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PETERBOROUGH, ON - Opportunities came and went but the Bulls couldn't come away with two points in a game of high stakes. The Peterborough Petes were certainly outplayed, but their execution on the chances they did have proved valuable as the Bulls were outdone 4-3 at the Peterborough Memorial Centre on Sunday afternoon.
The opening five minutes for the Bulls was nerve wracking as the boys got the bus legs out of their system. The Petes, under Assistant Coach and former Ottawa Senator Jody Hull, were firing on all cylinders as they jumped out to an 8-1 lead on the shot clock. Their rapid fire approach paid off 2:14 into the game as Andrew Yogan was given too much space off the rush. Lino Martschini drew Luke Judson into the middle before dishing to the outside where Yogan hit the left circle and snapped a shot past Malcolm Subban and inside the far post for his 30th of the season.
Good old fashioned hard work would pull the Bulls out of their early frustrations as Joseph Cramarossa's work ethic was evident along with great play along the boards by Brendan Gaunce and Austen Brassard. Adam Payerl looked like a man amongst boys throughout the first period as his physical play dominated the Petes in the offensive zone.
The Bulls took control of the game as the first period approached it's midway point. A great play in the neutral zone by Jake Worrad created an opportunity and Belleville capitalized. Worrad worked the puck up to Austen Brassard who had Brendan Gaunce screaming down the middle and hit him with a drop pass before Gaunce overpowered Mike Morrison and beat him through the five hole at 14:49.
In the end, the Bulls outshot Peterborough 17-14 in the first frame as they headed to the dressing room with a significant edge after a strong finish in the first.
Early period havoc struck the Bulls again as it seemed like deja vu all over again. Big Andrew Yogan lugged the puck in over the Belleville blueline before beating Malcolm Subban on a goal he'd likely confess he wants to have back. Yogan managed to slip a puck through Subban's legs from a near impossible angle on the goal line at 1:15.
The Bulls would recover moments later at 5:50 when Adam Payerl scored his first goal of the afternoon on a rocket of a wrist shot from the top of the right circle. Jordan Mayer setup the goal with a nice drop pass from the half wall as Belleville entered the zone.
Tied at two, the Bulls ensued to register six second period scoring chances but many of them were buried into the midsection of Morrison who was out aggressively challenging shooters as the Bulls couldn't capitalize despite outshooting the Petes 15-7 in the second.
A pair of rookies squared off in the lone tilt of the afternoon after emotions boiled over off a Belleville forecheck. Mack Lemmon went in hard on Petes defender Trevor Murphy as the two agreed to settle their differences.
A relatively quiet opening ten minutes of the third period passed by with both squads playing a little more cautiously then they head in the prior fourty.
The moments that followed however, were anything but quiet as an offensive explosion was about to go off. The Petes lit off the dynamite at 12:12 on their first powerplay of the afternoon as a Belleville Bulls killer over the years gave Peterborough a 3-2 lead. Joey West's 18th goal of the season from Murphy and Petr Ceresnak came despite a Bulls faceoff win in the defensive zone. Unable to clear, the Bulls retreated into defensive mode as the puck went back to the high point where Murphy released and Subban was unable to squeeze the puck. With the disc dropping to his right, Subban wasn't able to recover in time as West jumped all over the rebound.
Belleville drew even 24 seconds later as the puck was immediately dumped into the Peterborough zone. As he had all afternoon, Payerl used his big frame outmuscle the opposition as he took care of business himself by beating Morrison over the glove for the second time.
Just when the Bulls thought they were gaining ground, the Petes struck back with a goal by Alan Quine. Andrew Yogan used his strength to outmaneuvre Michael Curtis before snapping a shot on Subban that he couldn't hold on to. The rebound would prove costly as the Petes drew Luke Judson out of position, finding Quine in the slot as his one-timer beat Subban on the glove side just 16 seconds after the Bulls scored to tie.
Down 4-3, the Bulls didn't seem to have another comeback left in them. A flurry of three goals in 36 seconds put the Bulls on the bottom of a losing battle as Peterborough would go onto prevail in a very important game.
The Bulls had their chances, but many of them were squandered by the fine goaltending of Mike Morrison who made 37 saves in his 10th win of the season. Andrew Yogan and Lino Martschini sandwiched Adam Payerl in second for the game's three star selections.
It was certainly a game of shifting momentum as the Bulls overcame three separate one goal deficits, but in the end they dropped their third game of the season at the Memorial Centre as the Petes have taken 8 of a possible 10 points from the Bulls this season. In their two powerplay opportunities, the Bulls were only able to register one shot on goal.
A near perfect weekend comes to a close as the Bulls go 2-1 including a huge Saturday night win over the London Knights. They're now tied with the Petes for the last playoff spot with a pair of games in hand. Their record is now 29-29-1-0.
The Bulls were without defenceman Jordan Subban on Sunday for the second straight game due to an upper body injury. Alex Carnevale was also held out of the lineup pending league review of the hit he delivered on Bo Horvat in Saturday night's game vs. London. Carter Sandlak is hopeful that he can suit up on Wednesday night while John Chartrand hasn't made his return from injury. The Petes missed several players of their own including big defenceman Clark Seymour who is out with a shoulder injury. Matt Puempel missed another game due to his ongoing struggles with post-concussion syndrome.
The Kingston Frontenacs come to town on Wednesday night as Todd Gill and his group have proven to be a pest for the Bulls this season. The Fronts have made things interesting in their run ins with the Bulls of late. The Bulls will need to shut down Cody Alcock and company before heading into a big Friday night matchup in Mississauga.
For tickets to Wednesday's game, visit the Bulls Box Office or reach it by telephone at 613-966-8338 x 3885.