By Charles Richards
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The San Francisco Bulls (16-21-1-4) battled hard in the third period to even the score, but ultimately were held off by the Alaska Aces (32-11-0-7), 2-1, Saturday night at the Sullivan Arena. Christian Ouellet scored the only goal for the Bulls, and Taylor Nelson made 33 saves. The loss snapped the Bulls three-game win streak.
The Aces took a 1-0 lead at 6:48 of the first period. Alexandre Imbeault scored his 11th goal of the season on the power play. Chris Haltigin and Chris Clackson assisted on the goal. Alaska doubled their lead at 7:57 when Garry Nunn tipped a puck past Nelson for his 13th goal of the season. Zach Harrison and Dustin Molle picked up the assists.
The Bulls got back into the game when C. Ouellet scored his 11th goal of the season to bring the score to 2-1 in the second period. A big blast from the top of the face-off circle beat goaltender Gerald Coleman. C. Ouellet’s goal was assisted by Jordan Morrison and Sebastien Trudeau with 6:22 remaining in the period. The Bulls got into penalty trouble at the end of the period when they took three consecutive penalties. Impressive penalty killing by Nelson and the Bulls kept San Francisco within reach after 40 minutes.
The Bulls had their chances to tie the game in the third period but could not get the puck past Coleman. The Bulls had a late power play, plus an extra attacker when Nelson was pulled. Alaska’s highly-ranked penalty kill was too much to overcome on this night.
The Bulls wrap up their weekend series against the Aces tomorrow evening at 4:05 pm Pacific Time. The Bulls return home next Thursday, the last Thirsty Thursday of the season. On Thursday, January 31, the Bulls host the Ontario Reign at 7:15 pm at the Cow Palace. At select concessions, 12-ounce draft domestic beers are half off.
Bulletins: The Bulls were out-shot 35-32…Jordan Morrison extended his point streak to four games (2 goals, 4 assists)…The two teams went a combined one for nine on the power play…Christian Ouellet has three goals against Alaska in two games.
1. Gerald Coleman (AK)
2. Taylor Nelson (SF)
3. Garry Nunn (AK)