Bulls wrangled in by Thunder, lose 5-1

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by Kahlil Najar

STOCKTON– The San Francisco Bulls (4-8-1-1) were defeated by the Stockton Thunder (8-4-0-1), 5-1. Rob Linsmayer scored the lone goal for the Bulls in the loss.

Stockton took the lead in the first on two unanswered goals in the first by the Thunders James Henry and Landon Oslanski. The second period saw the Bulls try and attack the net more however their motives were thwarted by goalie Brian Foster who after this win improved his record to 7-0-1. Ryan Constant scored the Thunders third goal at 8:48 and caused the Bulls to remove Tyler Beskorowany from the net and put in J.P. Anderson.

Even with Anderson in net, the Thunder continued their onslaught as Matt Bergland scored at 7:51 and James Henry scored his second of the game with 9:56 left in regulation to put Stockton up 5-0. The Bulls Linsmayer tapped in a goal with a little less than two minutes left in the game to squash the shut out bid and brought the finally tally to 5-1 in favor of the Thunder.

The Bulls return home on Friday to take on the Utah Grizzlies for Ghirardelli Chocolate Night.

Bulls losing streak builds to three, Reign win 3-1

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By Kahlil Najar

SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Bulls (4-7-1-1) lost to the Ontario Reign (9-1-1-3) 3-1 which brings their losing streak to three games. Sunday afternoon at the Cow Palace. The Bulls took a season high 9 shots on goal but were only able to find the back of the goal once by Chris Crane.

“Our five-on-five hockey, we’re exactly what we want to be. A blue collar, hard-working team. I feel like right now we’re just struggling to score. It’s been our story all year. I feel like we’re doing everything we’re supposed to do. It’s our special teams, if we could get one more power play goal and prevent one more goal against on the penalty kill,” said Head Coach Pat Curcio on the teams struggles.

The Ontario Reign got on the board first when Dan DaSilva was able to strip the puck from the Bulls and managed to get the puck past Tyler Beskorowany for a shorthanded goal and make it a 1-0 Ontario lead.

The second period saw a total of 17 penalties which led to a lot of 5-on-3 and 4-on-4 opportunities for each team and Ontario was able to capitalize. On a 5-on-3 power play, Cameron Burt smacked a one-timer from the blue line that beat Tyler Beskorowany and brought the Ontario lead to two.

The Bulls struck back in the third when Chris Crane as able to shove the puck home after a Mark Lee shot from the point was turned away. Dean Ouellet, who was held pointless in yesterday’s game earned an assist and brought his point total to six on the year. Ontario’s Adrian Van de Mosselaer scored the insurance goal with 9:58 remaining in regulation and sealed the Bulls three game losing streak.

The Bulls next take on the Stockton Thunder at Stockton Arena on Wednesday at 7 pm.

Lee scores late in the third to give Bulls the win 3-2

Photo courtesy SF Bulls

By Kahlil Najar

STOCKTON – San Francisco Bull Forward Mark Lee scored on a nice feed from Chris Crane with 2:52 remaining in the third period to give the Bulls (4-5-1-0) their fourth win of the season and sink the Thunder (6-3-0-0) 3-2. Starting goalie Tyler Beskorowany had another great game in goal as he stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced. For the Thunder, Nathan Deck and Andrew Clark each contributed a goal and an assist and standout goalie Milner stopped 33 of 36 shots. The 36 shots for the Bulls tied their season high of shots on goal.

The Thunder got on the board first when after penalties to Belan and Bowman put them on a 5-on-3 power play and Andrew Clark was able to hit a one-timer past the stick side of Beskorowany. With a little over three minutes left in the first, the Bulls answered with their own power play goal from Chris Crane who deflected a shot from Defensemen Kyle Bigos past the Rookie Milner to make it 1-1 at the end of one.

The second period started off rough for the Thunder as Hayes and Deck both received penalties within the first two minutes and gave the Bulls a 5-on-3 power play. The Bulls were able to capitalize on the Thunder’s mistakes as center Dean Ouellet tapped in a rebound on a shot by defenseman Collin Bowman to give the Bulls a 2-1 lead.

In the third, Thunder Defenseman Nathan Deck tied the game at two a piece when on a power play he received a pass from Andrew Clark who was able to find him in the slot. Five minutes later Chris Crane stole the puck behind the net and fed Lee, who scored the game winner and make it a 3-2 final score.

The Bulls head home for a three game set against the Idaho Steelheads this weekend with the first game this Friday at 7:30 pm.

Bulls Lose In Overtime to Steelheads 3-2

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By Kahlil Najar

BOISE, Idaho

The San Francisco Bulls lost a tough one to the Idaho Steelheads, 3-2, in overtime. Chris Crane and Dale Mitchell scored for the Bulls, while Tyler Beskorowany stopped 39 shots in the loss.

Both teams were quiet through two periods and waited until the third period to get themselves on the board. In the third period Idaho got a power-play goal from William Rapuzzi at 1:25. The Bulls answered back with a power-play goal of their own when Chris Cane took a shot from the faceoff circle at 8:25. Less than 5 minutes later, Dale Mitchell scored on a one-timer from the slot and made it a 2-1 lead for the Bulls. On another power play and with an empty net, Anthony Nigro found the back of the net with only 18.6 seconds left on the clock. In overtime, Nigro was the hero again as he put the puck past Beskorowany to give the Steelheads the victory.

The Bulls head to Utah to take on the Grizzlies this Friday at 6:05pm.

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.

San Francisco Bulls announce Opening Day roster

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by Kahlil Najar

SAN FRANCISCO –

The San Francisco Bulls announced today their Opening Day Roster. The new roster consists of  two goaltenders (Tyler Beskorowany and J.P. Anderson), seven defensemen (Kyle Bigos, Andrew Eastman, Josh Kidd, Dylan King, Damon Kipp, Scott Langdon and Steven Tarasuk) and 11 forwards (Kris Belan, Chris Crane, Brett Findlay, Luke Judson, Mark Lee, Ryan McDonough, Dale Mitchell, Jordan Morrison, Christian Ouellet, Dean Ouellet and Brett Parnham).

There is some veteran leadership coming back as there are seven players returning for the Bulls: King, Langdon, Belan, Findlay, Morrison, C. Ouellet and D. Ouellet. Last years top goal scorer Peter Sivak is not on this years roster as he signed with the Alaska Aces this off-season and will face off against his former team in the first game of the season this Friday in Anchorage.