By Kahlil Najar
SAN FRANCISCO -Three quick goals at the start of the third period proved too much for the Bulls (5-11-1-1) to overcome as they lost the end of a back-to-back series against the Bakersfield Condors (4-12-0-1) 5-2. Tyler Gron and Adrian Foster are proving that Pat Curcio made the right move in trading for them as they contributed a goal a piece and were active throughout the contest. Tyler Beskorowany had a great first and second period as he stopped 16 of 18 shots but it was the third that was the dagger when he let in three goals in under 4 minutes.
The first period proved to be a tough one for the Bulls as they were only able to land two shots on goal and allowed the Condors to take 13 including a goal from Jordan Knackstedt. The Bulls had the puck in the Condors zone but the puck bounced over a Bulls stick and landed on the Condors Joel Broda’s blade. Broda sprinted up ice with a trailing Knackstedt. Broda took a shot that Beskorowany was able to slow down but then it trickled through his five hole and Knackstedt was able to put the puck in the wide open net and give the Condors a 1-0 lead. Both teams played friendly for the rest of the period but you could tell something was in the air as more sticks started swinging in the air and the pushing and shoving began.
The Bulls tied up the game with less than two minutes gone in the second period. After some fierce battling in the Condors zone, the Bulls were able to keep the puck in the zone and Adrian Foster redirected a shot from Dylan King for his first goal of the year and tie it up at one. Then the fun started.
Adrian Foster was camping out in front of the Condors goal and was pushed into Condors goalie Tyler Bunz. Bunz didn’t take too kindly to the interference so he smacked Foster in the face. When Foster tried to defend himself, the Condors Cunningham came into protect his goalie and skirmish ensued. After some more rough housing, Dean Ouellet and Jordan Knackstedt did some dancing around and some yelling at each other that earned them both 10 minute misconducts. In the span of 30 seconds of ice time, the Bulls and Condors received 14 minutes of penalties.
At 16:50 of the second period, the Bulls scored what may have been the prettiest goal of the year. Jordan Morrison controlled the puck in the center ice and found a streaking Brett Findlay charging for the blue line. The pass ended up in Findlay’s gut and when he was able to pull it out with his hand and place it on the ground, he was already being covered heavily by a Condors defender. Out of the corner of his eye Findlay saw Tyler Gron trailing and hit him with a pinpoint pass and Gron was able get it in the goal for his third goal in two days and give the Bulls a 2-1 lead. The shots were all tied up at 18 after two and the Bulls had to be feeling good going into the locker room.
Coming out on the ice in the third, the Bulls looked a little sluggish and it was obvious in the first 5 minutes that they weren’t ready to come out and play. The Condors Wes Cunningham took a shot from the point at 2:14 that was tipped in by Ryan Watson and tied that game at 2. On a breakaway seconds later, Joel Broda was able to beat Besko with a nice shot under his glove that gave the Condors the 3-2 lead. Thirty-three seconds later after Tyler Gron was called for high sticking, Broda scored his second goal of the night off of a nice face off win from Matt Thurber and took a wicked shot through traffic and made it 4-2. The Condors then added an empty netter with less than 30 seconds to go and made it a final of 5-2.
The Bulls are now 2-10-1-0 when giving up the first goal of the game and are now 1-7 at home. Dean Ouellet who had owned the Condors going into this game (he’s scored 8 goals in 11 games) was held scoreless and only took one shot on goal.
The Bulls look to turn it around on Friday when they head to Utah to take on the Grizzlies.