by Kahlil Najar
The Bulls (4-6-1-1) lost another tough game tonight to the Steelheads (6-4-1-1), 3-1. The lone goal by the Bulls came from Chris Crane who tipped the puck in on a power play. San Jose Sharks goalie prospect J.P. Anderson started for the Bulls tonight and handed 28 of 31 shots.
“He gives us a chance to win. He’s not doing anything wrong. To get his first pro win is going to be a grind. We’re going to get him more starts,” said Bulls Head Coach Pat Curcio on Anderson.
‘We made a couple mistakes there in the second, a few missed opportunities and hit the crossbar out. But when things don’t go your way you need your best players to go out there and score but they couldn’t find the back of the goal. We’re just missing the quarterback out there.”
In an eventful first period, the Bulls were able to score first when on a power play from a Tyler Gron hooking call Damon Kipp ripped a shot from the point that was deflected in by Right Winger Chris Crane for his third goal of the season. The Bulls were also able to kill off three penalties in the first which was impressive considering they are ranked last in the league in the penalty kill and Idaho is ranked fourth in the power play.
“Our best PK guys did a great job. But what hurt us in the end was that we were out of gas. Dean Ouellet and Mark Lee are playing power play and penalty kill but at the end of the day when you kill eight penalties it kills them. Our PK was doing the right things, picking up the right guys, staying square. We created the PK 10 Commandments and they followed them.”
There was a scary moment in the first when up-and-coming Bulls star Kyle Bigos took a puck to the face and fell immediately to the ice.
Curcio said “He took a puck to the mouth and it’s not pretty. He looks like The Joker right now and I think it affected his game tonight but he’ll be better tomorrow.
Both teams came out in the second with something to prove as total of seven penalties were called including a hard charging call against the Steelheads Mercier who knocked over Bull player as soon as the Steelheads goalie froze the puck.
After that charging call, Defenseman Patrick Cullity was called for hooking and gave the Bulls a 5 on 3 power play advantage. The Bulls were able to knock a shot towards the goal but came up empty and as time expired and brought both teams to even strength, Mercier was down in the Bulls zone and slid the puck past J.P. Anderson for Idaho’s first goal of the game and tie the game at one a piece. On the Bulls seventh penalty of the night, the Steelheads William Rapozzi was able to pop a nice shot over Anderson and give Idaho their first lead of the night, 2-1.
The third period started out quickly as both teams wanted to take control of the period as soon as possible and give their team the momentum. The Bulls and Steelheads traded shots and excellent chances on net but both goalies were able to turn away shot after shot. The Steelheads sealed the victory when Carl Sneep took a wicked shot from the top of the face off circle in the Bulls zone and made it a final of 3-1.
Without a goal tonight, Dean Ouellet’s scoring streak stops at three games and the Bulls home record comes to 2-2.
On a final note, Curcio said, “I love our team. I look down and its hard to make changes. I know we’re not as elite as other teams out there but I’d rather have the team tha’ts willing to work and go to war every night like this team.”
The Bulls head back at it tomorrow afternoon when they take on the second place team in the Western Conference the Ontario Reign. Game time 2:15pm.