Bulls’ regulation shutout can’t sink Steelheads

COW PALACE — It was a battle of defenses and a master matchup of goalminders Wednesday night.

The San Francisco Bulls and Idaho Steelheads would keep each other scoreless for all of regulation play before the home team would allow just one goal in overtime, falling 1-0.

President and Head Coach Pat Curcio summed up the state of the Bulls’ play:

“I’d like to think that we’re working really hard on correcting all of our mistakes. … And now we’re focusing so much on defense that we’re not scoring goals. We’ve got to find a balance, and we’re running out of time to keep tweaking things. We’re going to have to find some consistency. But if I’m going to choose one, I’d rather have a team that’s going to go into a war zero-zero … “

A frustrating loss, especially with new Bulls goalie Travis Fullerton getting the start for an out-of-town Taylor Nelson and going 60 shutout minutes. Curcio expressed how pleased he was with Fullerton’s performance:

“He was outstanding. He was great … He gave us an opportunity to win.”

Team captain Scott Langdon was also very complimentary of Fullerton post-game:

“He’s great! So confident back there. All those saves that he needed to make he made and then some. It was a tough one to give up in overtime, we need to score some goals and help him out.”

The lack of scoring in the first period of play didn’t mean a lack of action. There would be multiple scuffles, courtesy of winger Kris Belan, in his first game back in a Bulls jersey. Belan talked about the return to the Cow Palace:

“It’s great to be back, I was missing San Fran there for a bit. It’s obviously a different team from when I left. But so far, we had a good game tonight. …  it seems to be clicking.”

Though the scoring drought would continue into and out of the second period, the Bulls offense would heat up towards the end of the middle frame.

San Francisco put massive pressure on goalie Tyler Beskorowany with a flurry of shots within a matter of seconds as the clock ran down to the under-a-minute mark.

Shots would be in favor the Steelheads 18-16 heading into the second intermission, but the opponent was kept from scoring due to one of the best defensive performances that the Bulls have put on since the massive shifts were made to their roster.

Fullerton talked about how he saw the defense perform in front of him:

“They played really really well tonight. They were blocking shots, they were supporting each other, playing hard. And that’s all you can ask for when you’re looking out at the play as a goalie.”

The back-and-forth play and lack of score would push through the final period of regulation and into 4-on-4 overtime play. Idaho’s Tyler Gron, though, would get a shot past Fullerton 53 seconds into OT to end the game 1-0.

Despite only having a few regular season games left and possible roster shifts still to come before the post-season, Curcio is still confident in the Bulls level of play:

 “Idaho beat Alaska three straight with that hockey team. And I’m not afraid of Idaho. And even if they come back and beat us Friday, I think that we’re every bit as good and we’re only going to get better when we can just get our final lineup in there.  And that’s what it’s all about, being good at the right time.”

The San Francisco Bulls host the Steelheads in their final home game of the 2013 regular season on Friday. The puck drops at 7:15 p.m.