With every game that passes the Belleville Bulls keep reminding the rest of the OHL that they are a real contender. Tonight the Peterborough Petes were in town and for the eighth game in a row and the tenth straight at home the Belleville Bulls were victorious. Belleville has had problems with Peterborough all season but not in this one the Bulls would win 5-2. Belleville look very strong in all aspects of this game. The Bulls got 2 goals each from Daniil Zharkov and Tyler Graovac and a 4 point effort from Joseph Cramarossa. This is the last game of the regular season series between these two East Division rivals. The Bulls record Vs the Petes this season is now 2-1-3.
The Bulls have had some issues with the Petes this season and in the 1st it looked like maybe the Bulls might again. Not that Peterborough scored in the 1st period, they didn't and nether did Belleville. But our friends from the Lift Lock City out shoot the Bulls 20-12. In the game the Petes held the edge in shots 38-35. The 1st is were the Petes really tested Malcolm Subban and he stood tall. The Bruins Prospect only faced 18 shots the rest of the way. Malcolm leads the OHL with a 2.20 GAA and is tied for the league lead with a ,932 save percentage. Andrew D'Agostini has played the Bulls really well all season. He won in Belleville on New Years Day and shut out the Bulls on January 3rd with a 42 save effort. After tonight his record Vs Belleville this season is 3-1-1. Andrew is one of those players that its really hard to cheer against. Anytime a player is the recipient of the Ivan Tennant Memorial Award and the Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy you can rest assure that he is a quality young man, the kind of guy that helps make the OHL the top junior hockey League in Canada. Hockey Night in Canada did a nice piece on Andrew for their Hockey Day in Canada celebrations in Peterborough. It highlights the work that D'Agostini does for Cystic Fibrosis Canada and his relationship with 6 year old Anthony Romanelli who was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis three years ago. If you haven't seen it, look it up its really worth a watch.
It was the Petes who scored first. At 12:03 of the 2nd Petes Captain Derek Mathers feed a real nice pass to Stephen Pierog who put his 15th of the season behind Malcolm Subban to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. But before the period would end it was the vastly improved Bulls power play that would give Belleville a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes. Tyler Graovac would tie the game early in a 5 on 3 man advantage with his 33rd from Joseph Cramarossa and Alan Quine. At 19:16 Daniil Zharkov would score his 19th from Brendan Gaunce and Cramarossa Sr.
In the third period Wild draft pick Graovac would bulge the twine for his 2nd of the game at 0:29. The eventual game winner and Graovac's 34th was assisted by Scott Simmonds and Captain Gaunce. Zharkov also picked up his 2nd of the night from J Cramarossa, making it 4-1. The Oilers draft pick now has 20 on the year and has steadily picked up his game since returning from the World Jr. Tournament. Pierog added an other goal for the Petes but Joseph Cramarossa would seal the deal with his 16th from Jake Worrad and Jordan Subban making it 5-2.
Belleville would win the special teams battle going 3/5 on the power play. And thanks to their effort tonight the Bulls are no longer in the basement of the OHL's power play ranking as they leap frog the Petes. The Bulls PK is still tops in the OHL.
Before the game the Bulls listed Stephen Silas as week to week with concussion like symptoms. Saturday nights game is only the ninth game Silas has missed in his 5 year OHL career and only the second because of injury. Coach Burnett said on the CJBQ pre game show with Jack Miller, that they looked at the hit and that it wasn't a big hit, but Stephen's head went off the glass and right away Silas recognized that something was wrong. Burnett said that the OA D-Man is out this weekend for sure and its looking like next weekend as well.
So tomorrow afternoon in Ottawa when Belleville goes for their 9th win in a row, the Bulls will be without Silas, Michael Curtis and Niki Petti, all out due to injury. Belleville will still be with out OA Jake Cardwell who will serve his ninth game of a ten game suspension and in all likelihood Belleville will also be without veteran Carter Sandlak who took an instigator penalty with less then 5 minutes remaining. Before the Sandlak ordeal rookie Chad Heffernan got mixed up with Petes player Nelson Armstrong on a delayed penalty call against the Petes, but was lucky (kind of) when he didn't take a two minute penalty and wipe out the Bulls power play chance but instead took a 10 minute misconduct. Heffernan is a rookie and over time he will learn that you have to walk away from those type of things when your team is up by three goals late in the game, its not worth maybe taking a penalty or worse being injured. But again Chad is a rookie and plays a rough and rumble type of game and is learning his way. But Carter Sandlak has to know better, he is a 4th year player in the OHL. I understand that no one like to hit from behind and that's what happened to Sandlak when Brandon Devlin hit him. Devlin was already going for two minutes and it was clear that Sandlak wasn't injured based on how fast he hopped up and engaged Devlin. It was a real undisciplined penalty that will give his club an even shorter bench. It also a nice way to take up residence in Coach Burnett's dog house.