Bulls lose big at home against Thunder

By: Phillip Torres and Kahlil Najar

DALY CITY-The San Francisco Bulls (12-17-3-1) hosted the Stockton Thunder (17-11-0-4) on Saturday night at the Cow Palace. Stockton defeated the Bulls 5-0 as goaltender Parker Milner pitched a shutout in the net. Saturday nights contest with the Thunder ended the five game consecutive game set between the two Pacific division rivals. The loss on Saturday was the third out of the five game set for the Bulls.

San Francisco was down early as James Henry scored at 7:58 in the first period to give Stockton the 1-0 advantage, and what figured to be the only goal they needed on the night. The Bulls could not get anything going offensively as key players Dean Ouellet and Jordan Morrison went down with injuries early.

When asked about how the team can bounce back and get a victory tomorrow night in Ontario coach Pat Curcio said jokingly, “We need five new players. “At this point we just need healthy bodies.”

Stockton would score two goals apiece in the next two periods to make it a comfortable win. Greg Miller and Lee Baldwin would score in the second period with assists form Mitch Bruijsten, Greg Miller, and Joey Martin, who assisted on both goals.

In the third period Bruijsten scored with less than one minute in to extend the lead to 4-0. Baldwin and Miller earned the assists on the score. The final goal was scored by Nathan Deck at 9:36 to put the icing on the cake. Garet Hunt earned the lone assist and Stockton sealed the game with a 5-0 victory to give them three in their past five games, all against the Bulls.

The Bulls will be back on the ice as they will face off with the Ontario Reign on Sunday at 3:00 PM in Ontario.

 

Bulls Score Three In Third, Down Thunder 4-2

Photo Courtesy Stockton Thunder
Photo Courtesy Stockton Thunder

By Kahlil Najar

STOCKTON – The San Francisco Bulls (12-16-3-1) scored three goals in the third and came back to beat the Stockton Thunder (16-11-0-4) 4-2. Tyler Gron and Eriks Sevcenko each scored a pair of goals and Steven Tarasuk contributed with a goal of his own. Tyler Beskorowany turned away 15 shots in the first and 15 over the next two periods to earn his eleventh win of the season.

Tyler Gron got the Bulls on the board first when he was able to beat Thunder goalie Brian Foster with 4:02 remaining in the first. Gron’s goals was his 13th of the season and the assists went to Eriks Sevecenko and Brett Findlay. Less than three minutes later, the Thunder tied the game up when Matt Bergland was able to beat Besko on a nice shot from the slot.

Neither team scored in the second and it seemed like the Bulls saved it all up for the third. Sevcenko, who was playing in his first game in the ECHL, scored his first career goals within a few minutes of each other on back to back penalties to the Thunder. The first goal came on a too many men on the ice penalty and the second came on a slashing penalty. The Bulls were up 3-1 with under 6 minutes left in the game when the Thunders Landon Oslanski brought it to a one goal lead again for the Bulls. However with 53 seconds left in the game, Dean Ouellet fed Tyler Gron for an empty netter and sealed the victory for the Bulls with a final score of 4-2.

The Bulls finish up their five-game series against the Thunder at home tomorrow at 7:30pm.

Larry Leavitt on Pro Hockey: Bulls have to make most of this three game weekend

by Larry Leavitt

DALY CITY–The Colorado Eagles are a top three team in the East Coast Hockey League and they proved that on Friday night with a three goal win over the San Francisco Bulls 6-3 at the Cow Palace. They’re very fast and they’re a great skating club, they have great skaters. They look like an elite team. The Bulls played sloppy and if your going to play in this league you got to have your A game you got come out there with your best.

The Bulls didn’t really come out with their best unfortunately Bulls goaltender Tyler Beskorwany he had some quick goals put on him not all of them were quick passes. So if he’s moving from side to side in the net the other team just tapped it in. Multiple goals like that by the Eagles are practiced and obviously Colorado did very well. The Bulls tried to make their come back in the second period and scored a couple and then they scored one in the third. The Bulls cut it close and then unfortunately Colorado pulled away at the end, it was a decent showing at the end.

The goals that the Bulls scored were all really good goals they really worked the puck in there and on offense I was very impressed with the play in front of the Eagles net by the Bulls at the end of the game when they were shooting at that end. They were working the puck they were working the corners there was not a lot time and space the puck was bouncing pretty well. Bulls skaters Tyler Gron and Dale Mitchell looked pretty good carrying the puck and of course it was fortunate they looked real good.

The Bulls have to keep working at it and keep the grinding into it. They need to come out with a better start because playing with a three goal deficit is really tough to come out of it. Turning the page is what you have to do as a hockey team once the last horn sounds for a game and especially in the ECHL you have back to back games. In this case back to back to back. The Bulls played Friday and Saturday and finish up Sunday afternoon at the Cow Palace.

The only other league in sports where you play that many consecutive games without a day off is professional baseball.

San Jose Sharks update: The Los Angeles Kings played a very physical game and they won the Stanley Cup a few years ago and they still have a good number of those core players there and the Sharks are a good team and their getting good goaltending from this rookie who came in Alex Stalock.

Injured left winger Tomas Hertl checked with his father in the Czech Republic that he would be out for a week to a month and that was the night of the knee injury in Los Angeles on Thursday. When an injury happens it really takes a couple days for things to settle down to observe the full extent. I would expect this injury to Hertl to last a couple of months.

If the knee is torn or ripped he’ll be out awhile but if it’s just a bruise it might be three or four weeks and then you have to get into hockey shape of working out to get the game speed. As far as the hit by the Los Angeles Kings Dustin Brown on the knee on knee injury it’s amazing no matter who you ask that Brown should have been thrown out of that game.

Brown has done this multiple times to players and if this was a legal hit it’s unfortunate and it worked and the poor guy is getting blamed for something terrible. I’ve been skating for 40 years and if your making a left turn and your on your inside edge on your right foot you should be inward and and it was not on his inside edge and his knee wasn’t inward which tells me that he was trying to go right at Hertl.

Larry Leavitt does Pro Hockey commentary each week for Sportstalk Radio

A Moving Target: Survival in the Minors

By Mary Walsh

SAN FRANCISCO- You have to approach an ECHL game like there is no tomorrow. As a player, you could be injured out and never play again. Tonight. As a fan, your favorite player could be moved without any warning rumors at all, your significant other who you just followed across the country could be traded again, before you’ve even finished unpacking.

Minor leagues demand a “pack light” mentality, like hitching cross-country: you move a great deal but your feet rarely leave the earth. It is bracing, fleeting, unpredictable and mostly without a safety net.

There are things like teddy bear tosses and Chuck-a-Puck, activities that depend on everyone being pretty darn close to the ice.

The roster will change at a rapid-fire pace that can frustrate a fan who wants to get attached to this or that player. The team will be open with the press about injuries, because hey, anyone watching the game saw what happened. The players make appearances at public places to sign autographs, instead of donor dinners.

While many teams make an effort to put some glitz into the show, you don’t go to a minor league hockey game for the bright  splashy spectacle. You are there for the same reason the players and the coaches are there: you all like hockey.

The players don’t get paid enviable amounts of money. You can’t yell at them that they’re a drag on the team’s cap space. If you get mad it’s just over the principle of the thing, he made a dumb decision or took a selfish penalty. But when you throw eggs, you’re not throwing very high up the ladder. They don’t park their cars in hidden garages or come and go from the arena through a secured parking lot. They have their private space but it isn’t so very far away from you that you expect to see guys with earpieces following them around. They are just guys playing because they love the game.

Some might have hopes for bigger things, a call up, an NHL contract. But right now, in this game, that aspiration is just a gamble. They are here, now. All there is is today’s game.

Many tomorrows from now, they could still be here, in the ECHL or the AHL, grinding out a living with their bodies and their skill and their attachment to the game. Some have degrees and plans for when it is over, others might not. All here, now, for your entertainment and a shared love of a sport, ice, speed and team.

As investments, sports at any level are a gamble, but minor league teams are notorious for existing on the edge of extinction. As hair raising as that is for management and owners, it is the stuff of great stories. The blood of the underdog runs through the veins of such teams, through the leagues even. From top to bottom, survival is a question, not something anyone takes for granted.

In the bigger markets, fans can become more fierce and demanding but it is still about the game, not some multimillion dollar contract paid to an unworthy player. There is one point of envy a fan might take away, and that is loving what you do. Surely players get sick of riding buses around for days on end, or being in physical pain year round, having to move cross-country at the drop of a hat. Many people do all that without getting to play hockey or do anything at all that they enjoy. Still, this type of compensation is pretty discreet. It doesn’t blind you like sunlight reflected off the tinted windshield of a new luxury car.

That is why movies like the minors so much. Everything about them is suspenseful. The players take all the risks and reap only a tiny share of the rewards that a big league player does. Whether an arena is packed or sparsely attended, a minor league game is a moving thing. Particularly in the Western U.S., where hockey is still scrambling for a share of the sports fanbase, an ECHL game is unpretentious and sincere in a way that no major league game could ever be. No one is there for the spectacle, they are there for the hockey, the pure, unrefined kind. No replays, no repeats, just this game now.

SF Bulls acquire Kyle Bodie from Cyclones

Kyle_Bodie_action_2

By Kahlil Najar

SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Bulls have announced today that forward Kyle Bodie has been acquired from the Cincinnati Cyclones in exchange for future considerations.

The 6-foot, 180-pound Bodie, 25, is in his first professional season with the Cyclones and has recorded a goal and an assist in seven games.

In 2011-12 and 2012-13 at Union College, Bodie helped lead them to back-to-back ECAC titles. In his junior and senior seasons, Bodie was in the top five in scoring on the team with 30 points and 33 points, respectively. In 122 games with Union, Bodie totaled 85 points (28 goals, 57 assists). Following his final season with Union, he earned the Coaches’ Award at the Senior Banquet.

Larry Levitt on Pro Hockey

by Larry Levitt
DALY CITY–The off ice officials in the ECHL have a very difficult job and when your working behind the net as a goal judge it is tough because you get so immersed in the game you got to remember what your job is and that’s to watch that goal line and watch that puck. It is very exciting down there your right on top of the action I’ve done it a few times.
Any seat around the rink watching a San Francisco Bulls game your right on top of the action and at the Cow Palace your not too far away from the rink so come on down and enjoy the Bulls. Opening night on Friday night is always a good special time and Bulls owner, president, general manager, head coach Pat Curcio wears a lot of hats and I hope he’s ready for the home games after opening night.
Curcio has a lot of dignitaries here at the Cow Palace he’s got San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee here to drop the ceremonial puck and I’m sure some of the investors were at the game Friday as opening night was a big night. So Curcio has to be the general manager and head coach it’s tough just to coach a team but also to be involved in the planning with the parties and all of the events and all the dignitaries it’s going to be tough but Curcio can handle it.
The Bulls play the Stockton Thunder on Monday night and their an interesting team their coach got hired away from the team, the general manager got hired away from the team and half the front office staff got hired away from the Thunder. They did make it away from the ECHL finals against the west coast versus the east unfortunately they didn’t win the finals but they showed a lot of people how good they were.That showed caused a lot of people to turn their heads and look their way and to hire them away.
Tough run for San Jose: Starting with last Tuesday’s loss to the Buffalo Sabers, unfortunately with Buffalo they didn’t even start playing until the third period by then it was too late they did tie it up to get into overtime in the shootout but lost in the shootout and they had a weird goal taken away and not even credited to them.
The league made a huge mistake by not owning up to the mistake and saying “we missed that one lets move on” instead they used the intent of the whistle blow which is a way to cover your rear. Unfortunately it’s over, it’s done. They should have come out against Vancouver and played harder. They really had a flat game the puck was bouncing like crazy in that game.
It just wouldn’t settle down for the Sharks but if a Vancouver stick would touch it it could be as flat as could be and it could go right down the ice. Sometimes a puck would go misdirected but there were a lot of poor decisions. A lot of mistakes and bad passes in your defensive zone which turned it over right to the Vancouver Canucks.
He put it right in the net and Antti Niemi the Sharks goaltender and usually you can count on him to take over when you make those stupid mistakes he wasn’t there and he just didn’t show up. The two brightest things we could take out of that Vancouver game was the fourth line played exceptionally well. They controlled the pace of the play, they controlled the puck every time they were out there.
Larry Levitt does commentary each week on Pro Hockey

San Francisco Bulls add 6’8″ Riley Emerson to lineup

Guess which one Riley is..
Guess which one Riley is..

By Kahlil Najar

SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Bulls announced today the signing of forward Riley Emmerson. At 6-foot, 8-inches, he becomes the tallest player in Bulls history. The Vancouver, British Columbia native spent last season with the Missouri Mavericks of the Central Hockey League. There, he ranked second on the team with 95 penalty minutes in 55 games, adding five goals and an assist.

“Riley adds a whole new dimension to this team” said SF Bulls President and Head Coach Pat Curcio. “At 6-8, he can use his size in front of the net effectively and will be a physical force on the ice.”

Emmerson was drafted in 2005 by the Minnesota Wild and since then he has been a bit of journeyman playing in the ECHL three times, the AHL twice and the WHL and CHL each for one season.

Check out some highlights from his 2012 season with Toledo Walleyes.

(Bonus points for the fan in the stands with the Dino Cicarelli Minnesota North Stars jersey!)

Aces Shut the Bulls Down 5-0

By Mary Walsh

ANCHORAGE- 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.

San Francisco looked sharp to start the game. Things looked bright when Dale Mitchell had a great opportunity on a breakaway. Aces goaltender Joni Ortio was ready for him and thwarted the Bulls’ best chance to take an early lead.

A lapse in defensive focus gave the Aces a 3 on 2 and the 1-0 lead at 10:01 of the first. The goal was scored by Jordan Kremyr, with assists to Dustin Molle and Tommy Mele. That goal took the wind out of the Bulls and they too much time trapped in their own zone. They finished the period credited with only two shots on goal to Alaska’s 17.

The second period got interesting quickly when Dylan King took a boarding penalty while the Bulls were already killing Luke Judson‘s hooking penalty. Kris BelanScott Langdon and Kyle Bigos valiantly killed off a 5 on 3 that lasted for over a minute. Judson came out of the box at the end of his penalty and helped them clear the zone. The Bulls killed off the rest of the penalty and within a couple of shifts seemed invigorated by that success.

Defenseman Kyle Bigos was assigned to the Bulls by the AHL Worcester Sharks. He was conspicuous during the troubled second period, making a number of critical interceptions and clears for his team. Bulls goaltender Tyler Beskorowany doesn’t leave a lot of dangerous rebounds but it was a good sign that Bulls skaters were there to clean them up anyway.

The Bulls were taking too many penalties in the period, and it cost them when the Aces scored on their third power play of the period. That power play goal scored by Evan Trupp, with assists to Peter Sivak and Zach Davies.

Ironically, the Bulls more than doubled their first period shot total during the first half of the second period. They finally earned a power play at 11:58 of the period. It did not start out well as the Bulls let Aces center Nick Mazzolini break the other way unfettered. Narrowly escaping another goal against, the Bulls held the zone for the rest of the power play. They came close but lacked polish and didn’t score. Less than two minutes later, the Bulls were on the penalty kill again, this time with Jordan Morrison in the box. The Bulls killed off the penalty and responded with some good offensive rushes. Still they didn’t score and by the end of the period it was evident that they’d spent too much time short-handed. They had lost a step, but they had also outshot the Aces 8-6 in the period.

The Aces jumped into the third period with an early goal, a second for Evan Trupp off a cross-crease pass from Peter Sivak. As if killing penalties were the Bulls’ theme of the night, Mark Lee went to the box at 4:51 for cross-checking. Before that ended, Brett Parnham was called for the same and the Bulls were down two men. The team survived that but did not make it through their next penalty, Alaska’s seventh power play of the game. That put the Bulls in a 4-0 hole. Alaska’s fourth goal was scored by B.J. Crum, with assists to Sivak and Mazzolini.

A power play at 10:20 of the third gave the Bulls some energy. Alaska seemed to sit back on their four goal lead, still able to frustrate the Bulls’ offense. In the last two minutes of the game, Zach Davies took advantage of Scott Langdon’s errant pass up the boards and scored the Aces’ fifth goal.

The Bulls finished the game on the penalty kill. Sullivan Arena played “All By Myself” while Chris Crane went to the box. To make matters worse, the refs gave Crane four minutes for his high stick.

Scoring summary: Alaska: Jordan Kremyr (Molle, Mele) 11:59, Evan Trupp(PPG, Sivak, Davies) 9:57, Trupp (Sivak, Mazzolini) 1:47, B.J. Crum (PPG Sivak, Mazzolini) 7:55, Zach Davies (Sivak) 18:02. Alaska killed 3 of 3 penalties. Joni Ortio made 17 saves for the win. 

San Francisco killed 7 of 9 penalties and Tyler Beskorowany made 34 saves on 39 shots for San Francisco.

The Bulls play next in Idaho, on Wednesday at 6:10 PT. Listen on KNBR.com or watch on AmericaOneSports.com. The team’s full schedule can be found on their website.

Beskorowany Shines In Bulls’ Road Start

By Mary Walsh

San Francisco’s penalty kill was impressive in their first meeting with the Alaska Aces, but it is safe to say that goaltender Tyler Beskorowany stole the game for the Bulls. The final score was 2-1 Bulls, but the official shot clock favored Alaska 45-19. Beskorowany outdid himself. It was almost unsettling to watch him turn away shot after shot, including all but one of the breakaways that the Bulls allowed. “How good is this goalie?” one observer asked Bulls’ broadcaster  Jason Lockhart during intermission. Beskorowany answered that question during long stretches of sustained Alaska offense. The Bulls’ goals were scored very early (Jordan Morrison from Scott Langdon 2:22 into the first) and late (Brett Parnham from Dale Mitchell and Mark Lee 13:44 into the third) in the game. In the meantime, the Bulls’ new goaltender was that good. Really, that good.

The Bulls faced Beskorowany four times last season, and he was memorable for more than his name. The Bulls scored four times against him in their first meeting, but didn’t come close to that again for the rest of the season. In their final meeting, the goalie shut the Bulls out. No wonder Bulls President Pat Curcio was happy to sign the big goaltender for this season.

No goaltender is infallible, he will have off nights, he will be unlucky at times. Even with a goaltender who makes a spectacular start, it is critical for the rest of the team to do their part. Early in the season, after relatively little time to practice together, it is to be expected that the Bulls will have some communication glitches to sort out. Those glitches were most evident in their defensive schemes. The team allowed multiple breakaways and failed to hold the zone at inopportune times, sometimes doing both at once. Their Friday performance suggested that the team wasn’t reading each other very well, yet the Bulls killed all five penalties assigned to them. In that, fans can find hope. The team does know how to defend, they just need to smooth the edges between offense and defense.

Starting the season with an 18 day road trip is taxing in many ways, and some will downplay the team bonding value of such a trip. For an ECHL team, it really is a significant inconvenience. They don’t leave ice at home for players to practice on (see Grand National Rodeo schedule), and they can’t travel with the whole roster. Still, no one denies that a road trip has value for team chemistry. Playing in multiple arenas, being thrown together in transit and training, at work and at rest, all of this will give the Bulls plenty of time to communicate.

Starting the season against arguably the best opponent in the west is a blistering trial by fire for the team. On the plus side, several Bulls ended last season against the Aces, so the formidable opponent is familiar. Either way, winning on such steeply tilted ice as the Bulls did in their first game is something to be proud of. A win is a win. Bulls fans can look forward to seeing less harrowing wins if the team sorts out their defensive cues.

Late goal sinks the Bulls, Condors win 3-2

By Kahlil Najar

SAN FRANCISCO –

The San Francisco Bulls started off their second year in the ECHL with a tough preseason loss against the Bakersfield Condors 3-2. The Condors scored the their third and deciding goal with less than 30 seconds left when Gary Steffes put a rebound in after a tilt-a-whirl shot from Nick Wheeler was stopped by J.P. Anderson.

“You try to do everything you can to end up winning but you can’t. We made a lot of mistakes and so did they but we’re just going to learn from it.” said Head Coach Pat Curcio on tonight’s loss. “We wanted to give some of the young guys a chance and it’s a process and that’s the way it goes. You start slow.”

Returning players Dylan King and Kris Belan scored for the Bulls and OHL alum J.P. Anderson was between the pipes and was able to turn away 30 shots against an active Condor offense.

Defenseman Dylan King got the Bulls on the board first when he received a nice pass from Christian Ouellet from behind the next and he was able to beat Condor’s goalie Tyler Bunz top shelf. A little over 30 seconds later, Kris Belan was able to get a nice shot past Bunz from in between the circles in the Condors zone and make it a 2-0 Bulls lead. The Condor’s answered back with two consecutive goals in the second by Daniel Sobotka and Blair Maccaulay to tie the game at two a piece. The second goal being a short-handed masterpiece by the Condors stellar penalty kill line. The Condors sealed the victory with a nice rebound goal by Gary Steffes who shoved the puck under the sprawling Anderson.

The Bulls have a 22 man roster and a lot of them are young guys trying to earn a shot on the team. On putting the young players in the game, Curcio said “We want to see what their abilities are and who can do what.” Curcio continued and called out the play of Right Winger Dale Mitchell and said that he was” very good tonight. He’s going to be a good player for us.”

Also on the roster tonight was Anthony Taylor who earned a spot on the roster after wowing Curico and the Bulls staff at last month’s Open Tryout’s at the Cow Palace. “It was a great experience and it was very good hockey. I really liked the fans, they seemed really cool” said Taylor on stepping onto the Cow Palace ice for an official game. Curcio commented on Taylor’s and gave us a look into his future, “I thought he’s done a good job through training camp. We’re going to get him assigned to a Southern Professional team or Central League team where he can get his feet wet. He’s a young player and if he does well, we’ll give him another opportunity.”

The Bulls return to action on Saturday to host the Stockton Thunder at 7:30 pm at the Cow Palace.