Junior Hockey is a funny game and some times you are forced to "Take the Good and Take the Bad" its the facts of life. Few people in the OHL know that better then Belleville Bulls Head Coach and General Manager George Burnett. Coach Burnett has Coached over 1100 games in the OHL and won over 550. I'm sure at this point in his career very few things surprise him. Last Monday when his Belleville Bulls defeated the Barrie Colts 3-0, to take over 1st place in the Eastern Conference, you can bet he was pleased because his game plan worked. But Wednesday night in a 8-5 win over the Ottawa 67's, maybe still pleased just maybe not so much. A win is a win and he will take but it was far from the game plan
Lets start with the good things that happened. First and foremost it was a win and in sports it doesn't matter if its ice hockey, field hockey, table hockey or Bocce Ball winning is the bottom line and that is what the Bulls did. They won, they defeated a struggling nothing to lose division rival who currently sits in the basement of the league as a whole. Its a good thing to win division games and this is the sixth time that the Bulls have defeated Ottawa this season. It was their ninth win in a row at the friendly confines of the Yardman Arena. The Bulls have played very well at home this season, with a record of 21-5-1-1 and a .786 winning percentage, Belleville is one of the best home teams in the OHL. I once heard a coach say you have to win your home games and play at least .500 hockey on the road. Done. The winning talk doesn't stop there, oh no the victory was also the Toros seventh in a row. Belleville is 9-1-0-0 in their last ten. Its safe to say that the Bulls are rolling.
On the score sheet it might be easy to say Charlie Graham didn't have a great game. But how do you blame him when he gets the win, and Burnett didn't mind he stuck with Charlie all night. Offensively this was a great effort, Belleville went 3 for 7 on the power play and seven different Bulls had multi point games. Jake Worrad and Daniil Zharkov (Oilers) each had a pair of assist. Austen Brassard (Jets) had a goal and a helper. Scott Simmonds came real close to tying a franchise record set by Stan Drulia.. The OHL's all time leading scorer scored 2 goals seven seconds apart in November of 1985, Simmonds scored his 4th (PP) and his 5th, nine seconds apart in the 2nd period. Jordan Subban had three assets and just continues to get better. Jordan has already more then doubled his point totals of last season and leads Belleville with a plus-17. Jordan has 14 goals after scoring 5 in his rookie season.
Tyler Graovac (Wild) had 4 points (1G. 3A) and now has 15 points in his last 8 games. in total Graovac has 11G and 13A in 18 games played for the Bulls, In most of the high scoring games that Belleville plays in , its safe to say that Alan Quine (Redwings) has been a big part of that, and this game was no different he had 4 points too. Scoring 3 goals and picking up an apple. Quine has also done his job since coming to Belleville he now has 9G and 21A in 17 games with the Bulls. Captain Brendan Gaunce (Canucks) added a single goal in the game and Joseph Cramarossa (Ducks) and Aaron Berisha had single helpers.
Its great to score goals and its nice to see this team starting to light the lamp maybe more then they ever have under Burnett. But the Bulls can't get in to bad habits and start to think that they can play sloppy, and careless and start running and gunning with teams. Again don't get me wrong its nice for fans to see lots of goals but for this team to be successful in the long run it just wont work. Burnett told the Intell that "we were way too loose and not determined in the tough areas, where we needed to eliminate chances and turnovers". In short the Bulls need to be more disciplined and can't try and trade goals with other clubs. Its not their style and its a impossible pace to keep up.
On Saturday night the Peterborough Petes visit the Yardman in what could be a possible 1st round match-up if the Petes are able to catch Kingston for the final playoff spot. The Petes have handled Belleville really well this season leading the season series 4-1.
Steven Silas left Saturday's game in the second period on Wednesday night joining Michael Curtis (knee) and Niki Petti (elbow) on the injured list. The time line on Curtis and Petti we have heard is 2-4 weeks. But with Silas we have heard nothing, only what we read on the Bulls website and that was that its not positive and that they (The Bulls) are not sure how serious it is. George told the Intell that he was unable to really comment on the condition of Silas and that more tests are being done Silas has only missed 8 games in his 5 year OHL career. Lets hope for a speedy recovery and that he is able to return sooner then later.