This weekend, the Bulls begin their six game road trip, first visiting the Idaho Steelheads for a two game weekend series. They will hit up the Utah Grizzlies and the Colorado Eagles for one day tilts then swing through Las Vegas for another weekend series with the Wranglers before heading home. They will have two new players joining their roster following the trade movements that began the week. Forward Bryan Cameron joins the Bulls after having been reassigned by the Calgary Flames and is expected to beef up the goal tallies. Dallas Stars prospect and former Steelhead forward Tristan King will make his debut Friday night against his former team on the Bulls offensive line and also needs to produce if the Bulls want to stay ahead of the Bakersfield Condors for the eighth playoff seed. The success of the team hinges on the chemistry that is generated between these new linemates and the current Bulls roster. The original seven forwards who began the season will each need to play to their strengths in the drive towards a Kelly Cup playoff run.
Peter Sivak was the first player signed to the team back in June. The “Slovak Sniper” is a fitting nickname for him, as he knows how to turn on the heat in the neutral zone and get pucks past the minder with rocket precision. He reads the openings, takes them and it has paid off as he leads the team with 46 points in 51 games played. If the Bulls are looking for the late third period goal, Sivak delivers. He has paired well with Ouellet and as the Bulls add offensive depth with King and Cameron, expect the point streak to continue into the playoffs.
Dean Ouellet in his rookie year is off to an impressive start. He has the distinction of being the first Bulls player named to the ECHL All-Star team for the 2012-2013 season and he leads the team along with Sivak in points with 23 goals and 21 assists. Ouellet finds the open ice and makes himself available for the pass. He is a fluid skater and his deft hands allow him to beat the defence. Ouellet’s drive to the net and his leadership off the ice in bridging the gap with his French-speaking teammates earned him the “A” on his sweater.
Kris Belan has not missed a game in a Bulls uniform. His physicality is a consistent force on the ice and he leads the team with 130 penalty minutes. He is a player that you can find everywhere on the ice; working the corners, sticking up for his teammates and being in the right place to give that perfect pass to the net, working in all three zones. Around the net, he is a pest, providing the perfect screen for his teammates.
Jordan Clendenning plays every game with passion. The rookie Center is aggressive in every part of his game, from his low faceoff stance to his feisty forecheck. He’s a playmaker in the slot and his energy on every shift rallies his teammates. He finds a way to get under the other team’s skin, through his chirping on the ice to the big hits he delivers along the boards. Clendenning’s penalty total has been bolstered over the last few games with much of his ice time being spent in the sin bin, including garnering a one game suspension after the line brawl with the Stockton Thunder on February 16th. He will need to rein in his emotions to keep his team off the kill especially when every point counts.
Jordan Morrison has a way of sneaking his way through the neutral zone and appearing with the puck past the blueline. The team’s alternate captain has a quick shot off the tape and drives to the net. His offensive firepower sits at 124 shots on goal, just under the top line of Sivak and Ouellet. Like Sivak, he is a player that can make a difference in a tight game and on several occasions has scored the lone goal for the team. He draws very few penalties, his time in the box only amounting to 34 minutes over the course of the season. Morrison needs speed in his linemates to make the quick play to the net and the team will need his secondary offensive scoring when the top line gets shutdown.
Hans Benson is a player that shows that hard work and tenacity pay off. Born and raised in the Bay Area, he was excited to play for the Bulls in the Barn that raised him. The Alternate captain is a solid all around skater and delivers solid checks when needed and drops the gloves in defense of his teammates. He generates chances for his linemates, digging in the corners and battling along the boards for the puck. Sidelined with an injury through part of the season, he has played in only 22 games with the Bulls this season but has generated over 73 penalty minutes. A veteran of both the AHL and ECHL , he made a playoff run with the Alaska Aces in 2007 and won a Kelly Cup with the Cincinnati Cyclones in 2010.
Jonathan Lessard played the first two preseason games with the Bulls before being released. He returned home to Quebec to play for two leagues in December and then rejoined the Bulls at the start of January. As a result of his absence he has played in only 18 games and in those games has tallied one goal and generated as many shots on goal as penalty minutes.