The Bulls return to action tonight as they travel to Alaska to take on the first place Aces. The Bulls at 15-20-5 come in with a tough task as find themselves 29 points behind the Aces who are 31-10-2.
The last time these two teams met was back at the beginning of the season when the Aces took all three games of that weekend series. Bulls leading scoring Peter Sivak looks to extend his goal scoring streak to an impressive seven straight games as he looks to drive the Bulls offense against a tough Alaska defense. The Aces come in to tonight’s contest possessing the league lead in the allowing the fewest goals. That has been the major cog in Alaska’s success on the season as they are able to clamp down on the opposing teams. The Bulls will be hard press to produce offensively against this tough test.
The Bulls are riding the momentum of taking two of three from their Northern California rival the Stockton Thunder. The Bulls offense has been driving the play a lot recently, but they just have not had the tallies on the scoreboard to show for it. The that last two games saw the Bulls score nine goals in two games.
They have been led offensively by Peter Sivak who is tied for the team lead in goals and assists. te hot play has seen him overtake Dean Ouellet for the team lead in points. Defensively, goalie Taylor Nelson has bounced back from his two game nightmare that saw him pulled early in the second period for two straight games. Nelson stepped up his play by stopping 56 of 60 shots faced in the previous two games and the Bulls will need him this weekend if they want to have any shot at the upset this weekend. The Bulls penalty kill is still the strongest unit on the team as of late and they look to keep it that way as the Aces power play unit is an easier task that what the Bulls had just faced.
The Aces come in as one of the best defensive teams in the league. The have allowed the fewest goals at 108 goals in 43 games played for a two and half goals per game average. The Aces goaltender Mark Guggenbeger has been solid all season long as he ranks second in wins and fourth in goals allowed average. He is a solid goaltender, but a large part of his success is due to the lack of shots he faces due to his defense.
The Aces also boast a top three penalty kill unit that has been successful 85.2 percent of the time. Offensively, The Aces are no slouch as well. They average 3.3 goals per game as an offense. They are led by forward Nick Mazzolini, who is second in the league with 24 goals and top ten in total points with 43. The Bulls will have their hands plenty full with the league’s best team and I believe they will be in trouble going into the weekend as they just do not play well away from the Cow Palace.