Pro hockey returns to the Cow Palace

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – SF Bulls fans and players alike were happy to finally cut the ribbon on their first ECHL season Wednesday night at the Cow Palace before 4,836 fans. Overall, it was a good first night.

Bulls prepare to enter the ice

Bulls prepare to enter the ice

Good crowd, good action and good hockey as the Bulls played host to the visiting Stockton Thunder in what was the first and only home preseason game for the Bulls.  
Open face-off at the Cow Palace

Open face-off at the Cow Palace

After both teams traded a few good scoring opportunities in the opening few minutes of the first, the Bulls got on the board at the 14:42 mark.
Bulls: Justin Bowers

Bulls: Justin Bowers

It was the SF Bulls Captain, Justin Bowers, that gained the distinction of scoring the first ever goal in SF Bulls franchise history. Bowers’ goal would stand as the lone goal of the first in fact. The second period proved a much more wide-open affair as six goals were scored in total.
Bulls Taylor Nelson defends the net with Gabriel Levesque near the crease

Bulls Taylor Nelson defends the net with Gabriel Levesque near the crease

Two of Stockton’s goals came in a span of a minute and a half. The final goal of the period was especially big for the Thunder and even more irritating for the home team’s fans as it broke a 3-3 tie and was scored in the final minute of play in the period. Not to be left out, the Bulls did score twice in the second period. One of those goals was shorthanded. The period ended 4-3 in favor of Stockton on their late goal.
Thunder%27s Garet Hunt and Bulls Scott Langdon square off

Thunder%27s Garet Hunt and Bulls Scott Langdon square off

Goals in the second for the Bulls were from Kevin Baker and Sacha Guimond.  Stockton’s four goals were off the sticks of Evan Mackintosh, Phil Mangan and a pair from Harrison Reed.
Scott Langdon rallies crowd

Scott Langdon rallies crowd

The Bulls fought back in the third, finally breaking through with the tying goal at the 9:57 mark. The goal was the second of the night for the Bulls Captain Justin Bowers. His goal wound up being the only goal of the period as the play reverted back to the tight checking style seen in the first period.
Bulls: Kris Belan prepares to enter the ice from the dressing room

Bulls: Kris Belan prepares to enter the ice from the dressing room

With the score tied at four goals apiece at the end of regulation, the teams squared off for five minutes of 4-on-4 sudden death overtime. Stockton’s Gabriel Levesque scored the winning goal at the 1:41 mark of the OT frame.
Thunder: Gabriel Levesque

Thunder: Gabriel Levesque

Just prior to the goal, the Bulls were assessed a five-minute major and match penalty for a hit to the head and forced them to have to kill the penalty 3-on-4. As with most 3-on-4’s, the task proved too difficult for the shorthanded Bulls and the visiting Thunder left the ice with the win.      The Bulls will close out their preseason as they travel to Colorado for a Friday matchup with the Eagles. The Bulls regular season home opener will be next Friday October 12 when they will face off with the Bakersfield Condors at 7:15.  
Contact the writer at Randy.Thompson@prohockeynews.com
All photos by Jack Lima – Jack.Lima@prohockeynews.com
Follow Pro Hockey News on Twitter – @prohockeynews

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