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BELLEVILLE, ON -Though the first three meetings between the Bulls and Kingston Frontenacs were among the tightest we've seen all season, the last two haven't told the same story. The Bulls thundered out of the gate on Wednesday night at the Yardmen Arena to beat Mike Morrison twice on the first four shots of the game to eventually take a 4-0 lead after twenty minutes and cruise to an 8-2 final in front of 2,712.
All four lines were rolling on Wednesday night as Belleville owned the puck battles early on and capitalized on their many opportunities. Despite Kingston placing seven shots on goal in the opening five minutes, the Bulls were the ones to draw first blood on their second shot of the evening. Daniil Zharkov was the beneficiary of linemate Alan Quine's impeccable vision as the Detroit Red Wings draftee accepted a feed from Joseph Cramarossa, only to pause and find Zharkov busting down the middle as he promptly beat Morrison past the blocker at 4:38.
The lead extended to two under two minutes later as Carter Sandlak's relentless puck pursuit resulted in another goal. The Kingston pairing of Dylan DiPerna and Ryan Hanes had trouble leaving the defensive zone as Sandlak picked off an errant pass to go in and beat Morrison along the ice for his sixth of the campaign.
Belleville took a 3-0 lead on Stephen Silas' fourth in his last six games. The Belleville blueliner beat Morrison on a shot he'd likely want back as a wristshot from just beyond the left circle somehow evaded the Kingston netminder at 14:06. Tyler Graovac and Alan Quine pitched in with assists as the Yardmen was loud and proud with the hometown club in the driver's seat.
The Bulls closed out the opening twenty minutes in fine fashion as Quine scored his 12th of the season at 18:05. A solid defensive play from Daniil Zharkov on the backcheck sent the play back in transition as Jordan Subban raced up-ice, dropping for Quine who beat Morrison clean over the shoulder to make it 4-0.
Another strong first period sees the Bulls outscoring opponents 46-25 in the opening frame this season. Belleville led 4-0 despite the shots knotted even at eleven.
Belleville came out like a house on fire in the second as anything Fronts Head Coach Todd Gill said to his club at the intermission didn't appear to have much effect. Michael Curtis recorded his tenth goal of the year after Garrett Hooey outpowered Michael Moffat along the boards. Hooey's hard work jarred the puck loose as Curtis swooped in and collected before ripping a shot past Morrison with the ice still drying just 1:25 into the period.
Jordan Subban's high powered shot chased Morrison from the crease in his second consecutive start against Belleville as the Bulls gained the offensive zone with little resistance before Subban teed up a drive that beat Morrison past the blocker for number nine on the year at 7:38.
Colin Furlong's presence in goal inspired a little bit of offense from the Frontenacs who scored immeiately after a goaltending change.Draft eligible winger Jean Dupuy scored his fourth from Slater Doggett and Ryan Hanes on a nice shot that beat the glove of Malcolm Subban at the nine minute mark.
The Frontenacs were quickly put back in their place though, as Daniil Zharkov went to work. Feeding off the slick playmaking of Alan Quine who did a bulk of the work in outwitting the pairing of Steele and Hanes, Zharkov camped out to the right of the slot to bang in cross-crease pass at 12:03 to make it 7-1.
Zharkov rolled the highlight film before the second period expired, walking around Warren Steele in the neutral zone before putting a fancy move on retreating forward Sam Bennett and beating Furlong with a quick shot over the shoulder. Zharkov's third of the night gave him his first career OHL hat-trick.
Showing signs of frustration, the Frontenacs went to the intermission down 8-1 after Billy Jenkins squared off with Garrett Hooey off a faceoff in the Kingston zone, all the while outshooting the Bulls 27-25.
Sam Bennett scored the lone third period goal at 6:12 to bring the Frontenacs back to within six goals but it was too little too late as Kingston dropped it's ninth consecutive decision at the hands of the high scoring Bulls. The Bulls have defeated the Frontenacs 8-2 in consecutive games.
"Coming off a big win on Saturday against London we came into tonight knowing that Kingston is a young team that is capable of playing well and we didn't want to take them lightly," said Alan Quine who had a goal and five assists while registering a +6 rating on the night. "It was nice to play a full sixty and as nice as it is to score eight goals we'll certainly be working on our powerplay in practice as we prepare for Sarnia on Saturday."
Since acquiring Quine at the trade deadline, the Bulls have scored 4.5 goals per game as opposed to the 2.6 goals per game they scored prior to his tenure in Belleville. The Ottawa native had an explosive month of January, registering 4 goals and 15 assists in 11 games while chalking up a plus/minus of +14.
The Bulls saw plenty of ice from rookie Daniel De Sousa on the blueline Wednesday as Adam Bignell missed his third consecutive game with an upper body injury. The Bulls improve their record to 28-13-3-3 and gain two points on the Barrie Colts who lost 4-1 in Owen Sound. The Bulls are now 7-1-0-0 in Wednesday night games this season.
Malcolm Subban quietly pieced together another successful night between the pipes, turning aside 33 of 35 with his biggest stop coming off Ryan Kujawinski on a second period breakaway. Subban is 12-4-1-0 this season when making thirty saves or more and leads the OHL in both goals against average and save percentage.
The Bulls are back in action on Saturday night when OHL active games played veteran and recently named captain Charlie Sarault and the Sarnia Sting visit the Yardmen. Game time is 7:05pm and plenty of good seats are still available. For more information or to purchase, contact the Bulls Box Office at 613-966-8338.