Gamenight Preview: Bulls face Wolves on Hearts N' Hockey Night

Feb 15, 2013 - 20:49 EST
Written By: Sweetland, Josh

BELLEVILLE, ON - The Bulls are picking the right time to get hot. After clinching a playoff berth behind Charlie Graham's 37 saves in a 1-0 win at Mississauga on Friday, the Brahmas kick off a four game homestand tonight. With the Sudbury Wolves in town for Hearts N' Hockey Night, the Bulls take up the fight against Heart Disease and Stroke.

Winners of each of their last four and seven of their last eight, the Bulls sit one point behind the first placed Barrie Colts in the Eastern Conference headed into Saturday's action. The Colts will host Mississauga tonight and visit Brampton on Sunday before coming to Belleville for a matinee on Monday in their first encounter of the season.

For now, the Bulls worry about themselves and the task that awaits them tonight in the form of a Sudbury Wolves team that has performed quite well post-deadline after unloading some veteran talent. In perhaps the blockbuster of trade deadline 2013, the Wolves moved veterans Frank Corrado, Joshua Leivo and goaltender Joel Vienneau to the Kitchener Rangers for standout netminder Franky Palazzese, rugged blueliner Cory Genovese and 2012 first round draft selection Matt Schmalz. In addition, Sudbury traded 2009 fifth overall pick Justin Sefton to the London Knights in exchange for defenceman and Dryden native Kevin Raine.

Since making the deals, the Wolves have gone 7-3-2-2 with Palazzese posting a 2.44 goals against average and a .929 save percentage. Raine is a +6 with five assists in 14 games while the rookie Schmalz has 2 goals and 3 assists in 11 games after posting just one assist in 25 outings with Kitchener.

Off a 3-1 loss at home to Kingston on Friday, the Wolves currently sit in fourth in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of the Brampton Battalion. The Friday night loss snapped a Wolves 15 game home regulation unbeaten streak.

The Wolves are led in scoring by undrafted playmaker Mathew Campagna who is trying to make a case for the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. The former first round OHL selection has 18 goals and 40 assists in 54 games and went on an 18 game point streak from November 24th through January 12th. Of those 18 games, 12 of them were multi-point efforts. Joining Campagna on the offensive is team leading goal scorer and former CJHL standout Nathan Pancel who has 22 goals in 55 games. Pancel has been particularly dangerous on the powerplay this season, scoring twelve times with the man advantage while linemate Nick Baptiste has added ten powerplay markers.

Sudbury's fifth ranked powerplay squares off with Belleville's gradually improving 20th ranked man advantage that has goals in each of the last four games. Daniil Zharkov scored on the powerplay Friday night, providing the lone goal in a 1-0 win.

In their lone encounter this season, the Wolves defeated the Bulls 3-2 on October 19th in Sudbury. The Bulls held a 2-1 lead midway through the game but goals from Nick Baptiste and Ray Huether turned the tides despite Belleville outshooting their opponent 35-24.

The Bulls are without former Sudbury defenceman Jake Cardwell tonight who is serving  the fifth of a ten game suspension. Carter Sandlak (upper body) didn't suit up in Mississauga on Friday night and is doubtful for tonight's contest.

Catch the Bulls in their limited edition specialty Heart & Stroke jerseys tonight and make your bid at taking one home after the game on the ice at a live auction! Proceeds will go to the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario! Hearts N' Hockey Night is presented by RONA Belleville!

Good seats remain for tonight's contest that begins at 7:05pm. To purchase, call the Bulls Box Office at 613-966-8338!