The Bulls get back to playing hockey tonight as they take on the Alaska in game two of their three game series. The Aces took game one two to one, despite the efforts of Thomas Heemskerk as he turned aside 43 of the 45 shots he faced on the evening. The Bulls (21-32-7) still sit five points behind Utah for the seventh seed, while the Aces (44-12-6) maintain their hold over first place as they sit six points ahead of Ontario. A couple of roster changes from the Bulls as they acquired forward Nick Walsh from Gwinnett to complete the Justin Bowers trade. The other change is goalie Thomas Heemskerk earning his first NHL call up as he replaces the injured Thomas Greiss as the back up.
The Bulls had a great game defensively as they held the best team in the league to just two goals as Thomas Heemskerk was fantastic and was the sole reason his team was kept in the game. Heemskerk saved 43 shots on the night, including a 21 save first period. Yanni Gourde had the only goal for the Bulls on the night as he earned his fifth point in as many games. Other than Gourde, the rest of the team struggled as they could never solve the Alaska goalie. The power play still lacks any punch as they went zero for four on the night. They are hoping the addition of Nick Walsh can help spark the team in some way. Walsh had five points in 20 games for Gwinnett and 19 points in 32 games with the Mississippi RiverKings of the Southern Professional Hockey League this season, his first full year of professional hockey. Last Year, Walsh completed his career at Dartmouth where he finished with 48 points in 110 games.
In order for the Bulls to bounce back they will need to be much better on the power play. Alaska is a great defensive team at even strength, so the Bulls need to take advantage of their chances when they have the extra man. The power play is converting at only a four percent conversion rate as they are just have one goal in their last 26 chances. Taylor Nelson will be in net tonight and it will be interesting to see how he plays following Heemskerk’s brilliant performance last night. Nelson will also have the chance to play without looking over his shoulder until Heemskerk returns from San Jose.