On Thursday night, the San Francisco Bulls hosted their division rivals the Stockton Thunder for third time of the season. The Bulls entered the contest with a 2-0 season series lead over Stockton with their most recent win against their rivals that came back on November 24th that featured a 6-3 beat down. Both clubs entered the matchup tonight with a two game loosing skid as San Francisco lost their last two against the Colorado Eagles, while the Thunder lost their two against the Las Vegas Wranglers and Bakersfield Condors. On a good note for the franchise, the Bulls welcomed back defenseman #17 Rob Kwiet in their lineup who recently recovered from a lower body injury that he suffered in a game against the Bakersfield Condors on December 5th. For the goaltenders, San Francisco head coach Pat Curcio elected to put #33 Thomas Heemsherk between the pipes while Stockton Thunder coach Matt Thomas started #30 Tyler Bunz in net.
In the games first few minutes, both teams got out in hurry as the Bull peppered six shots of rubber on Thunder’s net minder Tayler Bunz, while Stockton had their share of shots as they peppered Thomas Heemsherk with three shots on goal. Thus putting the goaltenders to work quickly. At 3:10 of the opener, Bulls Captain Justin Bowers would get the first penalty of the game as he was called for tripping inside the offensive zone. On Stockton’s first man advantage opportunity the Bulls penalty unit went to work as they denied the Thunder from putting the rubber past Heemsherk. Shortly after San Francisco killed of the first penalty of the night, forward Daniil Tarasov opened the scoring as he was positioned in the slot as Marek Viedensky made an awesome pass as Tarasov blasted in a one timer shot on the far side of Stockton’s Bunz 6:31 of the opener. The goal marked Tarasov’s third of the season and marked Viedensky’s ninth assist of the year. At the halfway point of the opener, the Bulls outshot the Stockton Thunder by a 2:1 margin making Bunz the busier of the two goaltenders. Later in the period, Bulls Alex Tuckerman went in alone on Bunz who had to make a huge save for his team to keep it one goal San Francisco lead. At the conclusion of the first period San Francisco lead the Stockton Thunder on the shot clock with 15-9 advantage.
The Bulls continued where left off at as they put Bunz to work early as he had to make the save to keep it a 1-0 goal Bulls lead. At the 2:44 mark of the middle frame, Stockton’s Harrison Reed went off the box with a interference minor thus putting the Bulls on their second power play of the contest. While on the power play opportunity the Bulls were unable convert as the score remained 1-0 San Francisco. At the 7:11 a double minor was assessed to San Francisco’s Captain Justin Bowers as it made it his second penalty of the night for a high stick. On the a prime power play opportunity from the visiting Thunder, they made the Bulls pay as they tied the game at one a piece. Goal was scored by Harrison Reed who tallied his 11th of the season with assists from DeHart and Maylan. Furthermore, the Bulls penalty kill woes continued. As the period went on, Stockton closed the gap on the shot clock as they trailed the Bulls by a four shot margin. Later in the second period, the momentum shifted in the late stages as Stockton outshot the Bulls in the second stanza by 12 shots to 8. With the completion of second period the Bulls and Thunder entered the second intermission tied at 1. After 40 minutes of play, the Bulls continued to hold their lead on the shot clock over the Thunder this time by a slim 24-21 advantage.
After 40 minutes of the play, the two teams entered the final period of the game virtually neck in neck on the shot clock. However that changed when the Thunder got out in hurry to put Heemsherk to work as he had make some key saves to keep it tied at one. As the period went on, the Bulls would be caught their heels as the Thunder pressed on the attack. With their hard work and persistence, it finally paid off as Stockton scored at the 6:10 mark of the final period to take a 2-1 lead. Goal was unassisted by Eric Hunter of the Thunder who scored his seventh of the season. With less than a minute later after the go ahead goal by the Thunder, Stockton’s Maylan would be assessed a slashing minor at 6:49 as the Bulls would go on the man advantage opportunity. San Francisco would enter some push back as Stockton kept their 1 goal lead intact. Shortly after the penalty kill by Stockton, San Francisco’s scored as Kris Belan tied the game back up at 2 as he tallied his third goal of the season with assists by Crescenzi and King at 9:51. Less than three minutes later, Kris Belan of San Francisco would go to the box for tripping at 12:37 of final frame. On the man advantage opportunity, Stockton converted on the power play as Ryan Constant would score the go ahead to make it 3-2 Thunder. The goal would mark Constants fourth of the season with assists from both Maylan and Morgan at 13:38. Under a minute later, Stockton’s Fratkin would be sent off to the sin bin for holding at the 14:21 mark. However the Bulls came up short once again as they could not convert on the man advantage. With less than three to go in the third, San Francisco tied it up once again as Andrew Crescenzi was left wide open and pumped it home to make 3-3 as it marked his second of the season with the lone assist from line mate Jordan Clendenning who stamped his ninth assist. In the late stages of the third, Stockton’s Phil Mangan got called for a high sticking double minor. The Bulls went to work quickly on their best man advantage as they put pressure on Thunder’s net minder Bunz who came up huge for his club in the dying seconds of regulation as the game would go to overtime. At the end of regulation, both teams were tied on the shot clock with 35 shots each.
Thanks to the double minor by Mangan, the Bulls would carry over the remainder of the power play into the sudden death period. As both teams enterd in the extra frame, that double minor penalty would cost the Thunder as San Francisco’s Peter Sivak fired a wrister past Bunz to seal the deal for game winner in OT to give the Bulls a 4-3 come from behind victory. Sivak’s gamer winner increased his goal count on the season 10 with assists from Kwiet who added his third of the year and Ouellet with his 11th of the season. With their comeback victory, San Francisco improved to 10-14-1-2 in the Pacific while Stockton maintained their second place spot in the division with 13-6-3-2 record. After tonight’s game, San Francisco is heading on a two game mini road trip as they head to southern California to face off against the Ontario Reign at the Citizens Business Bank Arena. The puck is set to drop at 7:00p and the game can heard on KNBR.com and for America One Sports subscribers can be seen on their website. Lets Go Bulls!!!!
3 Stars of the game:
1. SF – 91 Peter Sivak
2. SF – 43 Kris Belan
3. SF – 49 Jordan Clendenning
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