Colts Sweep Bulls

April 3, 2015 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL)
Belleville Bulls News Release

BELLEVILLE, ON - They didn't want to leave.

Belleville Bulls fans remained in their seats and then on their feet when the final seconds ticked down on the last game - ever - for a storied 34-year-old OHL franchise Thursday night at Yardmen Arena.

The Barrie Colts, including an empty-netter, completed a four-game sweep of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal playoff series with a 4-2 win over the hometown Bulls before a noisy throng of 3,194.

Colts move on. Bulls move to Hamilton.

"It was super emotional," said Belleville assistant coach Jake Grimes, a former Bulls player. "I'm so appreciative of the support every guy who has ever played here got over the last 34 years. I can't imagine a town that would embrace a junior hockey club more than Belleville has. It has been fantastic.

"I'm thankful. I'm grateful."

Jordan Subban, the third of three brothers from Toronto to play for the Bulls, was close to tears after the game.

"I want to thank the fans for everything," he said. "I've been treated so well. All of my four years here. It's sad to see it go."

Bulls netminder Charlie Graham, a graduate of the GTHL's Don Mills Flyers organization, said playing in Belleville was special.

"I'd like to say thanks," he said. "It went by way too quickly. It felt like yesterday I was showing up here for my first training camp weigh-in. It has been a unique experience. The fans here are tremendous.

"We felt the love."

Bulls certainly felt it Thursday night as they gave the heavily-favoured Colts everything they could handle. But once again, Belleville's inability to find goals led to their demise.

Andrew Mangiapane (2) Joseph Blandisi and Jonathan Laser scored for the Colts, who advance to the conference semi-finals. Stephen Harper and Subban scored for the Bulls; Brett Gustavsen, Michael Cramarossa, Matt Luff and Niki Petti earned assists.

Bulls outshot the Colts 40-25.

"I was brought here early in the season but I'm proud to have been captain of the Belleville Bulls," said Brett Welychka. "Our guys played tonight with no quit. The fans were awesome. I'll be grateful for playing here - forever."

Thirteen-year-old Bulls fan Brad Francis said the loss and the end of the Bulls 34-year run in Belleville was "heartbreaking."

So, will you cheer for Hamilton next year, he was asked?

"No," he said.

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