Slow Starts Cost Bulls Against Aces

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(Originally published at Inside Hockey)

The Alaska Aces may not be the runaway ECHL points leaders they were last season, but they still occupy a special, dark place in the hearts of the San Francisco Bulls and their fans. Last weekend’s trio of games at the Cow Palace did little to change that. Despite a stunning comeback from the Bulls in the middle game, the Bulls only earned two points in three games. Continue reading

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Bulls Dig Deep, Find New Mettle

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(Originally published at Inside Hockey)

The San Francisco Bulls started a six-game homestand last weekend, with two games against the top two teams in the ECHL’s Pacific Division. The Bulls lost the first to Ontario 4-1, and won the second against Stockton in a shootout 6-5. The loss was a big let down after the team had competed so effectively against Ontario the weekend before. Continue reading

SF Bulls End Road Trip 2-5-1

The San Francisco Bulls finished their season-opening road trip with a 2-0 loss to the Ontario Reign. The two goals were scored by rookie Zach O’Brien and Dan DaSilva, previously of the Worcester Sharks. It was O’Brien’s first pro goal and DaSilva’s was into an empty net.

Ironically, the Wednesday game was one of the Bulls’ better showings of the season. From what Bulls Alternate Captain Jordan Morrison said during the intermission report,  the team was probably up for a game against a team they never beat on the road last season:

It’s a new season, first game against these guys this year, obviously we both have new squads. I think we’re going to just go out there and test the waters tonight, see what each team is about, and hopefully start the year off on the right foot. I know it was difficult here last year, they had a great season, great team last year, but like I said it’s a new year. Continue reading

SF Bulls Start Season On Familiar Ground

The San Francisco Bulls start the 2013-14 season on the road, against the Alaska Aces. Their preseason ended in three losses, including one shootout loss. Preseason games don’t tell you a great deal about how a team will perform in the regular season, but the Bulls’ two exhibition games at the Cow Palace were worth a look. New forward Ryan McDonough gave his assessment:

At the end we didn’t get the result we wanted but it is preseason and we’re just getting everything together so I think we’re moving forward pretty well.

In the Bulls’ first game, against the Bakersfield Condors, most of the faces on the ice were unfamiliar to fans. Head Coach Pat Curcio wanted to see as many players in a game setting as possible: Continue reading

The Bulls Are Back

The San Francisco Bulls play two preseason games at the Cow Palace, on October 10 and 12. The regular season is just around the corner, and the roster has already started to percolate. Seven familiar faces have returned to the team, six have been assigned from Worcester, and the Bulls have already made a trade. Monday, defenseman Darren Rowe was acquired from the Utah Grizzlies in exchange for forward Danick Paquette. Paquette had been signed by the Bulls in August.

The ECHL is a development league, it is its purpose to send players up the ladder to the AHL and even the NHL. The league’s rules limit how many veteran players they can have on their roster. These factors can conspire to deprive fans of familiar faces on the ice from season to season. Add the natural roster movement present in any league and it can be disorienting for someone trying to follow the team. Continue reading

SF Bulls Are Back, Moving Forward

A number of players have returned to the San Francisco Bulls for a second season. Team Captain, Scott Langdon, forward Kris Belan and defenseman Dylan King all signed again early in ECHL free agency. Last week, Dean Ouellet and Jordan Morrison returned from a stint in the Kazakh league to rejoin the Bulls. Christian Ouellet and Brett Findlay, rookie who impressed last season, are also back.  These players are not the only ones showing confidence in the young San Francisco Bulls organization.

The San Jose Sharks renewed their affiliation with the Bulls in late August, but they had already given the organization a significant stamp of approval last season. They sent seven prospects to San Francisco from Worcester, including five skaters. This season, Bulls President and Head Coach Pat Curcio expects the Sharks to continue sending prospects to the ECHL: Continue reading