This Week the Belleville Bulls would play 3 games in 4 days to finish off a 5 games in 8 days stretch. First we would see the Bulls host the Brampton Battalion on Wednesday night, in Belleville's first mid-week game of the season and then travel to Brampton on Friday night for the rematch. And Saturday night seen the Bulls play the Oshawa Generals in their last home until Oct 24. We also visit the Mack Lemmon Trade.
October 10th v Brampton
Coming in it was fair to say we would see a game similar to the game played in Brampton on September 28, a 1-0 Battalion victory. But for a while it was almost a carbon copy. In this game Michael Cramarossa made his
OHL debut marking the 1st time in franchise history that the Bulls have had 2 sets of brothers , Michael and his brother Joseph and Malcolm and Jordan Subban playing on the team at the same time, Bulls 1st round pick Niki Petti sat out his 2nd straight game with injury. The other scratches for the Bulls were Aaron Berisha, Alex Carnevale and Daniel De Sousa.
The 1st period saw Brampton out shot Belleville 13-7 and lead 1-0 on a goal by Brenden Miller on the power play from Blake Clarke and Patrik Machac at 13:29. The power play marker was only the 3rd the Bulls have given up this season. At one point the Troops had probably blocked more shots than the Bulls had put on net and Belleville needed a spark, well in stepped Garrett Hooey who has been the Bulls best forward this season and he used a fight ticket when he had what I guess was a fight with Brendan Childerley.
In the middle frame Malcolm Subban was the Bulls best player making 11 saves. Belleville's skaters were not really sharp, not really bad ether, just not doing the things you need to do to beat Brampton. The Battalion give you very little time, if you don't skate they are on you, Belleville wasn't really skating, if you don't move the puck they are on you, Belleville's puck movement was "meh", if you don't get the shot off in a timely manner, they block it. Matej Machovsky is a good goalie who benefits from playing on a defence 1st team, but when he needs to be good he is. The Bulls had two power play chances in the 2nd and managed 8 shots in total.
You have to give Brampton Credit they played a great road game, but is it a road game plan? This is their style. I'm not against a trap style; I've seen it work here in Belleville. It’s a system that the Bulls use when they need to and are not afraid to turn to when needed. It works; Bulls Coach George Burnett and Brampton's Coach Stan Butler are the two winningest active coaches in the OHL. I don't know how many tickets it sells and it may have something to do with only 2144 showing up Wednesday night. But for those who did got rewarded about midway through the final frame, The Bulls started to turn it on, out shooting Brampton 15-6, and with Malcolm
Subban on the bench for the extra attacker Belleville scored to tie the game. At 18:42. Captain Brendan Gaunce (VAN) scored his 3rd on the season from Sergey Kuptsov and Jordan Subban to tie the game 1-1 and sent us to OT. The goal was the third in three games for Gaunce and Jordan Subban's apple put him on a nice 4 game point streak.
Belleville carried the play in OT out shooting the Troops 5-2, but were unable to beat Machovsky. In shot outs this season the Bulls are 1-0 and with the CHL's best shootout goaltender in Malcolm Subban there was no reason to think they wouldn't win. But on this night it was the scorers and Jordan Subban who won the shoot out for Belleville. Brampton's three shooters were Blake Clarke, Patrik Machac, who both scored and Battalions leading scorer Barclay Goodrow who was stopped by M Subban. For Belleville it was Joseph Cramarossa, Brendan Gaunce and Jordan Subban, each hitting the twine behind Machovsky. Belleville defeats Brampton 2-1 in the shot out. Bulls PP-0/3, PK-3/4 Belleville out shot Brampton 36-32 3 Stars 1- Bulls Malcolm Subban (31SVS), 2- Battalion Matej Machovsky (34SVS), 3- Bulls Brendan Gaunce (1G)
October 12th at Brampton
Friday night the Bulls and Battalion met for the third time this season and the second time this week. Earlier in the day the Bulls trimmed their roster to 23 players after trading 2nd year forward Mack Lemmon to the Niagara IceDogs in exchange for a third round draft pick in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection. Belleville now has 14 forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders. Coach Burnett said trading last season’s 2nd round pick in the draft was about giving "a quality young man who is deserving of a better opportunity than the one we can provide him at the present time", We thought the Bulls would move someone, and Lemmon makes sense. Mack will be a real effective player in the OHL, His style of play will be a treat to watch in the "The Jack". The only thing missing from Mack's game might be offence. He hits, he doesn't mind dusting it up and when he's on the ice he can make things happen. He takes some bad timed penalties and plays a little undisciplined for the system the Bulls Coaching staff employ. I feel in a different season Lemmon stays and develops in Belleville, but in a year when the Bulls have hopes of Championships, it’s not the time. Lemmon needs ice time and will get it in Niagara. Bulls’ scratches were Alex Carnevale, Chad Heffernan, and Daniel De Sousa.
With this being Belleville's 4th game of a 5 games in 8 days schedule, Charlie Graham was given his 1st start of the season. Last year in his rookie season as a 16 year old Graham was 2-7 with a 3.95 GAA and .870 save %. Belleville needs Charlie to play and for the team to trust playing in front of him. There is a good chance Malcolm Subban (Boston Bruins) well spend some time in Russia this winter and Graham will be handed the reins. Well he got off to a great start, Charlie made 30 saves for a 2-0 win over the home town Troops. The shutout was his 1st in the OHL. Belleville got a 1-0 lead when rookie Aaron Berisha scored his 1st of the season on a nice pass from behind the net from Scott Simmonds at 17:33 of the 1st period. Brampton out shot Belleville in the game 30-23, but the Bulls were playing a great road game, doing a lot of things that Brampton does to be successful, they were filling the lanes, blocking shots, and not really giving Brampton any room. Belleville only needed one goal thanks to the fine play of Graham but on a highlight reel scoring play Sergey Kuptsov with a one timer fired home his 2nd on the power play, after some nice passing by Joseph Cramarossa (Anaheim Ducks) and Brendan Gaunce (Vancouver Canucks). The assist gives Gaunce points in 4 straight games. Belleville has now won two games in a row and has picked up at least a point in the last 4 games going 3-0-1. Belleville went 1/3 on the PP and 3/3 on the PK. 1856 fans seen the Bulls sweep the 3 stars 3 Stars - 1- Charlie Graham (30 SVS) 2- Sergey Kuptsov (1 G), 3-Aaron Berisha (1 G).
October 12th v Oshawa
Saturday night the Bulls played their 5th in game in the last 8 days. Belleville defeat the Oshawa Generals 4-1, over this stretch they took 9 of a possible 10 points. The Bulls record on the season in 9 games played is now 6-2-1 with 13 points, good for 2nd in the East Division and 3rd in the Eastern Conference. Belleville is on a 3 game winning streak.
Oshawa would give rookie Ken Appleby his first start in the OHL and Belleville got to him early when Captain Brendan Gaunce (Vancouver Canucks) scored his 4th of the season on the 1st shot Appleby faced in the game at 1:23 of the 1st period, Joseph Cramarossa (Anaheim Ducks) and Brady Austin (Buffalo Sabres) got the helpers, Belleville would score again before the 5 minute mark when at 4:43 Austen Brassard (Winnipeg Jets) also with his 4th beat Appleby on the power play from Jordan Subban and Austin picking up his second apple on the night. After that Appleby seemed to settle down and played pretty well the rest of the period. The Bulls put 14 shots on net in the 1st and Malcolm Subban (Boston Bruins) made 12 saves and was looking very sharp.
The Bulls won the 1st period but the Generals are big physical team, and they were hitting everything, and started to wear the Bulls down in the 2nd. Bulls rookie D-Man Daniel De Sousa seeing spot duty filling in for the injured Jake Worrad was a target as was import Daniil Zharkov (Edmonton oilers). The visitors scored the only goal in the 2nd when Chris Carlisle scored his 1st goal in the OHL after be jumped out of the penalty box on a breakaway and beat Malcolm Subban clean at 8:51 from Scott Laughton (Philadelphia Flyers) cutting the Toros lead to 2-1.
The 2nd wasn't Belleville's best period by far; they had 3 chances on the man advantage but were outshot 17-4 in the period. Zharkov restored the Bulls two goal lead when he made it 3-1 at 2:37 of the 3rd after he fired a NHL caliber wrist shot past Appleby. Brady Austen played a tone of minutes in this game; he picked up his third assist in the game on the Zharkov goal. This game had an edge to it both clubs were being a little chippy, Belleville took 2 minor penalties in the game and one was in third and Malcolm Subban was great. with the Generals winning almost every face off, Malcolm made 3 back to back to back glove saves and was the best penalty killer on the ice, Michael Curtis played a great game defensively and was rewarded with an empty net goal at 19:39 his 2nd on the year from line mate Carter Sandlak to seal the deal.
Belleville defeated Oshawa 4-1. The Generals out shoot Belleville 16-10 in the 3rd and 45-28 in the game. Belleville's Power Play went 1/6 and the PK went 2/2. Belleville sweep the 3 Stars for the second game in a row 1- Malcolm Subban (45 SVS), 2- Brady Austin (3 A), 3- Daniil Zharkov (1 G). In this game we seen a real good effort from the Bulls, Malcolm Subban was really good and was challenging shooters, he was really dialed in, but so was his team.
The Bulls were able to keep their cool when the Generals were trying to mix things up; Belleville was hitting and blocking shots. I don't know the number but Stephen Silas blocked a boat load of shots, all of the D played well. Brady Austin showed flashes of the style of play that got him drafted last spring, Adam Bignell was solid, Jordan Subban added another assist and was one of few Bulls shooting on the power play, and Daniel De Sousa played well in a limited role and showed some good skating ability. And Jason Shaw was calm something the Bulls need him to be. Bulls rookie Chad Heffernan (6'1" 184lbs) used his 1st fight card when he tangled with the older (2 years) and Bigger Josh Brown (6'5" 211lbs) and held his own. This was the second fight ticket Brown has used on the Bulls; he fought Scott Simmonds Sept 29th.
Notes: The win Friday night in Brampton was the 522nd victory of Coach Burnett’s career and was the 522nd loss of Stan Butler’s career. Belleville has scored 24 goals on the season and has given up a OHL best 18 goals. Brendan Gaunce is on a 5 game point streak (4G 2A). Bulls have been great on the PK. In 29 kills the Bulls have only gave up 3 goals.
Bulls Alumni News: Mike Murphy is playing for Moscow Spartak of the KHL, Branko Radivojevic is the Captain of the Spartak, and Kevin Lalande was also playing in the KHL with Minsk Dynamo. Nathan Robinson the OHL's leading scorer in 2001-02 is playing for the Cologne Sharks of the Deutsche Eishockey League.