COW PALACE — It started with Idaho Steelhead Anthony Nigro slipping the puck past Tyler Beskorowany 18 seconds into Friday night’s game.
So began the most frustrating bout for the San Francisco Bulls this season. Another night of working their tails off, and not getting a score that reflects it.
It wasn’t as if the Bulls weren’t continuing to outshoot the opponent. In fact, they put up a team-high 41 shots on net.
They even learned from last weekend’s second period penalty curse, and didn’t have to go on the penalty kill until late in the third period.
Incredibly enough, that didn’t stop the Steelheads from shutting the Bulls out 6-0.
Head coach Pat Curcio was, for lack of a better term, at a loss for words:
“It was just one of things where, I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what else to tell these guys. When you get some 41 shots and over 20 scoring chances and don’t score a goal, it’s pretty frustrating.”
Forward Mark Lee, who had four good looks on net himself that night, was shouldering plenty of that frustration:
“You can probably tell how frustrating it is. We’re putting together a game plan and trying to obey that. It comes down to, if you don’t score a goal in 120 minutes, that’s on guys like myself. … You gotta look in the mirror. There’s not much else that can be said, besides we’ve gotta score. It’s hard to win games when you don’t score goals. Beyond frustrating.”
Outside of Idaho’s early goal, San Francisco was the dominant team on the ice in the first period. At the end of the first 20 minutes of play, 10 different Bulls had put at least one shot on net, with Rob Linsmayer and Dean Ouellet leading the assault with three shots a piece.
At 5:22 in the second period, Steelheads Justin Mercier’s shot just barely squeaked between Beskorowany’s legs, but it was enough to put San Francisco in the hole 2-0.
San Francisco spent the rest of the second stanza peppering Idaho’s new goaltender Pat Nagle with shots, dominating 11-6 for the period. They outshot the Steelheads 30-17 over the first 40 minutes of play, the most shots the Bulls have had through two period through the whole season.
Mercier struck again in the third with a shorthanded goal to widen the visitors lead 3-0.
San Francisco drew their first penalty in the third period, and with two Bulls in the box and 24 seconds left on the five-on-three, Brock Montgomery scored Idaho’s fourth goal of the night with 5:41 left.
William Rapuzzi and Gaelan Patterson completed the massacre by putting shots past Beskorowany with less than three minutes left in regulation.
Bidding adieu to the Idaho Steelheads doesn’t bring much comfort to a deflated Bulls team, as they have to turn around and battle a tough Utah Grizzlies team Saturday night. How are the Bulls going to bounce back from this loss? Winger Chris Crane explained:
“I think the most important thing is, we’ve got to move on…You just have to walk out of this rink, get a good night sleep, recover… And Utah’s a great hockey team. So we’ve got to come in and take it to them. It’s our barn, and that’s what we have to do.”
“You can’t let the highs get too high or the lows get too low… The biggest thing when you get down like this is just to keep working. Maybe try to change a little… You can’t think too much… You just have to keep playing, and hopefully, eventually we’ll get a lucky bounce. Hard work pays off.”
The Bulls get another chance at a home victory Saturday against the Utah Grizzlies.
The Bulls’ 41 shots on goal are one shy of their all-time record. The 19 shots SF had in the first period were a season high. … Dean Ouellet led the team with 6 shots on the night. … San Francisco has only committed two penalties in the last two games… Friday was the first time that the Bulls faced goaltender Pat Nagle. Idaho’s former starter, Josh Robinson, was reassigned to the Steelheads AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars, two days prior.