Belleville Bulls Update

By Bill Thompson
The Bulls have played 7 games since my last entry, winning 3 and losing 4. All 4 losses were on the road: @Kingston 6-1, @North Bay 5-1, @Barrie 5-4 and @Victoriaville 10-7. I missed the home game against Mississauga, a 5-1 win for the Bulls, which seems like a disappointment considering most teams reach triple digits against the lowly Ice Dogs.

THE GAMES

On February 17 the Bulls tangled with the Centennials at home winning 5-3. North Bay played a good game considering an apparent leg injury to top prospect Chris Thorburn and the notable absence of Alex Auld between the pipes. Andrew Penner started in net for the Cents and played a solid game, giving up a penalty shot goal buy Randy Rowe which would prove to be the game winner. All the scoring by the Bulls was done by the top line of: Rowe (2G 1A), Kyle Wellwood (2G, 2A) and Branko Radivojevic (1G 1A), while Paulo Colaiacovo was the man in goal for the Bulls. Defensemen David Cornacchia (2A) and Matt Coughlin (1A) were the only other Bulls to pick up points.

….Prospects. For the Cents Penner the #21 ranked goalie in North America played well making a couple of beauty saves, while Jeff Doyle (#115) impressed with his passing ability. Thorburn (#13) was North Bay’s top prospect even though he was limping noticeably between plays. He set up a couple nice plays and has a good shot.
Wellwood (#121) was the Bulls best player showing his amazing puck control and passing ability and potting a couple of goals. Colaiacovo (#16) played a solid game while Cody McCormick (#93) threw some nice hits.

February 28 pitted the Bulls against the St. Mike’s Majors with the Bulls winning 2-0 in front of the home crowd. This was mainly a battle of the goaltenders as Peter Budaj was pelted with shots and Colaiacovo turned in his first OHL shutout. The play was in the Majors end all night, forcing Budaj to make save after save. The Majors never really threatened the Bulls, taking most of their shots from outside of the slot due to some excellent work by the Bulls defensemen, most notably David Cornacchia who played the most physical game I’ve seen him play. Mike Renzi (1G) played one of his best games showing good speed and stick handling while beating up Steve Farquhar, a much larger man than Renzi. Radivojevic (1G), Nate Robinson (1A) and Wellwood (1A) had the other points for the Bulls.

….Prospects. Budaj (#7) was St. Mike’s best player and prospect, in fact if he’s rated lower than Andy Chiodo (#6), Chiodo must be unbelievable. Mark Popovic (#8) showed good skating ability, but that was it. He lead the rush into Belleville’s end usually only to be stripped of the puck and the Bulls would take it back the other way for a scoring chance. Frank Lukes (#112) was an impressive player with good moves and puck control.
Colaiacovo (#16) and Wellwood (#121) were standouts for the Bulls and McCormick (#93) made some big hits.


OTHER NEWS

…Colaiacovo appears to have taken over the #1 spot in net for the Bulls from Jan Chovan, who, at the beginning of the year had stolen it from Cory Campbell who was traded earlier this year.
…Malcolm Hutt has become one the Bulls best defensemen over the course of the season after being one of the worst from last year. He now sees power play and short-handed ice time.

…Matt Stajan made his return to the line-up after a concussion suffered in the home game against Victoriaville. He has played very well since his return.
…Dan Growden appears to be in coach Jim Hulton’s dog house, playing only 2 of the last 7 games.
…Rob Dmytruk seems to have climbed partially out of the dog house, dressing for the last 7 games but seeing limited ice time.


LATEST LINE COMBINATIONS

Rowe, Wellwood, Radivojevic
Robinson, Stajan, Renzi
Silverstone, McCormick, Paiement
White, Efthimiou, Dmytruk

Jacobsen, Cornacchia
Policelli, Hutt
Growden, Coughlin

POINTS IMPACT PLAYERS
1.Kyle Wellwood      99  1.Kyle Wellwood
2.Branko Radivojevic 86 2.Branko Radivojevic
3.Randy Rowe         84 3.Randy Rowe
4.Nathan Robinson    58 4.Paulo Colaiacovo
5.Michael Jacobsen   49 5.Nate Robinson

2001 Top Prospects
1.Kyle Wellwood
2.Paulo Colaiacovo
3.Andrew Brown
4.Cody McCormick
5.Jan Chovan



BEST OPPOSITIONPOINTS PAST 2 WEEKS
1.Chris Thorburn NB1.Kyle Wellwood        10
2.Matt CarknerPetes2.Branko Radivojevic10
3.Jeff DoyleNB3.Randy Rowe9
4.Scott CameronNB4.Nate Robinson        8
5.Adam ElzingaPetes5.Mike Renzi5