San Francisco Bulls Pushed To Brink After Dropping Game Four


Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News San Francisco goalie Thomas Heemskerk uses a teammate’s stick after he lost his momentarily in the first period. The Alaska Aces began the ECHL playoffs with a home game against the San Francisco Bulls on Friday, April 5, 2013. MARC LESTER — Anchorage Daily News

The San Francisco Bulls have been pushed to the brink of elimination, as they dropped a wild one to the Alaska Aces in game four. The two teams would erupt offensively as they combined for 11 goals with Alaska taking the game by the score of 6-5. Dean Ouellet would lead the Bulls offensively with his first two goals of the series. Christian Ouellet would also chip in with an impressive three assist night. Both Bulls goalies had a rough night, as they both had 16 saves on 19 shots. Eight different players from both teams scored a goal tonight in a very exciting contest.

First Period:

The Bulls would actually control this period with their offense. The Bulls would give the Aces an early power for the start of the game. The Bulls penalty kill would do its job, limiting the Aces power play and holding them off the scoreboard. The Bulls got their first power play just after the 15 minute mark in the period, but the power play still lacked any punch, as they failed to score again.

Shortly after the Bulls power play, the Aces would get one more shot right before the end of the period. The Bulls would be the ones to strike during the power play, though. Dean Ouellet would stuff in a rebound on a Christian Ouellet shot following an odd man rush. Thomas Heemskerk looked impressive in the period stopping all eight shots he faced in the period. The Bulls out shot the Aces 11 to eight in the first.

Second Period:

The second period became a flurry of activity, with both teams turning up the pressure on offense. The Bulls gave the Aces an early power play with a Kory Falite tripping penalty at 1:12 in the period. After the power play, the Aces struck quickly just 43 seconds later to knot the game up at one. Bobby Hughes scored his second goal of the series following a beautiful pass from Steve Ward. Just three minutes later, the Aces struck again, to grab their first lead of the game, as Chris Clackson was able to poke the puck past Heemskerk for his first of the series.

However, the Bulls would not wait long to answer right back tying the game back up 22 seconds later. Kris Belan would stuff in a rebound to pull the Bulls back even. The Aces would not waste time as they took just a little over a minute to retake the lead. Clackson fired home right off the face off for his second of the game to put Alaska up three to two. That would be all for Heemskerk, as he was pulled by Coach Curcio in favor of Taylor Nelson. Just four minutes later, just after the midway point, the Bulls again would tie the game up. Jordan Morrison would score a goal in his second straight game, after beating Mark Guggenberger over his blocker. The Aces would retake the lead with a goal right before the end of the period. B.J. Crum would deflect a shot past Taylor Nelson to put Alaska up four to three. The Aces out shot the Bulls 22 to 11 in the frame.

Third Period:

The third period would be full of offense as well with the two teams combining for four more goals in the period. The Bulls would get an early power play just before the two minute mark, but again would fail to convert on the power play. The Aces would be the first to strike in the frame, just after the midway point. Zach Harrison would extend the Aces’ lead to two with his third goal of the series. The Aces would again extend their lead, even further inside of a minute.

However, then, the Bulls struck.

The Bulls would answer back just two minutes later when Dean Ouellet netted his second of the contest to pull the deficit to two. They would cut it to one just 20 seconds on a Kory Falite’s second goal of the series. Mark Guggenberger would shut the door over the final four minutes to preserve the one goal victory for the Aces. The Bulls out shot the Aces 11 to eight in the period, but the Aces out shot the Bulls 38 to 34 over the course of the game.

The Bulls offense showed some serious signs of life tonight as they had a series high five goals. The Offense was the Ouellet Show as Dean led the team with two goals and Christian had three assists. Jordan Morrison, Kory Falite, and Kris Belan had the Bulls’ other goals in the game. It was an impressive display by the offense, because it was the first time this series they were able to maintain sustained offensive pressure in extended stretches.

In addition, the Bulls actually out-shoot the Aces in the first and third periods. Despite the offensive eruption, the Bulls power play continues to be an anchor dragging this team down, as they are scoreless on 14 tries. They have just not been able to figure out the Aces top-ranked penalty kill unit. The defense had a nightmare of a game, imploding in the second period. Following a solid first period, the Bulls allowed four goals in the second period allowing the Aces to take control of the game.

Oh, and the goalies both struggled mightily in this on.

Heemskerk was pulled at the 6:29 mark of the second after allowing three goals in that stretch of time. He had 16 saves on 19 shots faced. Taylor Nelson struggled in relief of Heemskerk. He allowed the late second period goal to allow the Aces to take the lead, and then allowed the aces to extend that lead out to three with two more goals allowed in the third. If the Bulls can carry this offensive momentum into tonight, while tightening the defense back up they will have a shot to extend this series by stealing one at home. The Aces lead the Bulls 3-1 in the series and can eliminate them tonight with a victory. The Bulls look to avoid elimination, as the two teams meet for game five tonight at 7:15pm at the Cow Palace.

Three Stars:

  1. Zach Harrison – Alaska
  2. Chris Clackson – Alaska
  3. Dean Ouellet – San Francisco