COW PALACE — Blame it on Friday the 13th. Blame it on another second period penalty dance, or being a little rusty from a four-day layover between games.
Whatever the ailment, it had a negative affect on the San Francisco Bulls special teams against the Ontario Reign.
Just a night after the San Jose Sharks found the remedy for their own power play woes, their ECHL affiliate found themselves unable to capitalize on 11 Reign penalties and eight tries on the man advantage.
The division-leading Reign however, made good on their power play opportunities in a redemption win over the Bulls at the Cow Palace, quieting the home team Friday night 4-1.
Despite definite disappointment after taking an early lead, head coach Pat Curcio wasn’t sugarcoating his team’s performance:
“I just though the game was terrible from the drop of the puck. There was no flow with all of the penalties. We weren’t sharp at all. I felt like we didn’t capitalize on our opportunities on the power play. It took a negative spin…”
It was the Bulls’ first game home after a successful roadtrip; one where they notched a win over the Reign to boot. Curcio sighed and continued:
“We came off such a high last weekend. We had a couple days off and we didn’t come back sharp.”
Dale Mitchell got a clean break and Ontario goaltender Troy Redmann, despite sprawling on his side, was unable to make the block. San Francisco took the 1-0 lead at 5:43 in the opening frame.
Then San Francisco had six power play opportunities that spanned into the second period, but they were unable to capitalize on any of them.
The Reign got on the board however, when Mike Towns wristed the puck past Tyler Beskorowany for a shorthanded goal that tied the game up 1-1 in the second period.
The Bulls then got themselves into some serious penalty trouble, kicked off by a fight near center ice between Ontario defenseman Art Bidlevski and San Francisco captain Scott Langdon.
With Dylan King in the box at 11:42, Ontario Brett Beebee notched his second goal of the season to give the Reign their first lead of the night, 2-1.
Five minutes later the Reign took advantage of a five-on-three advantage and Mario Lamoureux put the puck past Beskorowany again for a 3-1 lead over the home team.
San Francisco’s offense beefed up the pressure on Redmann at the end of the second frame and into the third, but were unable to put the puck in Ontario’s net again.
Ontario’s Cody Sol registered another power play goal for the Reign with two minutes left in regulation, sealing the Bulls’ 4-1 fate.
At the end of the night Curcio was, however, complimentary of starting goalie Tyler Beskorowany who, despite the loss, blocked 44 of 48 shots at his net:
“I can’t say anyone was good tonight other than Besko. He made a lot of saves for us, kept us in the game…I just thought our defense was just terrible tonight.”
The Bulls’ special teams woes need a quick attitude adjustment with another tough team, the Stockton Thunder, coming into the building Saturday night. Keys to a turnaround from Friday’s loss? Coach explained:
“We’ve got to switch some things up. We’ve got to give some different units a different look and try some different things. It wasn’t good tonight, that’s for sure.”
The Bulls are back at it Saturday for their second annual Teddy Bear Toss as they host the Thunder. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.