When I asked San Francisco Bulls Head Coach Pat Curcio last Thursday about preparing for Monday’s game at HP Pavilion, I got the answer I expected. The coach smiled and said very matter-of-a-factually:
“We’re excited about that, but we need to focus on the next two nights and then worry about that game Monday.”
Indeed, the Bulls had two road games over the weekend — one which they lost 7-0 to the Ontario Reign, the other in which they dominated the Bakersfield Condors 4-1 — before the highly-anticipated standoff at the home of the San Jose Sharks.
Still, with all the hype surrounding Bay Area hockey’s return to San Jose, it’s easy to understand the difficulty of pushing the excitement and anticipation out of their minds. Center Jordan Clendenning said Thursday:
“If I said it wasn’t in the back of my mind I’d be lying to you. We’re definitely focusing on these next two games, but we realize that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for some, and it’s going to be an exciting night.”
So the day has finally arrived. Later today, the Bulls will invade the Shark Tank to host the division rival Stockton Thunder.
Despite being behind Stockton in the ECHL Western Conference standings — the Bulls are in sixth place, the Thunder in fourth — San Francisco has dominated the opposition 3-0-0-0 in their meetings this season. The third of which the Bulls won in nail-biting fashion last Thursday with a 4-3 win in overtime.
Stockton has also coming off a split weekend series, playing at home against the fifth-place Colorado Eagles.
All the teams’ meetings this season have been at the Cow Palace, giving the Bulls the at-home advantage. So with both team’s on visiting ice, is San Francisco treating tonight’s fete like a home game, or an away game?
Coach Curcio explained:
“Theoretically it’s a home game. But we have to plan for a road game, because we have to take the bus and take care of all the different things that we need to bring. . .”
We’ll see how long that road-game-feel lasts once the crowd of over 17,500 at the Tank gets going.
Fans without tickets to the game can listen to the action on KNBR.com or follow it on AmericaOneSports.com. The puck drops at 7:30pm.