DALY CITY, Calif. – San Francisco Bulls Dean Ouellet scored his first professional hat trick and the team’s first of franchise history in their fourth consecutive win in a row, defeating the Stockton Thunder 6-3.
The Thunder outshot the Bulls consistently, 37-24 by nights end, but was unable to make them count.
The Bulls opened the scoring early in the first period, with a goal that beat Tyler Bunz stick side from Peter Sivak at 3:39. The Thunder returned the favor at 12:17 when a rebound shot from Harrison Reed that was deflected by Thomas Heemskerk sent the puck back out to a waiting Justin Maylan. Maylan spun around and quickly took the shot beating Heemskerk blocker side. Bulls’ Andrew Crescenzi scored his first goal of the season with 3:15 remaining in the period beating, Bunz on a one-timer, to put the Bulls up 2-1 going into the break.
The second period began with heavy defense on both sides, much of the play in the neutral zone. But at 6:06 Dean Ouellet scored his first of the night on a power play goal with a wrister to the back of the net. At 8:32, Ouellet did it again, on a breakaway, beating Bunz again, causing the Thunder to pull Bunz in favor of Cody Reichard.
Stockton’s Jesse Fratkin scored their second goal of the night at 12:12, but that would be as close as they could get.
With Phil Mangan in the penalty box for a hooking call, Ouellet scored goal number three at 12:28, putting the 3,389 fans on their feet. Despite only a few hats making it to the ice, it was a proud moment. Ouellet, also scored the Bulls’ first ever goal in franchise history, back on October 12 against the Condors.
“It’s pretty special. It’s good luck for me that I was in the right place at the right time on both occasions,” said Ouellet. “It comes down to all my teammates at the same time. We have turned this thing around,” he added about the team struggling early in the season.
A final Thunder goal came with 3:27 remaining from Eric Hunter to make the score 5-3. But with Reichard pulled for an extra skater, the puck got loose and Jordan Morrison dropped it in the net for the final score of 6-3. With 1:29 remaining, Reichard was placed back in the net until the bell.
The Thunder loss snapped a three game streak, while extending the Bulls to their fourth win in a row. The Bulls were two of four on the power play, a repeat of the previous night’s efforts in that 5-1 victory over the Reign.
Coach Pat Curcio was pleased with the win. “We will take what we can get. That was a good hockey team we played tonight. We are happy to take the wins when we can.”
Curcio is seeing some satisfaction in the effort from special teams. ” Special teams have been great. Our penalty kill has been exceptional, the power play a bit sloppy, but effective.”
Ouellet said, “It is great to score on the power play. A lot of teams at this level are good at even strength, but the power play has been good.”
“We are playing more as a team. We were playing as individuals. Now we are all playing together. We are like a family; all taking care of each other now,” added Ouellet about the change in the team from the locker room perspective.
Ouellet was also thrilled that his family was in the building to see his first professional hat trick. They had been enjoying the sights of San Francisco from Edmunston, New Brunswick.
The Thunder is 11-4-1 with 23 points, holding onto fourth place in the Western Conference, while the Bulls improve to 8-10-0-2 with 18 points in sixth.
The Thunder returns home for a mid-week match against the Aces, while the Bulls hit the road, headed for Las Vegas next Friday.
One other note, a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem was performed by the Bulls’ own Media Relations and Broadcaster Jason Lockhart.
Contact the writer at Shellie.Lima@prohockeynews.com
Contact the Photographer at Jack.Lima@prohockeynews.com