The Bulls cannot avoid some March heartbreak as they fall two to one to the Stockton Thunder. The Thunder used a buzzer beating goal in the third period to force the game to continue and they eventually took it in the shoot out. Both goalies were spectacular in the game as they combined for 69 saves on 71 shots. Nelson was three of five in the shoot out, while Olivier Roy stopped four of five to give the Thunder the win. The Bulls lone regulation goal came from new forward Daultan Leveille. The Bulls are now 6-4-2 against the Thunder on the year.
The Bulls held the advantage in the first period as they had the majority of the offensive pressure. The Bulls would get the early chance to go ahead as the Thunder took a penalty just inside the three minute mark of the first. The Bulls would be unable to convert on the power play. The would get another opportunity right before the midway mark when Christian Ouellet would be awarded with a penalty shot. Ouellet would attempt to deke to his forehand, but Roy would come huge with a big glove save. The Thunder would get back to back power plays midway through the first, but the Bulls’ penalty kill and Taylor Nelson would keep Stockton scoreless. The Bulls would get one last power play in the last minute of play, but again would be held off the scoreboard as the two teams head into the second in a scoreless tie. The Bulls out shot the Thunder 13 to six in the period.
The second period would be much like the first as they Bulls maintained the pressure they put on offensively. They would fail to convert on the remaining power play time from the end of the first. The Bulls would get another power play midway through the frame, but the again the Thunder would hold them to nothing on special teams. The goalies again would come up with excellent play as they combined for 17 saves in the period, but the Bulls would get the breakthrough inside the final three minutes. The Bulls would crash the net hard on a scramble in front of the net and newcomer Daultan Leveille would finally push the puck through to give the Bulls the lead on his first goal with San Francisco. Another new face in Nick Czinder would combine with Dylan King on the assists. The Bulls would out shoot the Thunder 12 to six in the second.
The tables would turn in the third as the Thunder would come out firing as they looked for the equalizer. The Bulls would get another shot at a power play before the midway mark, but again they would fail to convert on the extra man. The Bulls would get their final power play with 2:36 remaining in the period. The Bulls would squander another chance and it would come back to haunt them shortly after. The Thunder would pull Roy from the net for the extra attacker following the penalty as the Thunder were desperate for a goal and they would get their answer. Shawn Weller would find a bouncing puck in front of the net and would throw on a desperation wrist shot that would deflect off of Nelson and into the net with .1 of a second remaining in the game sending the game into overtime. The Thunder out shot the Bulls 17 to eight in the period, while the Bulls out shot the Thunder 33 to 29 in regulation.
Both teams had chances to take the game in overtime as the offenses applied pressure throughout the extra frame. The two teams combined for nine shots in the period, but neither team could find the game winner as they go to the shoot out. The Bulls out shot the Thunder five to four.
*Stockton Shoots First
- Ryan Hayes – Goal; Tristan King – No Goal
- Maxime Bosclair – No Goal; Bryan Cameron – Goal
- Andrew Clark – No Goal; Nick Czinder – No Goal
- Harrison Reed – No Goal; Brett Findlay – No Goal
- Shawn Weller – Goal; Kory Falite – No Goal
The new look Bulls played well enough to win, but just could not get the elusive second goal that would have won them the game. The Bulls pushed play throughout most of the game as they out shot the Thunder 25 to 12 through 40 minutes of play. Recently acquired forward Daultan Leveille had the Bulls only goal in regulation. Taylor Nelson played a solid game as he saved 32 of 33 shots he faced on the night, including 16 of 17 in the final period as the Thunder battled for the game tying goal. The Bulls squandered multiple chances on special teams. They went scoreless on five chances with the man advantage and Christian Ouellet was given a penalty shot in the first period, but was denied by Roy. The Bulls need to adjust to life without Peter Sivak and Dean Ouellet quickly if they want to have a shot at making noise offensively in the playoffs. The Bulls fall to 24-35-8 as they clinch a playoff berth and will most likely be the final team in, while the Thunder improve to 35-26-9 and try to clinch home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The teams meet for the final time this season today at 7:15 pm in the Cow Palace.
- Daultan Leveille – San Francisco
- Taylor Nelson – San Francisco
- Olivier Roy – Stockton