SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Francisco Bulls (11-16-1-2) hosted the Stockton Thunder (15-7-3-2), Monday night at HP Pavilion at San Jose in a historic game witnessed by 12,881 fans. The Bulls brought the San Jose Sharks and their fans to the edge of their seats as they came close to climbing back from a three-goal deficit. Ultimately, the Thunder came away with a 6-4 win, their first of the season against the Bulls. The game marked just the second time an ECHL game was played in a current NHL arena. Toni Rajala led the Thunder with three goals in the game.
Mikael Tam scored the first goal of the game to give the Bulls an early lead at 9:21. Tam took a pass from Jordan Morrison and wristed the puck past Stockton goalie Cody Reichard. Tam’s first professional goal was also assisted by Peter Sivak. Stockton was able to quickly level the game at one when Rajala beat Bulls goalie Thomas Heemskerk for his 14th goal of the season with 9:07 remaining in the period. The goal was assisted by Tony DeHart. Stockton then scored on the power play with 4:35 remaining in the period to take a 2-1 lead. Rajala scored his second goal of the night with a slap shot that beat Heemskerk. Rajala’s 15th goal of the season was assisted by Ryan Constant and Mike Little.
Kris Belan brought the game back to even at 2-2 with a beautiful wrist shot past Reichard. Rob Kwiet dropped a nice pass to Belan, who was able to finish the play at 1:36 of the second period. Three unanswered goals by Stockton pushed the score to a 5-2 lead for the Thunder. Little, Garet Hunt and finally Rajala all scored for Stockton. Rajala scored with four minutes remaining in the period to complete his hat-trick and bring Taylor Nelson into the game to replace Heemskerk.
The Bulls attempted to fashion a comeback in the third period, but came up short. Sacha Guimond scored his seventh goal of the season on the power play to bring the score to 5-3 at 2:56 of the third period. Guimond’s wrist shot from the top of the left circle found its way to the back of the net. Kwiet and Andrew Crescenzi picked up assists on the play. Alex Tuckerman made it a one-goal game with 7:14 remaining in the game. Crescenzi set up the goal after an impressive drive to the net. Dylan King also picked up an assist on the goal. Stockton put the game out of reach for the Bulls when Cameron Abney scored to give Stockton a 6-4 lead with 2:58 remaining in the period. Matt Bergland picked up the only assist on the goal.
The Bulls return to action Friday night at the Cow Palace to take on the Ontario Reign at 7:15. You can purchase tickets to the game by calling 855-SF-BULLS or by visiting sfbulls.com
Click here for the box score:
Bulletins: Dylan King, Jordan Clendenning, Jamie Devane and Daniil Tarasov all dropped the gloves for the Bulls…The Bulls were out-shot 33-29…Both teams went 1-4 on the power play…The Bulls have scored a power play goal in 12 out of their last 13 games.
SF Bulls Season Tickets start at less than $12 per seat and include the first four games of the Kelly Cup Playoffs, savings on parking, and special invitations to “Meet The Team” and Chalk Talk Events. Individual tickets are now on sale. Click here to find out more or call 415-469-9843.
About the ECHL
The ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states. Today, the league has 23 teams in 16 states. The ECHL celebrates its 25th Anniversary in 2012-13 and is the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League. The ECHL has had 234 players reach the NHL over the last seven seasons. It’s the primary developmental league for the NHL and the AHL. On opening day of the 2011-12 season, 83 former ECHL players were on NHL rosters. The ECHL teams are divided into the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. All teams play a 72-game schedule. For more information please visit http://www.echl.com/