For The Belleville Bulls It Starts With Brendan Gaunce
**BULLS 2, BATTALION 3 (O.T.)**
Vincent Praplan notched the winner for the hometown Bats 1:21 into the extra frame. Gaunce had tied it at 10:37 of Period 3, unassisted.
Niki Petti, from Remi Elie and Adam Bignell, scored the earlier Belleville goal. Charlie Graham made 25 saves for the Bulls while his teammates fired 26 shots at the North Bay cage.
Attendance at refurbished Memorial Gardens was announced as 3,340.
**BULLS 4, WOLVES 3**
Making good on a 'Sudbury Saturday night,' Bulls got the W in the shootout, 2-1, after third-year defenceman Jordan Subban (1-2) and Gaunce (2-1) both picked up three points in regulation time.
Graham made 50 saves while his teammates fired 45 pucks at Sudbury's Troy Timpano. Gaunce won first-star honours before a throng of 3,074 as he and Subban converted their shootout shots.
**BULLS 5, HOUNDS 7**
Bulls blew a 5-4 lead in the Soo, where the Hounds were undefeated (5-0-1) coming in. Gaunce (2-1) had a three-point game while Luke Cairns (1-1) chipped in with a two-pointer.
Last week we mentioned in our title about how better days are ahead for the Belleville Bulls, who currently sit in last place in the OHL's Eastern Conference with a record of 3-9-2-1 in 15 games played. Its been a tough start for the Belleville Bulls and we aren't all that surprised that the Bulls are and will be fighting to get in to the playoff picture. Hockey is full of cliches, but one that will ring true for the Bulls this season is "Your Best Players, Have To Be Your Best Players". And thats starting to happen.
Its no secret that Vancouver Canucks 2012 1st round draft pick and Bulls Captain Brendan Gaunce, is not only the Bulls top dog, but he is considered one of the elite players in not only the OHL but the CHL as well. Lots of good thing have happened for the former Captain of the Markham Waxer in his Jr career. In his rookie season (2010-11) he put up 36 PTS (11G,25A) after being selected by the Bulls 2nd overall behind former Sarnia Sting and current Montreal Canadien Alex Galchenyuk. Gaunce had 55G & 93A in 86 games in his last year with the Waxers making him the highest scoring minor midget player in Ontario. The Bulls also liked his athleticism, two-way game, leadership abilities and maturity. He was also named a Toronto Star High School Hockey First Team All-Star.
Over Christmas in 2010-11 Gaunce won Gold at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. His relationship with Hockey Canada continued. In 2011-12 he was invited to the NHL Research & Development Camp in Toronto, he won gold at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Breclav, CZE, with a goal and an assist in the Gold medal win over Sweden. He was named an assistant Captain with Belleville and was their leading scorer. He picked up a Bronze at the World Under 18 Hockey Championships.
Last season after being drafted 26th overall by the Canucks, he was signed to a three year entry level contract and was named Bulls Captain. Brendan is a leader on the ice, he was voted the top defensive forward in the OHL in the annual Coaches Poll and added 33G to boot and was named to the OHL Roster for the Subway Super Series, not to be forgotten is the fact that he had 22 PTS in 17 playoff games. He is the leader off the ice as well leading the way academically as the Bulls' representative to receive the Roger Neilson Award, given to the post-secondary student who exemplifies excellence in the classroom last season. Every charity event the Bulls do Gaunce is involved, including making substantial financial donations to the Quinte Children's Foundation for $500, as well as an undisclosed amount for each Bulls victory throughout the season. but he wasn't done there he also made a $1500 donation to the Quinte Children's Foundation's Build a Player Program. Brendan Gaunce is a great Belleville Bull but 1st he's a very bright young man, that the Quinte Region should be very proud to call their own.
Saying all that, when the Canucks sent Gaunce back to Belleville this fall, you had know that it surely hurt him. This is a kid that in all likelihood has never been cut from a team and in the back of his mind I'm sure he knows there is no shame in not making an NHL roster on your 1st real try. And you could see it in his play, yeah he was picking up points but he wasn't playing anywhere near the style that made him a NHL 1st round pick. That changed this weekend, Brendan brought his "A" game up north. He was doing all things he does well, he was a force, the force the Bulls need him to be, if they hope to make the playoffs. in three games Gaunce had 5 goals and 2 assists, plus a real beauty shootout winner Vs Sudbury.
Those of us that reside in Conspiracy Corner of the Yardman are having a hard time with the fact the Brendan Gaunce was awarded OHL player of the week honours. Yeah we know McGinn had a great week and to be honest its hard to argue with him winning but Gaunce should have at least been mentioned in the also considered group.
Jordan Subban leads the team with 10 assists and at last he scored his 1st goal this season last weekend. Subban scored 15 goals last season and added 36 assists and for a long time was the Bulls leading scorer. Jordan was drafted last spring by the Vancouver Canucks in the 4th round, 115th overall. The Bulls need Subban to be a leader offensively, its part of the plan, he looked the best he has all year this weekend. after getting the monkey off his back with his 1st goal, look for Jordan's swagger if you will, to return.
Charlie Graham keeps impressing with every outing. Graham has faced 507 shots in 12 games played and has made 461 saves. In the 12 games that Charlie has played he has faced over 39 shots 9 times, included in those nine times over 39, was a 67 save effort vs Guelph at home 2 weeks ago and a 50 saves performance in the Bulls 1st road victory in Sudbury last Saturday. As he tightens up, the Belleville victories will start to pile up. |
Notes: Niki Petti scored his 1st goal since October 2nd on Sunday Vs North Bay and had a 3 point (1G,2A) weekend...... Belleville returns home this week for two home games Vs Mississauga on Wednesday night and North Bay on Saturday......Bulls have played the last 5 on the road and 7 of their last 10 have been on the road.....Belleville power play is ranked 15th in the OHL going 12/65 (18.5%) and the penalty kill is a very surprising 19th overall, being shorthanded 59 times allowing 20 goals.......Bulls have scored 41 goal this season as a team only the Kitchener Rangers have scored less with 32... Bulls have gave up 63 goals against..
Alumni : PK Subban is the NHL's top scoring defensemen with 11 PTS in 13 games....
**Game recaps courtesy of the Belleville Intelligencer**