The Bulls struggled as they were easily handled by the Alaska Aces in game one of the best of seven series. The Aces scored five straight goals on their way to five to one victory. Kris Belan had the Bulls’ lone goal in the game when he converted on a short handed breakaway. Belan’s tally was the first goal in Bulls’ playoff history. Thomas Heemskerk struggled in the net with four goals surrendered in just 35 minutes of ice time.
The Bulls had their hands full as the Aces were on the attack for the majority of the first period. The Aces opened the scoring at the 8:48 mark of the first as Garry Nunn found the back of the net from the right circle. The Bulls would fail to tie the game on their two power play chances late in the period as the unit continues to struggle. Scott Langdon dropped the gloves with Alex Hudson towards the later half of the period with tensions high in the playoff atmosphere. Thomas Heemskerk played well in the first despite the pressure he was under as he faced 18 shots. The Aces out shot the Bulls 18 to seven in the period.
The Aces blew the game wide open in the second period as they showed why they were the number one team in the league. The Aces would add on to their lead quickly with Bobby Hughes would beat Heemskerk for his first goal of the post season giving the Aces to two to zero lead. The Aces would get a power play shortly after due to a Christian Ouellet slashing penalty. The Aces would convert the power play to extend their lead even further as Alexandre Imbeault would beat Heemskerk over the shoulder. Heemskerk’s night would end with about five minutes left in the period with Zach Harrison scoring the Ace’s fourth goal and chasing Heemskerk from the game. The Aces out the Bulls 11 to eight in the second
With the game already decided the Bulls were looking for a way to gain some momentum to head into tonight’s contest. It would not start off well as the Bulls took a couple of early penalties to give the Aces more power play time. The Aces would convert on the second power play with Andy Taranto giving the Aces the five to nothing lead midway through the third. The Bulls would finally get on the board as they attempted to kill off another penalty. Kris Belan would intercept the puck for a breakaway that he would finish by beating Gerald Coleman to the glove side for the first ever goal in Bulls playoff history. Scott Langdon would have his second bout of the night when he would face off with Brett Ponich before the end of the game. Taylor Nelson would be solid in the third as he would stop 10 of the 11 shots he faced in the period. The Aces would again out shoot the Bulls 11 to six in the periods and 40 to 21 in the game.
The Bulls had a rough night as they allowed to the Aces to take charge in all three phases of the game. The Bulls offense was limited all night by the stout Alaska defensive unit as they were held to just 21 shots on goal in three periods of play. Their lone came with a little over five minutes remaining in the game when Kris Belan was able to convert on the penalty kill for the first playoff goal in Bulls’ history. The power play was held scoreless by the number one penalty kill unit in the ECHL as they failed on four chances. The Bulls defense was unable to hold back the Aces’ offensive attack as they allowed 40 shots on net. Heemskerk had a difficult night in between the pipes as he made 24 saves on 28 shots. He was pulled with five minutes left in the second after giving up his fourth goal of the night. The Bulls penalty kill had an up and down night. They had plenty of chances to be on the ice with the Bulls giving the Aces seven chances with the man advantage. The penalty went five for seven on the night as they allowed the Aces to convert twice. The Aces lead the series 1-0. The Bulls will look to even up the series as the two teams go back at it tonight at 8:15pm.
- Bobby Hughes – Alaska
- Gerald Coleman – Alaska
- Andy Taranto – Alaska