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 Make 4 Goal Comeback Against Stockton Thunder

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(Originally published at Sports Radio Service)

SAN FRANCISCO-Saturday, the San Francisco Bulls came back from a three-goal deficit to defeat the Stockton Thunder in a shootout. It was the third meeting of the season for the two teams. The first period ended tied at one, the second period ended 4-2. The teams went to a shootout tied at five goals apiece. Two of the Bulls’ goals were scored by Steven Tarasuk, his first two goals of the season. Also, there were teddy bears, lots of teddy bears tossed on the ice. Continue reading

Bulls at Home After Successful Road Trip

(Originally published at Inside Hockey)

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The San Francisco Bulls return to home ice tonight after earning seven points in a five game road trip. The trip started with a win in Utah and included a 4-1 defeat of the Division-leading Ontario Reign. The Bulls finished the trip with a 6-2 win in Las Vegas.

Before hitting the road, the team played the Bakersfield Condors twice in a row. They lost the second of those 5-2, at home, after winning 5-1 in Bakersfield the night before. After the loss, Bulls Captain Scott Langdon was downcast by his team’s inability to play a consistent 60 minutes. The Bakersfield Condors were more ready for the Bulls, after being so badly beaten on their home ice the night before. Langdon pointed out that Bakersfield is probably always ready for the Bulls: Continue reading

Aces Shut the Bulls Down 5-0

The Alaska Aces made the San Francisco Bulls pay dearly for ruining their home opener, beating the Bulls 5-0 on Saturday. It is hard to tell from the score, but the Bulls did show signs that they were working better as a team, leaving fewer gaping holes on defense.

The Bulls went in to their second game in Alaska without Dean Ouellet, who was described as having a non-specific upper body injury. If the team was thrown by that development, it didn’t show as they started the game with more composure in the defensive zone than they displayed in the first game. Despite taking too many penalties and giving up more goals than in the previous game, the team actually had more chances and showed signs of improvement. 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