The Belleville Bulls started the 2012-2013 season, their 32nd in franchise history on a Western road.trip. Belleville travelled to Sarnia on Friday night to face the Sting and a trip across the border to Plymouth to tangle with the Whalers Saturday night.
Friday September 21, 2012 Vs The Sarnia Sting.
Friday night was the Stings home opener and the crowd of 3,278 wanted to party. The Sting are lead by Alex Galchenyuk (Montreal Canadiens), Reid Boucher (New Jersey Devils) and Charles Sarault upfront. On the back end its Conner Murphy (Phoenix Coyotes) on defence and OA goal tender JP Anderson. Former Bull Alex Basso was a scratch for the home team.
The 1st period started great for Belleville, they came out flying, rolling all four lines and carrying the play. The Bulls didn't score on their first power play when Sarnia D-Man Josh Chapman served 2 minutes for Interference, but the PP looked real good and was creating chances, something it didn't do a lot of last season when it was ranked 20th in the OHL. When Chapman left the box Belleville was out shooting Sarnia 7-1. The next time the home team took a penalty it was Justice Dundas for holding and the Bulls made the power play work this time taking a 1-0 lead at 9:59 when OA Joesph Cramarossa netted his 1st of the season from Captain Brendan Gaunce (Vancouver Canucks) and Jordan Subban. Bulls forward Carter Sandlak took a roughing minor 25 seconds after the goal, but Bellevilles PK unit was strong and killed it off. Sarnia started to pick up the play and getting some shots on net but Malcolm Subban (Boston Bruins) shut the door. All and all Belleville 1st period of the 2012-2013 season was a success. They where leading 1-0 and out shooting the Sting 14-10.
The 2nd frame was a slower pace, almost a crawl compared to the 1st period with both teams slowing it down and only firing 6 shots a piece on net. Belleville took a 2-0 lead when they scored the only goal at 10:50, again on the power play when Austen Brassard (Winnipeg Jets) potted what would be the game winner, his 1st of the season from Gaunce and Daniil Zharkov (Edmonton Oilers). For most of the game Coach Burnett used Gaunce on the point on the power play and it work really well. Later in the middle frame 5th year Belleville Bull Stephen Silas took exception to a hit by Josh Chapman on Joseph Cramarossa and used up one of his 10 fight tickets. After 40 minutes the Bulls lead 2-0 and were out shooting the Sting 20-16.
The third period started with Sarina D-Man Jack Kuzmyk scoring his 1st from Sarault and Galchenyuk at 4:40 to cut the lead to 2-1. It was a big goal for Kuzmyk it was his first since the 2010-2011 season. But the rest of the way it was the Malcolm Subban Show. Sarnia out shot Belleville 12-7 inn the third and 28-27 in the game. Subban was very sharp. Micheal Curtis sealed the deal for the visitors with 39 seconds left when he scored an empty net goal at 19:21 from Brady Austin (Buffalo Sabres). Belleville defeats Sarnia 3-1. This game was Bellevilles 2012 1st rounder Niki Petti and Aaron Berisha 1st in the OHL.
Bulls PP 2/4 - PK 3/3
Three Stars:1-Bulls Malcolm Subban (27 SVS), 2-Sting Jack Kuzmyk (1 G) 3-Bulls Brendan Gaunce (2 A)
Saturday September 22, 2012 Vs The Plymouth Whalers.
Saturday was a a good test for the Bulls to show that they can play with the big boys of the OHL, Coming in the Whalers were ranked 7th in the CHL and 11 NHL drafted players on the roster and are looking to make a serious charge. Belleville wasn't in the top 10 but did garner some Honourable mention. The game didn't start the way the Bulls had hoped giving up a goal in the first minute at 0:51 when Texas native Stefan Noesen (Ottawa Senators) wrangled his 2nd of the season from OA Captain Colin MacDonald and one of the Whalers other OA players former Belleville Bull Alex Aleardi. Shortly after the goal Belleville went down two men for a long time but where able to withstand the Whalers attack. Plymouth didn't score on the man advantage but beat Malcolm Subban again at 8:42 when Ryan Hartman one of the OHL's top NHL Draft Eligible players scored his 1st from Garrett Meurs (Colorado Avalanche) and Matthew Mistele to give the home team a 2-0 lead. After the early push from the home team Belleville got on the score sheet when Austen Brassard bagged his 2nd of the season from Jordan Subban and Jake Worrad. Plymouth carried the play for must of the first frame and had it not been for the fine play of Malcolm Subban, they could have a strangle hold on this game. The period ended with Belleville trailing 2-1 and being out shot 15-10.
The 2nd was kinda going the way of the 1st with the home team setting the pace, and like the 1st Malcolm Subban was up to the task holding Belleville in the game till 6:17 when Carter Sandlak with his 1st from Garrett Hooey and Jordan Subban tied the game 2-2. After the tying goal Bellevilles play started to pick up and both teams were skating real well. Around 12:36 two players from each team decided that it was a good time to use up one of their fight tickets. The first bout featured Whalers Hartman and Mack Lemmeon, the second fight featured Bulls Adam Bignell and Conner Sills. Both players in the second fight received game misconduct penalties for being the 3rd man in. The third ended 2-2 with Belleville being out shot 10-7 in the period and 25-17 in the game.
The third period was great. Both the Whalers and the Bulls playing north south hockey. Belleville really tightened up even out shooting the home team 9-7. But the biggest save of the night came when Malcolm Subban shut the door on a nice 2nd chance by Hartman at the buzzer sending the game to overtime. In the overtime Belleville was the better time but not by much as both teams traded chances and if not for the play of both M.Subban and Plymouths Matt Mahalak the game would have ended. Belleville had the lead in shots in the OT 4-3. with the Whalers having the edge in the game 35-30.
Before the shootout some of the 2046 fans headed for the exits, maybe its because they knew that with the best shot out goalie in the OHL what the outcome would be. Malcolm Subban shopped all three Plymouth shooters Noesen, Aleardi and Meurs . For Belleville Brendan Gaunce was stopped and Joesph Cramarossa scored the winner. Belleville defeated Plymouth 3-2 in the shoot out. It was Chad Heffernan 1st OHL game.
Bulls - PP 0/4 PK 2/2
Three Stars:1- Bulls Malcolm Subban (33 SVS), 2- Whalers Ryan Hartman (1 G), 3- Bulls Joseph Cramarossa (SO Winner)
Week One was a success for the Belleville Bulls going 2-0. It seem them roll 4 lines that all showed some good things and you could see in there style of play that this team was starting to play the system and style that Coach Burnett and his staff employ. They received Top drawer goal tending from Malcolm Subban The PP after being real weak not just last season but for the last couple showed some improvement going 2/8 and looking real dangerous with Brendan Gaunce now manning the point on the 1st unit. Jordan Subban was skating real well and leads the team with 3 points, And the PK was very good and very steady going a perfect 5/5.
Belleville starts Week Two on the road Friday in Brampton Vs the Battalion before they celebrate their home opener Saturday night Vs the Oshawa Generals.