COW PALACE — When San Francisco Bulls head coach Pat Curcio said getting the team’s first victory wouldn’t be easy, he wasn’t kidding.
Perhaps it was the lack of inaugural game nerves. Or maybe the distracting sound of promotional cowbells in the Cow Palace stands. It would take some time for the San Francisco Bulls to wake up Saturday, but they would emerge an offensive force as they took their first victory in franchise history with a 6-5 win over the Bakersfield Condors.
When asked post-game about that first win, Coach Curcio said with a smile:
“Well, I gotta be honest with you, nothing’s better than winning.”
Forward and team captain Justin Bowers said the win wasn’t just important to the team, but the whole Bulls community:
“Obviously it’s important for our fans for us to win hockey games, it’s important for all of us individually to to win hockey games because we want to move up. It’s hopefully the first win of a lot of wins. … It’s a pretty special night.”
The Bulls struck early in the first period with an unassisted goal courtesy of forward Kevin Baker. But one too many turnovers allowed Condors’ Robby Dee to score a goal, then Condors’ defenseman Olivier Dame-Malka tallied on the power play, leaving the score at 2-1 in favor of Bakersfield at the end of a somewhat quiet first period.
Said coach Curcio of his team’s slow first period:
“They just don’t know what they’re capable of yet. They have confidence issues at times. … We just have to keep getting better.”
The Bulls’ would come alive in the second period — both with points and with penalties — putting four goals on the board. A goal from Dean Ouellet, assisted by Justin Bowers, would tie the game at 2.
Then, with 3:40 left in the second period, left wing Matt Carter played a rebound with assistance from Kevin Baker and Jordan Clendenning to get his first goal in a Bulls uniform to put the Bulls ahead, 3-2.
Bakersfield’s Zach Cohen would then tie the game up at three goals each before Bowers, with assistance from Ouellet, gave San Francisco the 4-3 advantage.
Not two minutes later, right wing Thomas Beauregard took advantage of a Bulls power play to put the puck in Bakersfield’s net again, giving San Francisco a 5-3 lead.
The hard-to-kill Condors would answer back however, to tie the game at five to end an active second period.
The Bulls wouldn’t let the tie last long into the third period, as Sacha Guimond, with assistance from Bowers and right wing Peter Sivak and would give the Bulls the 6-5 advantage and victory.
So, any crazy party plans for San Francisco’s new winning franchise? Bowers said:
“We’re going to have a couple beers tonight and celebrate. But it’s back to work tomorrow.”
Or, as Coach Curcio has said on multiple occasions:
“There are 72 games to play. There’s still a lot of hockey left.”
The Bulls will start a month-long road trip starting Wednesday with a 7 p.m. battle against the Ontario Reign. They will return home November 9 to face the Stockton Thunder. For ticket and event information, please visit SFBulls.com.