Photos by Godofredo Vasquez/SFBay
COW PALACE — The San Francisco Bulls dominated in shots on goal against the Ontario Reign on Sunday.
In fact, take away another penalty-happy second period, they outskated and outworked the visiting team as well.
All that hard work and grit made the outcome of the weekend’s final tilt even more frustrating, as the Reign emerged the victors 3-1 despite being outshot by the Bulls 39-21, with 13 Bulls players tallying at least one shot on goal for the afternoon.
How is it possible that the home team could put in so much work still come up short? Head coach Pat Curcio responded:
“I’m trying to find that answer myself. I feel like we’re doing everything we’re supposed to do. It’s our special teams, if we could get one more power play goal and prevent one more goal against on the penalty kill… Our five-on-five hockey, we’re exactly what we want to be. A blue collar, hard-working team. I feel like right now we’re just struggling to score. It’s been our story all year.”
San Francisco’s defense was much more energized than they had been the night before, with the puck staying in Ontario territory for the majority of the opening stanza. After the first 20 minutes of play the Bulls outshot the Reign 17-6 with seven players putting at one shot on net.
Ontario struck first, however, with a shorthanded goal by Dan DaSilva at 14:03 in the first to give the opposition a 1-0 lead.
Things got chippy during the second period, and resulted in a whopping 16 penalties between the two teams for the whole period.
Beginning two minutes in with fists flying between Ontario’s Yasin Cisse and Bulls’ captain Scott Langdon, another string of marches to the box ensued, outdoing the second period penalty trouble that dominated Saturday night’s Bulls-Steelheads matchup.
When asked about the trend of penalty-filled second periods, Curcio stifled a laugh:
“I really can’t put my finger on it, you’ll have to ask the referees if we’re doing anything different.”
The Reign took advantage of the mania of penalties with a power play goal to build their lead 2-0 with 4:45 left in the second.
But the Bulls finally made good on their own power play at the opening of the third stanza.
As the clock wound down on the power play that opened up the period, Chris Crane was able to get the puck past Ontario goalie Michael Hutchinson. Dean Ouellet and Mark Lee notched assists on Crane’s fourth goal of the season, which closed the score gap 2-1 at 28 seconds into the third.
Ontario tallied their “cushion” goal while both teams were skating with only four men. Adrian Van de Mosselaer tipped the puck past Tyler Beskorowany to expand their lead 3-1.
Curcio summed up the long weekend that went without a victory:
“It’s tough to lose. I feel like Friday we should have won. We gave away points. Then last night we had every opportunity to win, and we had every opportunity to win tonight. At the end of the weekend instead of six points you end up with one.”
The Bulls hit the road for Stockton to play the Thunder on Wednesday. They return to the Cow Palace Friday for another shot at the Idaho Steelheads. Puck drop for that game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.