COW PALACE — Tonight’s episode of San Francisco Bulls hockey is brought to you by the word “hat.”
Yes, as is “hat-trick.”
And yes, as in the first in Bulls franchise history, brought to you by center Dean Ouellet.
And that was only a slice of the victory pie for the Bulls Saturday night as they took out the rival Stockton Thunder, 6-3.
It would be the fourth straight win for the Bulls. And the second night in a row that the team would snap the winning streak of a Pacific Division leader.
Surprisingly, this win came in a game where San Francisco was outshot by their opponent. Not that 37 shots on goal was a threat to SF goalie Thomas Heemskerk, who tallied his fourth victory Saturday night.
President and Head Coach Pat Curcio spoke after the game of Heemskerk’s performance:
“He’s been fantastic. The thing with goaltending is making the saves at the right time. … I thought that a lot of the shots made were special teams shots.”
As they have in every game of their four-game win streak, the Bulls scored the game’s first goal when Peter Sivak — with assistance from partner-in-crime Marek Viedensky — put his sixth goal of the season in Stockton’s net for a 1-0 lead at 3:39.
After several Thunder tries against Heemskerk, Stockton’s Justin Maylan would tie the game at 1-1 with assistance from Mike Little and Harrison Reed.
The tie wouldn’t see itself through the rest of the period, as San Francisco’s Andrew Crescenzi made his first goal in a Bulls’ uniform with help from Kris Belan. The score would stay at 2-1 as the teams headed into their respective locker rooms at the end of the first period.
Center Dean Ouellet would add to his team-leading tally with a power play goal at 6:06 to give the Bulls a 3-1 advantage. Ouellet would get his ninth goal of the season — with assistance from Justin Bowers and Kris Belan — to give San Francisco a 4-1 lead at 8:32.
Stockton would answer back with a shot by right wing Jesse Fratkin, bringing the Thunder’s deficit to 4-2. The Bulls would kill two penalties to maintain a two-goal lead going into the end of the period.
Ouellet would carry his hot offensive streak into the third period. With nearly six minutes left in regulation, he would put the puck back in Stockton’s net for his tenth goal for the season and the first hat trick in Bulls franchise history.
Coach Curcio had nothing but great things to say about Ouellet after the game:
“Dean does so well, he plays the game the right way. He doesn’t cheat, doesn’t take shortcuts. And he gets rewarded for his smart play. You saw it tonight, he was at the right place at the right time.”
The Thunder would attempt to silence the Bulls’ hot streak by making a goal at 12:28 to bring the score to 5-3. But that wouldn’t stop San Francisco’s Jordan Morrison, who took advantage of an empty Stockton net to seal the Bulls’ 6-3 win.
The Bulls hit the road this week, facing Pacific Division rival Las Vegas Wranglers on Thursday. They return to the Cow Palace on Wednesday, December 5 against the Bakersfield Condors.
If there’s one thing that drives me nuts at the beginning of any sporting event, it’s when someone butchers the National Anthem. Bulls games have been quite a treat, however, as the talent has been top-notch.
But if I had to pick a favorite, I would have to pick tonight’s crooner.
A special shout-out to Jason Lockhart, who’s not only the Bulls Director of Media Relations and the team’s broadcaster and runs around the Cow Palace every game night making sure all us crazy kids up in the press box get into the building without any hassle — but also has some serious pipes. And I mean perfect pitch.
Tip-of-the-cap to you, good sir. You are a man that wears many, many hats.