By Emily Zahner
After an amazing third-period comeback, the San Francisco Bulls (17-23-1-6) concluded the season series against the Western Conference leading Ontario Reign (35-11-1-2) on a high note, coming away with a point after forcing overtime and a shootout. The Bulls ultimately were edged 4-3 in a shootout, Friday at Citizens Business Bank Arena. The Bulls were down 3-0 midway through the third period, but goals from Dean Ouellet, Jordan Morrison, and Cody Carlson stunned the Reign and took the game to overtime.
The first period was a battle of the netminders, and both San Francisco’s Taylor Nelson and Ontario’s Chris Carrozzi were up to the challenge. The Reign out-shot the Bulls 11-7, but were not able to get anything past Nelson, who has started and performed well in every game since 2013. Just 38 seconds into his return to the roster, Marek Viedensky was sent to the penalty box for boarding. After Alex Tuckerman’s minor holding call at 7:33, Scott Langdon and Derek Couture dropped the gloves behind the Bulls net. The Bulls were 2-for-2 on the penalty kill in the first.
San Francisco came out on fire in the second, posting a flurry of shots on Carrozzi. On a break the other way, Kyle Kraemer lost the puck off his stick and managed to slide the puck past Nelson to put the Reign on the board 1-0. Kraemer’s goal was assisted by C.J. Stretch and Derek Couture at 6:08. Ontario’s Brady Calla was tripped up on a goal scoring opportunity and earned a penalty shot, but Nelson turned the shot away to keep the Bulls within one. The Reign out-shot the Bulls the first two periods, 17-13.
Starting off strong once again, the Bulls quickly matched the Reign for shots in the third. A two-man break away for Ontario saw Nelson stop the initial shot, but was unable to stop Kevin Estrada from tapping in the rebound. Kraemer scored his second goal of the night on another breakaway minutes later. The Bulls weren’t going down easily, and Dean Ouellet cut the lead to 3-1 with his 23rd goal of the season with 8:36 remaining in regulation. Christian Ouellet picked up the loan assist on D. Ouellet’s goal. Jordon Morrison poked in his 12th goal of the season to put the Bulls within reach, 3-2. Alex Tuckerman earned the assist on the goal. With 39 seconds left in the third period, Cody Carlson tied the game at 3-3 and sent the game to overtime.
Matching unsportsmanlike conduct penalties to Kris Belan and Derek Couture at the end of regulation sent both men to the box and began the overtime period 3-on-3. Neither team was able to score and the Bulls and Reign went to a shootout. Cody Carlson and Dean Ouellet scored in the shootout, but after seven rounds, the Reign came out on top. Taylor Nelson stopped 4 of 7 shots he faced.
The Bulls begin their brief two-game home-stand against the Bakersfield Condors tomorrow night. The puck drops tonight Saturday at 7:15 and 2:15 on Sunday. San Francisco will be wearing specialty San Jose Sharks-themed teal jerseys. These commemorative jerseys will be raffled and auctioned off, during and after the games. Get your tickets now at SFBulls.com.
Bulletins: The Bulls were 2-for-2 on the penalty kill. Scott Langdon dropped the gloves with Derek Couture in the first period…Marek Viedensky returned to the roster…The Bulls now have three shootout loses against Ontario.
SF Bulls Season Tickets start at less than $12 per seat and include the first four games of the Kelly Cup Playoffs, savings on parking, and special invitations to “Meet The Team” and Chalk Talk Events. Individual tickets are now on sale. Click here to find out more or call 415-469-9843.
About the ECHL
The ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states. Today, the league has 23 teams in 16 states. The ECHL celebrates its 25th Anniversary in 2012-13 and is the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League. The ECHL has had 234 players reach the NHL over the last seven seasons. It’s the primary developmental league for the NHL and the AHL. On opening day of the 2011-12, 83 former ECHL players were on NHL rosters. The ECHL teams are divided into the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. All teams play a 72-game schedule. For more information please visit http://www.echl.com/