Bulls outplay Condors but come up empty

COW PALACE — When discussing the San Francisco Bulls’ perfection on the penalty kill Saturday night, head coach Pat Curcio told the press that he would prefer his team get fewer penalties.

Which would lead us to believe that the Bulls having to kill off six penalties during Sunday’s matinée wasn’t quite what he had in mind.

Despite outshooting the last-place Condors 42-15, the Bulls would capitalize only once on the power play on their way to dropping the final game of their home stand to the visiting Condors, 4-2.

Add to it: The Bulls had to hit the road right after the game, hopping on a bus east to face the Idaho Steelheads (35-11-2-3), who are currently in second place in the ECHL Mountain Division.

Curcio was candid about the loss post-game:

“We outshoot a team 42-15, and we lose. I thought it was one of our best games of the year, and we have nothing to show for it. I’m hoping we can learn from it, like every other loss around here. So it’s very frustrating. I really don’t feel like a 14-hour bus ride right now.”

It would be goaltender Thomas Heemskerk’s first start since his emergency appendectomy on New Year’s Eve. Taylor Nelson, who had tallied a win against Bakersfield Saturday night, was originally set to start before waking up with a fever and other ailments. Curcio said of the last-minute goalie change:

“Nelson was going real well. He was outstanding in Ontario, he got us a point. He was amazing last night. It’s not that Heemer wasn’t good, he hasn’t gotten any shots. He needed another practice or two, a morning skate to let him prepare. As a goalie, when you’re just thrown into the fire, sometimes it’s difficult to react that quickly.”

It would be Bakersfield who would score first on Sunday. At 14:45, the Bulls would lose control of the puck and Condor Kyle Haines would charge down the ice for an unassisted goal to give Bakersfield the 1-0 advantage.

One penalty kill and a Scott Langdon-Brett Lyon fistfight later, the Condors would find the net again, this time a shorthanded goal by Jacob Lagace, assisted by Haines and Francis Verreault, at 19:13.

During that first period, San Francisco would outshoot Bakersfield 11-8 while killing off five penalties.

The Bulls would answer the call for offense early in the second period with a power play goal by Peter Sivak at 3:07 to make the score 2-1. Marek Viedensky and Cody Carlson would earn assists.

The one-goal difference, though, would be short lived. Bakersfield would get the puck past Heemskerk again at 4:04 in the period to make the score 3-1.

Langdon and Lyon would drop their gloves again in the second period, with Langdon proceeding to pound Lyon into the ice before both were sent to their penalty boxes with fighting majors.

San Francisco would kill off yet another penalty but would fail to capitalize on four power play opportunities of their own in the period.

Sivak would strike again in the third period with an unassisted goal at 16:19 to bring the score to 3-2. But the Condors would keep the home team’s offensive push short, as Nicholas Tremblay scored on a breakaway at 17:18 to seal the match’s 4-2 fate.

Bakersfield goalie Brian Stewart turned away 40 of 42 shots on his way to earning the game’s first star.

The San Francisco Bulls hop the bus and head to Idaho for a two-game stint against the Steelheads, which starts Tuesday. Their next home game will be Sunday, February 17 against the Stockton Thunder. The puck drops at 2:15 p.m.

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