Bulls’ Head Coach Pat Curcio said:

If you play well, it’ll be a one-goal game with this team. If you don’t play well, you’ll be down four or five nothing before you can blink an eye. Continue reading

Bulls Trade Four Players to Utah

The San Francisco Bulls traded four players to the Utah Grizzlies today: forwards Jordan Clendenning, Jonathan Lessard, Sebastian Trudeau and defenseman Cody Carlson.  Jordan Clendenning has been with the Bulls from the start of the season.  Bulls GM Pat Curcio explained that this made his decision especially difficult:

There has been a lot of movement but I think the core has been intact for the most part… A guy like Jordan Clendenning, he was a big part of this and he’s a great hockey player and a great person and he cared about our team.  It was a hard move to make but to get those kind of players in return he was basically the asset we were giving up. At the end of the day it’s those tough decisions that are hard to make but we have to make them.

The Bulls will receive three players from Utah. 24 year old defenseman Mark Isherwood had 35 points in 70 games with the Alaska Aces in 2010-11, when that team also won the Kelly Cup. This season, in 37 games with the Grizzlies, he has 22 points.  In January, he played two games with the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs. Continue reading