Last weekend's schedule on paper is exactly what the Belleville Bulls needed. That's not saying that any game in the OHL is easy because it isn't, and any team can beat any team on the right night. But after getting pounded by the Oshawa Generals last Sunday 8-2, the Bulls needed to rebound. Belleville was supposed to start Friday night in Kingston Vs the reeling Frontenacs, a home date with a young Erie Otters team on the rise, but who currently sit in the Western Conference basement and a visit to the Nations Capital to play the last place team in the OHL the Ottawa 67's on Sunday afternoon.
Due to the storm that blasted across the province on Friday the game in Kingston was postponed to a later date. Also on Friday news came down from the OHL that OA defense men Jake Cardwell had been suspended for 10 games for an altercation with a fan in the runway where Bulls players were exiting the ice between the second and third periods in last Sundays loss to the Generals. Bulls GM and Head Coach George Burnett told Paul Svoboda of the Intelligencer that "The league is very clear on interaction between fans and players — it is unacceptable. Jake knows it was a bad choice, getting involved with a fan.” Burnett shouldered the blame as well saying that there was a lot of fan involvement in that area during the game and that “It was a concern. I should’ve recognized it and insisted somebody be there to diffuse any potential situations". He said he should’ve taken steps to avoid a potential problem when he noticed, earlier in the game, that the boisterous Generals fans were crowding in. “I should’ve been more diligent and insisted that security get involved,” said Burnett. “There were a lot of fans in that area and it’s an unprotected area. But, there are no excuses. You just can’t get involved with fans." The Bulls concerns have been expressed and they believe that the Generals will take the steps to have security in the walkway area at the visitors bench between periods of future games at the GM Centre. Cardwell has been playing well for the Bulls scoring 12 points (6G,6A) in 26 games as a Bull. Others will have to step up in his absence.
So with no game Friday the Bulls would start Saturday night at home Vs the Erie Otters. Rookie Hayden Hodgson would score first at 10:25 giving the Otters a 1-0 lead. Tyler Graovac brought the this seasons largest announced crowd of 3470 to their feet, not once but twice scoring 2 goals his 25th and 26th of the season 48 seconds apart at 11:02 and 11:50 of the 1st period. Captain Brendan Gaunce assisted on both goals along with Stephen Silas getting a helper on the 1st goal and Brady Austin on the 2nd. Graovac's 1st goal wasn't only a big goal because it tied the game or that it was his first goal since January 18, but also because it was a power play goal, that's right a power play goal. Belleville had been on a 0/30 slump. The power play marker was the first goal the Bulls had scored with the man advantage since January 11th.
The second period was scoreless. Belleville carried the play but Devin Williams stood tall and held his team in the game. The Bulls where a strong 22-0-2-1 when leading after two periods this season and they would add to that win total as they would defeat Erie 4-1. In the third period Belleville got a goal from Jordan Subban. The goal was Subban's 10th of the season was set up on a nice pass from Jake Worrad who circled around the net and fed the puck to Jordan. Joseph Cramarossa assisted on Subban's goal and on Belleville's 4th goal. At 18:03 the Belleville power play got on the score sheet again when Alan Quine netted his 14th from J Cramarossa and J Subban. Bulls power play went 2/4 and the PK was 4/4.
Both Devin Williams and Malcolm Subban played well. Williams made 32 saves on 36 shots and did his part to keep his team in the game. Malcolm Subban made 38 saves and was really good. They joked on the CJBQ broadcast that it might have been the quietest 38 save performance that Malcolm will ever have. He wasn't flashy, but he was good and was named the games 2nd Star collecting his 20th win of the season. He was very confident and had what Coach Burnett told the Intell one of his best games saying “Saturday, I thought we were very efficient and, at least in our eyes, we thought it was one of Malcolm Subban’s best games. He wasn’t overworked but look big in the net and very solid. We got a lot of confidence from his demeanour." I've said it before and will say it again, the strongest part of Malcolm's game isn't his skill set and believe me we all know he has boat loads of skill and tons of athletic ability but its his confidence and the way he carries himself that make him the fine goaltender that he is. Goal-tending is a lot like pitching you have to get in the right mind set and when Malcolm is dialed in he can win games on his own with little goal support, He's money with a one goal lead, its nice to see that the rest of the club are starting to give him consistent support.
Sunday, February 10, 2013
On Sunday Belleville packed up the bus and headed to Ottawa to visit the 67's. The retooling 67's might be sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference but they gave the Toros all they good handle. At one point the 67's came back after being down 3-1.
The home town 67's scored first when Ryan Van Stralen tipped home his 9th from "Big" Michal Cajkovsky and former Bull Sergey Kuptsov. The goal was scored at even strength but it was thanks to the OHL's top ranked power play. With Adam Bignell in the sin bin for holding the Ottawa power play was really applying the pressure and doing everything but scoring. Even with Bignell out of the box the 67's kept firing and Cajkovsky fire a shot at the net that Van Stralen tipped in. The goal came at 9:40 of the first period 10 seconds after the Bignell penalty ended.
Both teams were guilty of taking some bad lazy penalties, guys standing still or in the offensive zone, and the always fun, momentum killing retaliatory penalties. The Bulls took advantage first when they scored on back to back 5 on 3 power play chances. Brendan Gaunce's 21st of the season, from Graovac and Alan Quine tied the game at 5:16. A minute later it was former 67 Tyler Graovac netting his 27th from Quine and goaltender Malcolm Subban. The Bulls would take a 3-1 one lead at 10:35. When Jordan Subban circled the net and fired home his 11th. Then Belleville started to take the mentioned penalties, in total both teams combining for an 60 minutes in penalties. Each team had seven power plays and went 2/7. Ottawa would also score their power play goals in the 2nd period. Ryan Van Stralen with his 2nd of the night from Cajkovsky and Joseph Blandisi. Then it was Cajkovsky tying the game at 19:36 from Sean Monahan and Kuptsov.
In the third Belleville got a goal from Aaron Berisha (8) and a pair from Daniil Zharkov giving the Oilers pick 16 on the season. Ryan Van Stralen added a goal for Ottawa giving him the hat-trick. Belleville would win an ugly one 6-4.
There was plenty of options for the 3 Star selection, from both teams, For Ottawa, Cajkovsky had 3 points. Blandisi, Monahan and Kuptsov each had 2A, and Ryan Van Stralen had 3G and was the games 2nd star.. For Belleville you could have went with Alan Quine who had 3A, Joesph Cramarossa had 2A. Daniil Zharkov had 2G and was named the games 3rd Star. In a real classy move the folks in Ottawa named Tyler Graovac the games 1st star with 1G and 1A. It was a nice way for the Ottawa fans to give Graovac a thank you cheer.
Notes: Belleville will finish the season with a 16-2-2-0 record Vs the Western Conference....... The OHL announced that the Kingston Frontenacs will host the Belleville Bulls on Monday March 11, 2013, at 7:00 pm. The rescheduled game is due to the postponed game between the Frontenacs and Bulls from Friday February 8, 2013, due to inclement weather conditions.......So far this season 14 former Bulls have suited up for at least one NHL game. Matt Beleskey (Ducks), David Clarkson (Devils), Daniel Cleary (Redwings), Shawn Matthias (Panthers), Cody McCormick (Sabres), Jan Mursak (Redwings), Kris Newbury (Rangers), Richard Panik (Lightning), Matt Pelech (Sharks), Jason Spezza (Senators), Matt Stajan (Flames), P.K Subban (Canadiens), Eric Tangradi (Penguins), Kyle Wellwood (Jets). Former goalie Eddie Pasquale has been called up ti the Jets but has yet to play.