Morning Skate: Bulls Open February in Plymouth

February 1, 2014 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL)
Belleville Bulls News Release

PLYMOUTH, MI - We've seen the good and the bad this weekend, the Belleville Bulls are determined not to allow the ugly to come out tonight in Plymouth. After an uplifting 7-2 Thursday night in Saginaw, the Bulls  were blanked 7-0 by the Saginaw Spirit on Friday. There's nowhere to go but up tonight.

The Bulls catch a Whalers club on the flipside of a 3-2 loss to the Kingston Frontenacs on home ice. Sam Bennett scored on the powerplay with 52 seconds left to push the Frontenacs to a late victory. Star Wars Night in Plymouth featured a second period donnybrook reminiscent of a Star Wars druid battle. The Whalers lost defencemen Mathieu Henderson and Mitch Jones as well as forward Liam Dunda to ejections following an altercation with Kingston's Roland McKeown, Mack Lemmon, Conor McGlynn and Loren Ulett. Those ejections will likely lead to suspensions, leaving the Whalers undermanned for tonight's contest.

Plymouth has a three point grip on the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a record of 17-27-0-5. The Whalers franchise has made the postseason in each of the last 17 seasons and fully intends to extend that streak this year.

Like the Bulls, Plymouth has had issues scoring goals this season with an OHL low total of 126. Zach Lorentz leads Plymouth scoring with 20 goals and 16 assists in 49 games. Former Bull Carter Sandlak trails close behind with 20 goals and 12 assists in 43 contests.

Perhaps Plymouth's most valuable performer this season, sophomore netminder Alex Nedeljkovic has made the second most saves in the league this season and holds a 3.21 goals against average and .917 save percentage. The Parma, Ohio native was the NHL Central Scouting Service's fifth ranked North American goaltender in Midterm Rankings leading towards the 2014 NHL Draft. Nedeljkovic is the top ranked CHL goaltender on the rankings.

In the one meeting between the Bulls and Whalers this season, Belleville defeated Plymouth 4-1 at the Yardmen Arena on December 18th. Cameron Brace had two goals in the win and was named the game's first star.

The Bulls meet the Whalers in the midst of a Plymouth four game homestand. The Bulls will visit the Guelph Storm on Friday night before returning home to the Sarnia Sting next Saturday. As it stands right now, the Bulls trail eighth placed Niagara by eight points with a game in hand. There are 19 games remaining in the regular season.

Tonight's game is slated for a 7:05pm start. Jack Miller will have the play-by-play action on AM 800 CJBQ at 6:50pm. Follow along with the Bulls' Twitter feed (@OHLBulls) for full coverage!

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