Bulls lose shootout as Mitchell shines

COW PALACE — In a pre-game interview with San Francisco Bulls broadcaster Jason Lockhart, former San Jose Shark Torrey Mitchell said that he was feeling a little out of shape:

“You can practice all year, and it’s just not the same as playing a game.”

Could’ve fooled us. The 27-year-old center scored and was a presence in Wednesday night’s defensively heavy matchup against the visiting Colorado Eagles. The Eagles, though, would prevail, to get the 2-1 win in a sudden death shootout.

San Francisco is still searching for its first win against this Western Division rival.

President and Head Coach Pat Curcio said of the loss:

“We seem to always be battling the adversity of not getting any breaks. And we sure didn’t get any tonight.”

Mitchell made a grand entrance by scoring a now-you-see-it-and-now-its-in-the-net goal at 10:46 in the first period to give the Bulls a 1-0 lead. Dean Ouellet and Justin Bowers picked up assists. Mitchell had to stifle a laugh when he talked about the goal post-game:

“I actually tried passing it over to Bowers, and it hit the guy’s skate, jumped over the goalie. It was kind of in slow motion. I can’t believe that’s how I scored my first goal.”

The Bulls would keep the Eagles scoreless in the first period, thanks to some very solid goaltending from Bulls backup Taylor Nelson. Nelson would get the start over Thomas Heemskerk, who was put on the 21-day injured reserve earlier this week.

Post-game, Nelson gave credit for his own level of play to his fellow teammates:

“The guys played really well in front of me today, let me see a lot of shots. Kris Belan actually started the game and ended the game with two really big blocks. And that’s always nice to see when you’ve got guys sacrificing themselves.”

Colorado’s Devin DiDiomete, assisted by Isaac Smeltzer and Teegan Moore, would tie the game 1-1 at 4:46 in the second period. Both teams would retreat into their respective dressing rooms without scoring another goal.

Both Nelson and Colorado goaltender Adam Brown would have stellar third periods, keeping the score tied and bringing the game into overtime with San Francisco outshooting the opposition 39-29.

The tie would carry into — and out of — four-on-four overtime. The game would then stretch into eight shootout rounds, which was eventually won by Colorado forward Steve Haddon.

Nelson said of the shootout, in a very candid manner:

“I’ve never liked the shootout. You know, you play a team game for 65 minutes, and then to win the game on an individual player is, well, let’s not go there.”

On the upside, San Francisco gets another opportunity to best Colorado later this week. Ouellet said of getting the opportunity to face the Eagles again:

“I think overall tonight we played a solid game. Nelson was strong for us. I think we just have to keep playing the same way and eliminate a few mistakes. And if we keep playing the same way I think we’ll come out on top for sure.”

The Bulls will host the Eagles again on Friday. The puck drops at 7:15 p.m.