By Charles Richards
BOISE, Idaho – Tristan King scored in regulation, and in the shootout to victimize his former team, and help the San Francisco Bulls (20-28-1-6) defeat the Idaho Steelheads (35-15-1-5) 4-3, Saturday night at CenturyLink Arena. Taylor Nelson made 40 saves, and stopped all three Idaho shootout attempts in the victory. Bryan Cameron and Simon Danis-Pepin also scored their first goals as members of the Bulls. The Bulls’ win coupled with the Bakersfield Condors’ loss in regulation gives the Bulls a six-point cushion for the final playoff spot.
The Steelheads exerted their home dominance over the Bulls in the first period. San Francisco was out-shot 18-6 in the opening period, and almost escaped to the dressing room unscathed. Mike Towns scored for Idaho with 41 seconds remaining in the period on a back-hand shot that just squeaked through the pads of Nelson. David Toews picked up the lone assist on the goal.
The Bulls scored twice in the second period, both equalizing the score. Danis-Pepin scored his first goal in a San Francisco sweater at 3:21 of the period to tie the game at one. Danis-Pepin’s wrist shot cleanly beat goaltender Josh Robinson. Dean Ouellet picked up the only assist on the play. Idaho took the lead back at 9:32, only four seconds after the Bulls had killed a penalty for too many men on the ice. Tyler Gron scored for the 12th time this season from Brett Robinson. Cameron scored his 16th goal of the season on the power play with 3:48 left in the second period to tie the game at two. Rob Kwiet and T. King assisted on the goal.
King scored his 19th goal against his former team with 9:01 left in the third period to break the tie. King followed up his initial shot, and buried the rebound that kicked out to him leaving Robinson without a chance. Jordan Morrison and D. Ouellet earned the assists on the play. The Bulls could not hold the lead while skating 4-on-4. Gron scored his second goal of the game on a back-hand shot that beat Nelson with 1:54 remaining in the third period. Jeremie Blain and Ian Watters assisted on the game-tying goal.
The game went to overtime, but neither team could find a game-winning goal in the extra period. In the shootout, Cameron, D. Ouellet and King all scored for the Bulls, while Nelson stopped attempts by Gron, Sam Carrick, and B. Robinson.
The Bulls continue their six-game road trip next Tuesday when they travel to Utah, Colorado, and then Las Vegas. San Francisco returns home to the Cow Palace on March 6 to take on the Alaska Aces. Follow along on KNBR.com and AmericaOneSports.com.
Bulletins: Scott Langdon dropped the gloves with Mike Towns in the first period…Idaho out-shot the Bulls 43-38…The season series between San Francisco and Idaho is tied at three wins each…The Bulls went 1-for-5 on the power play. Idaho was 0-for-5 on the man-advantage…It was Taylor Nelson’s first shootout victory…Dean Ouellet improved to 4-for-7 in the shootout this season.
1. Tyler Gron (IDH)
2. Tristan King (SF)
3. Mike Towns (IDH)