Monday, October 13, 2014


Exciting Stuff for Young Bulls

Last Wednesday night, Matt Luff walked into the local restaurant and dropped a puck on the table in front of his mother. Not just any puck, mind you, but a most significant puck. It was his first goal as a Belleville Bull in the Ontario Hockey League. Details of the event are always marked on the side of the puck by training staff, once it is taped. You will find the same procedure takes place in all arenas after significant goal-scoring takes place.



Luff earned the honour of being selected as the second star of the game. On Saturday night, he was also selected as the second star. He had another goal and two assists in that game. With six points, he is tied for third in the league in rookie scoring. He realizes that it is a team game, and that he needs to contribute wherever it is necessary.



Going into Saturday night’s game, the Bulls could brag about the fact that they had the best goaltender in the OHL. Charlie Graham has simply been outstanding. He has a .962 save percentage, and a Goals Against Average of 1.20, remarkable statistics for a Junior goalie. Graham did stop pucks in a Wellington Dukes cage before getting the call up to Belleville a couple of years ago. He has won all six of the games he has started this year.



I spoke with Bulls’ assistant coach Jake Grimes before Saturday night’s game. “Granted, we are playing really well at this time,” he told me. “Maybe a little better than expected. But I do believe that we can and will play better. And we are getting great goaltending.” Grimes patrols the bench along with Bellevillian Jason Supryka, assistants to George Burnett, the coach and General Manager.



Last year was not a banner year for the Bulls. They missed the playoffs, and spent the summer regrouping. It appears that they made some good decisions, based on the results thus far. Another former Duke, Jake Marchment, is the team captain, and also scored his first goal of the season Saturday night. At the 12 minute mark of the first period, the Bulls had scored four times on nine shots. A goalie change for the Niagara Ice Dogs stemmed the tide to some extent; nonetheless, the Bulls went on to win 8-5.



There were a lot of empty seats at the Yardmen Arena. I know there are a lot of “Band Wagon” fans in the area, and they will start to come out soon. Rest assured the boys can use fan support at any time in the season. I still believe that Cogeco coverage of the game, and radio coverage does affect the number of fans in the seats, perhaps even more so in the colder weather.  



The Ice Dogs had seven drafted players in their line up whereas only three Bulls have been drafted: Marchment (Los Angeles Kings), Jordan Subban (Vancouver), and Remi Elie (Dallas).



After Wednesday’s game, Coach Burnett summarized the efforts of Luff and Brandon Saigeon. “They’re playing good, sound minutes for us so we are certainly pleased with where really all of our young players are at. But like our team, they have to continue to try and get better each and every day.”



The Bulls travel to Niagara for a game Thursday night, then return home to play Sault Ste. Marie on Saturday, and Sarnia on Sunday.




James Hurst

October 13, 2014 

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