The San Francisco Bulls have lost the last six games and have failed to score a goal in their last two contests against the Utah Grizzlies and the Idaho Steelheads. Their last goal was scored by forward Rob Linsmayer in the 5-1 loss to the Stockton Thunder in the waning moments of the the third period. It hasn’t been from a lack of shots. In the last three games the Bulls have posted their highest shot totals of the season, averaging around 30 shots a game, but none have been able to find the twine. With a pile of injuries to San Francisco’s top scoring forwards, Mark Lee, Dale Mitchell and Ryan McDonough, the Bulls have been in a bind to collect points. Head Coach Pat Curcio decided to make some moves to give the team a fighting chance in the offensive zone. He waived Riley Emmerson, picked up veteran forward Adrian Foster and defenceman Kalvin Sagert., then traded defenceman Damon Kipp to the Idaho Steelheads in exchange for forward Tyler Gron. Curcio has had his eye on the impact forward for over a year, from the time that he left Northern Michigan University and turned pro.
“We tried to convince him to come play for us at the time but he ended up in the Central league where he scored 20 something goals in 30 games. That caught our eye and then we pursued him again, but we didn’t get him, Idaho did and he scored another 20 something goals in 30 games, a couple of which were against us. He scored an overtime winner against us. He is one of those prolific scorers that when he gets hot, he gets hot. He wasn’t getting the ice time he had gotten last year, so we started pursuing him earlier to see if there was a fit there. The timing was right and we were able to make a deal with Idaho and get him on our team. We are excited and hope that he might provide a nice offensive punch for us.”
Gron’s numbers speak for themselves, averaging a point per game over the last three seasons, excluding playoff games. He was named to the 2011-2012 NCAA First All-Star Team during his time at NMU and the ECHL Rookie of the month for February 2013 while he played for the Steelheads. He seems to be able to hold his own carrying the puck down the ice through traffic and knows when to get the puck off the tape quick close on the net. While with the CHL Bloomington Blaze, he made a spectacular play down the ice, deke-ing twice then put the puck past the netminder and got a hat trick to boot. Watch it here.
Tyler is excited to play for San Francisco, and he thinks the change is something that is going to help him with his game and development as a player. He wants to contribute and help his new team win some games.
“I’m an offensively minded player and I enjoy scoring goals, as every hockey player does, I’m sure. I like to consider myself good in the pressure situations, maybe score a goal late if we’re down one and you need to even the game up and go into overtime.”
As San Francisco has frequently found themselves in close games before their scoring took a tank, Gron’s last minute heroics may give the Bulls the drive to finish a game in the win column.