Bulls Break Loose, Beat Wranglers

The San Francisco Bulls were ready to win Sunday.  They had lost three in a row at home, and the night before they lost 6-2 to the Alaska Aces.  Good as the Aces are, the Bulls had never lost by more than three to them.  The Bulls had only beaten Las Vegas once before, and they’d lost by bigger margins to the Wranglers, including a 5-0 shutout.  Las Vegas wouldn’t be a push over, but the Bulls were due for a win and they took it.

In Saturday’s loss to Alaska, the Bulls started well, just as they had in the previous two games.  The Aces scored first, but the Bulls got it back less than two minutes later.  It wasn’t until the last minute of the first period that Alaska took the lead again, on a power play.  By then, the shot clock read 15-6 Aces. Continue reading

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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

The Bulls Lose a Weekend in Vegas

The San Francisco Bulls lost both games in Las Vegas this weekend.  The team took too many penalties and were outshot in both games.  Friday, they lost 2-1, and despite a good push in the third period, were outshot 24-22.  Instead of improving on Sunday, the Bulls lost 6-2 and were outshot 46-28.  It was a disappointing end to a long road trip in which the Bulls only picked up four points in six games.

The Friday game started out well.  At the tail end of the Bulls’ first penalty kill, Yanni Gourde gave the Bulls a lead with a short-handed goal. It would be their only goal of the night, but far from their last penalty. In all, the Bulls were short-handed six times.

Las Vegas tied the game during an extended penalty that resulted from a boarding major assigned defenseman Mikael Tam.  Matching double roughing minors were assigned at the same time to Dylan King and the Wranglers’ Andrew Sarauer. That left the Bulls to kill four of the five minutes down two defensemen.  They were three seconds shy of killing the five minute major off when Sean Wiles scored. Continue reading

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

Bulls drop two in a row to Thunder

The Bulls played their last home game for February Sunday afternoon.   They fell 3-1 to Stockton, San Francisco’s second loss in two nights to the Thunder.

A disappointing performance the night before left San Francisco with nothing to show but 73 penalty minutes, most of which were earned in a ten man brawl late in the third period.  The 4-0 loss was unexpected, especially after San Francisco’s surprising and hard-fought win in Idaho on Wednesday.  Stockton, bolstered by some new talent in their lineup, outplayed the Bulls from the start, keeping them off the score board and staying well ahead on the shot clock. The Bulls lost board battles and spent  too much of the game trying to gain or retain possession of the puck.  After Stockton took a four goal lead, head coach Pat Curcio pulled his starting goalie, Taylor Nelson, and replaced him with Thomas Heemskerk.  Heemskerk saved all 22 shots he faced.

Sunday, Thomas Heemskerk started in goal, facing Tyler Bunz for Stockton.  San Francisco’s Kris Belan and Stockton’s Ryan Green started things off with a fight at 1:42.

Continue reading

Bulls shake off Idaho lead to win 6-3

The Idaho Steelheads have one of the best home win records in the ECHL. The Bulls have one of the worst road records. Tuesday’s game in Idaho ended as those figures would predict, and Wednesday didn’t start out much better.  Idaho scored twice and outshot the Bulls by a significant margin through the most of the first period. Shaking off the bleak stats and ignoring bad omens, the Bulls charged forward to claim their first win of the road trip.

Final score: 6-3 San Francisco Bulls.

The game began with a fight between Bulls’ defenseman Dylan King and Steelheads’ forward Mike Towns. King ended up hitting the ice first.

It was Thomas Heemskerk’s second start since returning from surgery, and Idaho would keep him busy.  An awful play in the defensive zone just after the faceoff sent the puck behind the net and then back over it, right into the path of Idaho’s Tyler Gron. Heemskerk saw it and faced the shooter but the hard shot squeaked through and bounced into the net. Continue reading