By Emily Zahner
ANCHORAGE, AK - The San Francisco Bulls (17-21-1-4) battled back from a third-period deficit to take the rubber match from the Western Conference-leading Alaska Aces (32-11-1-2), 3-2 in overtime. Peter Sivak tied the game on the power play in the third period before winning it in overtime. Taylor Nelson stopped 38 shots to help the Bulls take two out of three games from Alaska.
Dean Ouellet gave the Bulls a 1-0 lead at 7:46 in a high pressured first period with his 19th goal of the season. D. Ouellet went forehand to backhand to put the puck under Alaska’s Mark Guggenberger’s glove into the back of the net. Peter Sivak and Scott Langdon received assists on the goal. Nelson turned away 14 shots from the Aces in the first. The Aces went 0-for-2 on the power play.
The Aces came out on fire in the second period. Shawn Skelly slipped one by Nelson just nine seconds into the period to tie the game up at 1-1. San Francisco got into penalty trouble early in the second; Christian Ouellet served a double minor for interference and unsportsmanlike conduct. The Bulls penalty kill and Nelson stood strong and the Aces were unable to capitalize on their four-minute man advantage. Alaska kept pressing, and Jarred Smith put a loose rebound past Nelson at 9:29 of the second to give the Aces their first lead of the game, 2-1.
San Francisco jumped on the Aces early in the third period. Sivak earned his 19th goal of the season on the power play at 3:18 to tie the game at 2-2. Cody Carlson and Christian Ouellet received assists on the goal. Nelson stopped all 11 shots he faced in the third period. Three periods of regulation would not be enough to solve this contest, and San Francisco and Alaska sent the game to overtime.
The Aces hit the cross bar early in extra time, which had to be reviewed and determined no goal. After the Bulls net was knocked loose, San Francisco broke out in the other direction, and D. Ouellet sent the puck towards the net. Sivak tipped it past Guggenberger for the game winner at 2:21 of overtime
The Bulls take on the Stockton Thunder Wednesday at Stockton Arena before returning home Thursday, the last Thirsty Thursday of the season. On Thursday, January 31, the Bulls host the Ontario Reign at 7:15 pm at the Cow Palace. At select concessions, 12-ounce draft domestic beers are half off.
Bulletins: Peter Sivak has scored both of the Bulls’ overtime goals…Christian Ouellet totaled four points on the weekend (3 goals, 1 assist)…The Bulls were out-shot 40-26…The Bulls were 1-for-2 on the power play, while the Aces were 0-for-4…The Bulls earned their second victory when trailing after two periods.