Think it was a gloomy, misty weekend here in the City By The Bay?
Ask San Francisco Bulls announcer Jason Lockhart, and you would know that it was much colder in Anchorage, Alaska where the Bulls were battling the Aces in the ECHL Quarterfinals.
70 penalty minutes from Game 1 would bubble over into a hard-hitting, red-stained Game 2 of playoff hockey as the Bulls turned a nail-biter into a 1-0 victory in before they head back to San Francisco.
Goaltender Thomas Heemskerk would post 32 saves for the shutout, and the second victory by a California ECHL expansion team — the first team being the Ontario Reign — in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
Heemskerk and the Bulls defense would highlight the first period, including a big hit from captain Scott Langdon on potential scorer Tim Hall that would result in a brief stoppage of play.
The Aces outshot the Bulls 11-5, but the match would stay scoreless throughout the first period of play.
The second period would open up with a headbutt from Chris Clackson that knocked Tristan King down onto the ice and would draw blood, bringing athletic trainer Osama Kassab onto the rink. Kassab would subsequently have to assist King off the ice.
San Francisco would respond to the hard hit by killing multiple penalties and giving the crowd in Anchorage a reason scream at the officials. But the game would remain scoreless through another 20 minutes of play. Heemskerk would continue to make amazing saves to keep the Aces’ without a goal despite 27 attempts.
But San Francisco’s defensive play and sheer aggression would pay off in the third period, as Kory Falite would tip the puck past Gerald Coleman to give the Bulls their second goal of the playoffs and the 1-0 lead at 5:00 into the third. Dean Ouellet and Brett Findlay would pick up assists.
The Bulls wouldn’t falter for the remainder of regulation, killing off three more penalties and keeping 2013 division-leading Aces from scoring a single point.
Hockey continues this week as the San Francisco Bulls host the first playoff game at the Cow Palace in 17 years. Game 3 against the Alaska Aces will take place Thursday. The puck drops at 7:15 p.m.