Bulls corralled by Eagles in weekend opener

Photos by Mike Hendrickson/SFBay

COW PALACE — You have to give the San Francisco Bulls credit. They certainly have found a way of clawing away at a deficit and giving fans some fun hockey to watch.

Friday night’s game was beginning to look like a repeat of last weekend’s come-from-behind victory over the Stockton Thunder, with a jolt of Bulls energy at the end of the second period.

But the home team came up short, dropping the first of three weekend tilts against the Colorado Eagles 6-3.

Even with some great late-game mojo, the Bulls are going to have to put the puck in the back of the net more frequently, head coach Pat Curcio explained:

“I think we’ve found a way to start scoring some goals, but we haven’t had much success this year getting up more than three. Last week against Stockton we were fortunate. … But we need to keep our goals-against down.”

The Eagles got on the board first following their first penalty kill at 10:51 in the opening period. Colorado center Riley Nelson fired a rebound past Tyler Beskorowany, who was still kneeling in the crease from blocking the previous shot.

Nelson struck again less at 12:18, putting the Bulls in an early 2-0 hole.

San Francisco’s offense kept the pressure on, but had trouble finding a way to solve Colorado goaltender Adam Brown. Curcio complimented the opposing goalie post-game:

“He made some big saves at the right times, and then they got momentum coming back the other way. You saw when it was 2-0, Brett Findlay had a great scoring chance, (the puck) went through (Brown’s) legs and outside the post. That goes in, it’s a 2-1 game. … But we can’t look at that, we’ve got to find ways to correct our mistakes and go from there.”

Winger Luke Fulghum notched Colorado’s third goal with a wrister up close that beat Beskorowany at 4:59 in the second period.

Following a lot of back-and-forth — and a fight between Colorado’s Jason Beatty and SF’s Kris Belan — Jonathan Parker’s shot found the back of San Francisco’s net to make it 4-0 and knock Beskorowany out of the game.

J.P. Anderson hadn’t been between the pipes for long when Trent Daavettila made it 5-0.

But the Bulls got on the scoreboard in dramatic fashion before the period was over. The Gron-Morrison-Findlay line peppered Brown with shots, and it was Morrison’s shot past the goalie’s left side that gave San Francisco their first goal of the night. His line mates tallied assists.

Just 11 seconds later, Steven Tarasuk fed the puck to Dale Mitchell to beat out Brown to further close the score gap, 5-2.

Gron led the Bulls’ assault on Brown continued into the third frame. He got possession of a Dean Ouellet rebound and tipping it into the back of the visitors’ net, making the score 5-3 at 5:04 in the third.

San Francisco made a run at another late game tie, but it was Colorado’s Arthur Bidwill who got the final goal of the night on the power play, sealing the Bulls’ 6-3 fate.

With two more days against the hard-hitting Eagles, what do the Bulls have to do to pull out a win? Curcio summarized:

“We’re probably going to juggle a little bit of the lineup. Try to get a different body in or two. Find what (Colorado) is doing real well, and then find a way to stop them.”

Game two of the weekend series against the Colorado Eagles takes place at the Cow Palace Saturday. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Notes

Dale Mitchell now had seven points (4 goals, 3 assists) during his six game point streak. … With his assist on Mitchell’s goal, Steven Tarasuk now had four points in his last two games. … Tyler Gron now has nine goals in ten games with the Bulls. … With his assist on Gron’s goal, Dean Ouellet is now on a three game point streak. … Despite the lopsided score, the Bulls and Eagles ended Friday’s game tied at 35 shots a piece.


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