Bulls Add Ryan Garlock, Win Two of Three

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(Originally published at Inside Hockey)

The San Francisco Bulls have won two of their last three games, after losing two of three to the Aces. They won at home against the third place Colorado Eagles, and on the road against their nearby rivals and last season’s Western Conference Champions, the Stockton Thunder. In between those wins, they lost on the road to the Bakersfield Condors, who are tied with the Bulls in points but have three games in hand on San Francisco.
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Bulls Chase the Eagles Down

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

An ace that they can keep: Bulls shoot Eagles down

Before the game, I wondered if the Cow Palace audience would get to see a hat trick on Country & Western Night.  If they were wearing cowboy hats, this could pose a problem.  Cowboy hats are a lot more expensive than ball caps and heavier too.  Would people throw them?  It was a typical sort of jinx.  There was a hat trick, but from Colorado.  Joey Sides did score three goals for the Eagles, but it was not enough for them to win.  The Bulls managed to score four and they beat the Eagles for the first time.

The Bulls have had trouble winning when they don’t score first.  They did it once before, back on November 9: Stockton scored first only to be taken apart for the rest of the game until it ended 4-1.  My memory of that is so hazy, the lack of multiple game recaps and no video for me to review is maddening.  How could I have not noticed the team winning without scoring first?  I have concluded that it must have been a fluky goal so strange that it failed to break the “score first or lose” curse.  Maybe it was off a Bulls player or even an own goal, though the recap from Stockton did not make it seem so.

In any case, the Bulls have had a whole lot of trouble winning games when they don’t score first.  They have had as much trouble scoring at all against Colorado.   Wednesday’s game showed a glimmer of hope, but still ended in a shootout loss.  So this is the mountain they had to climb, with omens casting shadows on the ice.

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A different group of guys: Eagles defeat Bulls 5-1

A different group of guys lost to the same group of guys that beat the Bulls back in early November.  Well, not exactly the same group.  Two Colorado players from the last meeting have gone (Joey Sides, Adam Chorneyko) and one was added (Kevin Ulanski).  In Friday’s game, the quantifiable distinction amounted to one assist from Ulanski.  That’s not right, Sides had 2 assists and a goal before.  I don’t think the math actually matters here.

Curcio describes falling behind early as a persistent challenge for the Bulls:

“We didn’t get any breaks early.   Being such a young team– not making excuses– we don’t battle through adversity… if we get up early, we can do anything once we’re up.    When we’re down we’re a different group of guys.”

If you want to look for indicators of how a Bulls game is going to go, Jordan Morrison going to the box early could be one, at least in the games I’ve watched.  Still, the Eagles’ didn’t score until after a second penalty was called against Belan, giving the Eagles a minute and 23 seconds of five on three.  Then Chad Costello scored his 40th point of the season.

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