The Bulls lose big to the Thunder as Stockton dominates from the drop of the puck to earn the four to zero victory. The Bulls could not muster any offense as they were dominated on the scoreboard and the shot chart. Thunder goalie Olivier Roy followed up his one goal performance on Friday with 34 save shut out over the Bulls. The Thunder were led Gabriel Levesque with a two goal night. Taylor Nelson let in 4 goals in the first 23 minutes and was pulled for Thomas Heemskerk, who was a perfect 22 saves on 22 shots in relief. Tensions erupted in the third period as 10 men squared off during a brawl that marred the period. The Bulls finished with 73 penalty minutes on the night as the teams combined for 144.
The Bulls would find themselves in a familiar hole as they would under constant attack from the Thunder offense. Gabriel Levesque would kick off the scoring with his sixth goal of the season as he beat Nelson at the 5:34 mark of the period. The Thunder would double their lead just 42 seconds later as Eric Hunter would net his 16th of the season. The Bulls would get an opportunity to get back into the game as Ryan Green was called for hooking sending the Bulls on the power play, but Thunder goalie Olivier Roy was stout as he kept the Bulls scoreless. The Thunder out shot the Bulls 18 to 13.
The Thunder put this one away early with two quick goals at the beginning of the period. Matt Bergland picked up the trash in the crease at just 1:13 into the period for his seventh of the season giving the Thunder a three goal lead. Jordan Clendenning took a penalty for goalie interference giving the Thunder an early power play chance. Gabriel Levesque would cap off his night by scoring his second of the night on the power play. Bulls’ coach Pat Curcio decided he had seen enough as he pulled Taylor Nelson in favor Thomas Heemskerk. Heemskerk would end up saving all 11 shots faced in the rest of the period. Thunder out shot the Bulls 16 to 13 in the period.
The chippy play would pick up as the Bulls looked to send a message that they were not going to back down and tried to build some energy and momentum for Sunday’s game. Midway through the third period Cody Carlson threw a check at Gabriel Levesque and that was enough for tempers to finally burst as all 10 players on the ice erupted in a brawl. Five individual fights broke out simultaneously and the final tally was the initial cross check penalty, 10 fighting majors, and eight game misconducts and ejections. The Bulls loss Cody Carlson, Jordan Clendenning, Hans Benson, and Dylan King. The Thunder loss Maxime Boisclair, Tony DeHart, Gabriel Levesque, and Matt Reber. The altercation added up to total of 132 penalty minutes for the two teams. The Thunder out shot the Bulls 11 to eight in the period and 45 to 34 on the night.
The Bulls were in trouble from the start as the Thunder had all the jump from the start. Nelson’s poor performance in net tonight dug the Bulls into a hole that they could never climb out of. The Thunder had a two goal performance from Gabriel Levesque and added goals from Eric Hunter and Matt Bergland. Thomas Heemskerk came in and was fantastic in mop up duty as he saved all 22 shots he faced in the evening. The third period brawl killed any chance of a Bulls late come back as it led to the ejection of four plays from each team. It will be interesting to see how the brawl carries over into the second game. After tonight’s loss the Bulls fall to 19-26-7 on the season and the Thunder improve to 26-20-9. The Bulls still lead the season series 5-3-1. The two teams meet Sunday at 2:15 pm as they move over to the Cow Palace for game two of the weekend series.
- Olivier Roy – Stockton
- Gabriel Levesque – Stockton
- Matt Reber – Stockton