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SUDBURY, ON - Despite battling hard to the final buzzer and handily outshooting their opponents on Friday night in Sudbury, Ray Huether's goal 6:13 into the third period stood as the difference maker as the Bulls saw their four game winning streak snapped in a 3-2 loss.
A lengthy delay out of the warmups set the game's start time back an hour to 8:30pm as a broken pane of glass in the Sudbury zone needed repair. Wolves fans were anxious to get the puck dropped an hour later, and made their presence felt throughout the night in support of their club.
As they did in Sault Ste. Marie on Thursday, the Bulls came out of the gate a step behind in the early going. Brody Silk gave the Wolves an early lead just 1:35 into the action, beating Malcolm Subban before he had a chance to face many shots in the game. Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Josh Leivo made a nice saucer pass to set up the opportunity before Silk cut around the Belleville defence and beat Subban through the legs on the forehand.
The Bulls picked up the pace shortly thereafter, peppering Joel Vienneau with 16 first period shots, ten of which were scoring opportunities. Often finding guys open in the slot, the Bulls blasted numerous one timers on the Sudbury goal from point blank range, but none got through the armour of the netminder.
The powerplay solved the problem 16:41 into the first as Jordan Subban, who contines to catch the attention of observers, beat Vienneau with a rocket through a screen from the point as the puck snuck under his armpit and trickled over the goal line. Sergey Kuptsov and Jake Worrad contributed with assists.
The Bulls carried the bulk of the offensive play in the first period as Worrad was continually jumping into the play and registering offensive chances while Joseph Cramarossa had three good chances of his own.
The first period also saw physical uprisings, as Carter Sandlak took exception to a hit from behind delivered by Danny Desrochers early on, resulting in Sandlak receiving an instigator while Desrochers received a hitting from behind penalty.
Later, Chad Thibodeau came to the rescue of defenceman Evan de Haan after Austen Brassard planted him hard into the ice as he attempted to break out of his own zone.
The second period saw more fisticuffs in the first half, as Joseph Cramarossa and tough customer Michael Kantor dropped the mitts. The two forwards duked it out, as they each tried to swing the momentum into their club's favour with the score tied at one.
The Bulls broke the stalemate with another powerplay goal at 12:18 as Daniil Zharkov collected number three on the season. Jason Shaw snapped a low shot on the pads of Vieanneau from the perimeter, drawing the rebound for Zharkov in the slot, who took two whacks and hammered the puck through Vienneau's five hole to give the Bulls a 2-1 lead.
Sudbury countered at 17:25, as a tired group of Bulls, worn down after killing back to back minors including a two man disadvantage, made a bad line change. Jake Worrad was left to fend for himself as Jeff Corbett sent a hard pass up-ice onto the stick of Nick Baptiste who came in to beat Subban high on the short side over the glove with a slapshot.
The loud Sudbury crowd was becoming a factor as the second frame drew to a close. The fans on hand were generating energy for their hometown club and, despite outshooting their opponents 29-19 through fourty minutes, the Bulls had a real task ahead of them headed into the third.
The crowd got louder and the Wolves made the most of their opportunity just over six minutes into the third, as former Saginaw Spirit draftee Ray Huether capitalized, skating his way around a Belleville defender and tucking a low forehand shot through the legs of a sprawling Malcolm Subban. Danny Desrochers made a nice pass to Huether to put the Londesborough native into a good scoring position as he made no mistake.
The Bulls tried to muster up some momentum in the late going, but the combination of the 3,793 on hand in Sudbury and the fine goaltending of Joel Vienneau held them at bay. The presence of big defensive pairing Justin Sefton and Frank Corrado also played a factor in the late moments of the game as the shutdown pair did their job effectively against Belleville's best.
The Bulls outshot the Wolves 35-24 in the loss as they saw their four game winning streak snapped. Brody Silk was named the game's first star with a goal to his credit. Vienneau took second star honours with 33 saves and Jeff Corbett was named the third star with an assist.
The Bulls scratched Alex Carnevale, Chad Heffernan and Daniel De Sousa for the game while Michael Cramarossa and Aaron Berisha were inserted back into the lineup.
With a goal, Jordan Subban has points in seven of his last eight games.
The 7-3-1-0 Bulls are back on the ice Wednesday night at home to the Mississauga Steelheads at 7:05pm. For tickets, contact the Bulls Box Office at 613-966-8338.