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PETERBOROUGH, ON - In what was largely a polar opposite game from the Bulls' 6-3 victory on home ice over the Peterborough Petes on Wednesday, the second period was Belleville's undoing as they dropped a 4-1 decision with the Petes picking up a pair of markers in the second frame.
The Bulls came out of the gate playing a simple game, chipping pucks deep and forechecking hard when the opportunities were right. At other times, the Bulls were a little more reserved, opting to send in just one forechecker and look to slow the Petes down through the neutral zone on a small ice surface. Peterborough however, carried over their strong showing in the third period on Wednesday when they outshot the Bulls 20-1, as they managed to open the scoring early.
John Chartrand made his first start in goal since November 2nd and was beaten on the first shot of the game as Slovakian blueliner Peter Ceresnak got a little help from the iron to beat Chartrand on a low rocket from the high point. Petes rookie Stephen Nosad extended a three game point streak with an assist on the goal that came at 1:59 of the opening period.
The Bulls had a solid low presence around the net at various points in the first as Carter Sandlak, Austen Brassard and Brendan Gaunce all had scoring chances on jam plays around the goalposts of Mike Morrison's crease. Morrison, who was pulled after allowing three goals on 22 shots on Wednesday was sharp in the first, stopping all nine Belleville shots.
The early period havoc continued in the second as Peterborough scored again inside the opening two minutes. Rookie power forward Nick Ritchie continued his stellar young career against the Bulls with another goal from Joey West and Stephen Nosad at 1:12. Ritchie, who has four goals in four contests against Belleville continued to show why he was such a high selection in this past May's OHL Priority Selection as he somehow managed to squeeze a puck inside Chartrand's right arm and the near post.
With Peterborough up 2-0, the Bulls' powerplay tried to seize an opportunity to draw within a goal. Unfortunately, the opposite happened as the Bulls defence wasn't able to hold the blueline and Austin Watson beat Chartrand on a shorthanded breakaway with a rifled shot over the blocker at 3:44.
Down by three with a full period of hockey still ahead of them, Belleville wasn't able to get sustained pressure in the offensive zone and opposed to their explosive offence in the second on Wednesday, they couldn't manage to register many close chances. The Bulls were outshot 16-9 in the second as Peterborough took a firm grasp on the game, putting Belleville's six game winning streak in harms way.
The Petes extended their lead to 4-0 midway through the third period when shifty forward Matt Puempel cut over the blueline and used Adam Bignell as a screen on the rush to beat Chartrand over the blocker.
The Bulls closed out the evening with a goal at 10:56 of the third period as Dylan Corson registered a point in his second straight game, sending a nice feed through the slot to Austen Brassard who had the whole net and didn't miss. Brassard's eighth of the season made the score 4-1 and things would stay that way as the Bulls saw their impressive losing streak come to an end.
When asked what the turning point in the loss was following the game, Jake Grimes didn't have a whole lot to say about his team's effort. "The turning point in my mind was right off the opening faceoff tonight when we hadn't come to the rink prepared to play." The Bulls have had trouble scoring on the road all season with just 16 goals in their 10 games away from the Yardmen. Grimes doesn't feel the team's style changes on the road. "The style doesn't change, but the amount of time and space we have with the puck certainly does. Our team needs to be better at adapting to different environments. Every other team in the league has to do it too."
Peterborough took a clean sweep of the three stars as Austin Watson, Mike Morrison and Nick Ritchie skated to centre ice to receive their congratulations. Stephen Nosad also had an impressive outing as the 16 year-old collected a pair of assists in the win.
The Bulls' first loss in the month of November comes at the hands of a team that they'll likely be neck and neck with throughout the remainder of the season. The Bulls and Petes won't meet again until Sunday, February 26th when the Eastern Conference standings could be a vastly different scene.
The 13-8-0-0 Bulls host the Ottawa 67's on Saturday night at the Yard Barn. Fans are reminded to bring their non-perishable food items to the game that will be donated to the Gleaner's Food Bank. Game time is 7:05pm and tickets are still available. For details, call the Bulls Box Office at 613-966-8338.