Morrison's 42 saves lead Fronts over Bulls 3-1

Dec 01, 2012 - 17:15 EST
Written By: Sweetland, Josh

Photo Credit: Don Carr

BELLEVILLE, ON - A day full of activities at the Yardmen Arena included P.K. Subban, a pre-game ceremony including Geoff Killing that honoured the games played record set by Stephen Silas and of course, everyone's favourite night of the year, the Teddy Bear Toss. Saturday's festivities didn't include a Bulls win however, as the hometown club started December off in the loss column, falling 3-1 to the Kingston Frontenacs.

Veteran goaltender Mike Morrison was instrumental in the Kingston victory, making 42 saves on the night as Wilton native Darcy Greenaway scored the game winner in the final minute of the second period.

Fortunately for Bulls fans, Brendan Gaunce brought on the bears midway through the first period so the Belleville faithful weren't kept waiting to let the fir fly in a fast paced game.

Adam Bignell showed Bulls fans what a warrior he is in the first shift of the game, taking a puck to the face before shaking it off, finishing the shift and blocking three shots on the night.

It would be the Frontenacs who drew first blood, finding a chink in the armour of the Bulls' first ranked powerplay. Sam Bennett hooked up with teammate Spencer Watson as Watson pulled the puck into his feet in a high-skill maneuvre before dishing cross-crease for a waiting Bennett to score his eighth goal of the season at 9:37.

Gaunce answered just 21 seconds later when he flew down the left wing and snapped an NHL-calibre wristshot over the shoulder of Morrison on the short side. Joseph Cramarossa and Aaron Berisha picked up assists on the goal as the Yardmen ice was quickly littered with teddy bears.

The two clubs entered the intermission tied at one, with both sides firing on all cylinders and taking advantage of every shooting opportunity. Kingston outshot Belleville 13-11.

The second period started with aggression as Kingston blueliner Ryan Hanes put a charge into Bulls rookie Niki Petti along the half wall in the Bulls zone. Winger Michael Curtis came to the aid of his younger teammate as he and Hanes jostled in a round of fisticuffs with Curtis being charged with the instigator.

The physical play continued throughout the night as the 401 East Division rivalry came to the surface. Garrett Hooey, Brendan Gaunce and Joseph Cramarossa combined to throw 19 hits between the three of them throughout the game as the battles along the wall were fierce.

The Frontenacs took the lead with 35 seconds left in the second and Brady Austin in the box on a delay of game penalty. Malcolm Subban's clearing attempt rattled off the glass and dropped in the defensive zone as the Frontenacs took possession. Big Finnish defender Mikko Vainonen walked in off the point and fired a rocket that Subban stopped, but the rebound went straight to Darcy Greenaway who had a whole lot of net and didn't miss for his 17th of the season.

While the Bulls fired away through the first two periods, the third was another story. Several shooting opportunities either turned into passes or missed nets as Belleville didn't capitalize on the chances they generated. 

Nearing the midway point of the third, Sergey Kuptsov had a glorious opportunity on a two on one with Garrett Hooey. Rather than shoot when Hooey fed a nice pass across the slot, Kuptsov opted to pass back to Hooey who by that point was out of shooting position. The puck nearly entered the goal when it clipped off a retreating Ryan Hutchinson and bounced off the post.

The Bulls also had legtimate chances that were thwarted by great goaltending. Aaron Berisha buzzed around the net all night on a line with Brendan Gaunce and Joseph Cramarossa. The rookie winger had multiple chances, including a deflection in the slot that was kicked aside by the pad of Morrison.

The clock was ticking on the Bulls, who saw Kuptsov denied by the quick glove hand of Morrison inside the final two minutes of the game. Unfortunately, time ran out on them as the Fronts received an empty net goal courtesy of Billy Jenkins to take a 3-1 victory and take a 2-1 lead in the season series.

Mike Morrison made 42 saves and was named the game's third star. Joseph Cramarossa was throwing his weight around all night and continued a four game point streak to be named second star. Aaron Berisha was the first star of the night with an assist and numerous scoring chances.

The Bulls were without Jake Cardwell (suspension), Austen Brassard (suspension), Daniil Zharkov (injury) and Jake Worrad (injury) while Kingston missed Michael Moffat (shoulder) who isn't expected back in the lineup until the new year.

A healthy crowd of 2,648 was on hand at the Yardmen as the Bulls fell to 15-9-3-1 on the season and finish the weekend in second place in the East Division behind the Oshawa Generals. The Frontenacs are now just four points behind the Bulls.

Next action comes Wednesday night when the Bulls host the Peterborough Petes at 7:05pm. Great seats are available. For more information, contact the Bulls Box Office at 613-966-8338.