DALY CITY — Pat Curcio expects to reach a decision regarding the San Francisco Bulls No. 1 goalie in the next 10 days, and channeling his inner Jim Harbaugh, he said he intends to go with the “hot hand.” In that case, the frontrunner appears to be Thomas Heemskerk.
Heemskerk turned away 41-of-44 shots in a 6-3 win over the Idaho Steelheads on Wednesday, stopped 22-of-22 in relief of Taylor Nelson on Saturday and then saved 26-of-28 in a 3-1 loss to the Stockton Thunder on Sunday.
The 22-year-old netminder said he regained his rhythm facing the onslaught in Idaho.
“That was exactly what I was looking for — a lot of shots,” he said. “Things were hitting me and I was catching pucks, controlling rebounds. Once that happens, you’re confidence just goes up.”
Curcio said both Heemskerk and Nelson will receive starts when the team returns to Idaho for games on Friday and Saturday and he’ll likely use the same formula for their bouts with the Utah Grizzlies on Feb. 26 and the Colorado Eagles on Feb. 27. He intends to name his starter by the time the team rolls into Las Vegas on March 1.
The Bulls coach acknowledged that he is leaning toward Heemskerk at this point.
“You have to take into account what he did the first half of the year and that probably gives him the edge,” he said.
Help from above: With 19 games remaining, Curcio is seeking help from above to give the eighth-place Bulls (19-27-1-6) a scoring boost up front.
The Bulls lit the lamp only once in back-to-back losses to the Stockton Thunder last weekend and the team’s lead over the Bakersfield Condors for the Western Conference’s last playoff spot shrunk to six points.
Curcio said he spoke with San Jose Sharks vice president Wayne Thomas about the possibility of having a forward sent down from AHL Worcester to help his team down the stretch.
“They’re going to see what happens with the big club tomorrow night,” he said. “They’ve got a couple extra bodies up there now and if they get sent back to Worcester, there might be a player available to us on this road trip.”
The front line will also be bolstered by the likely return of power forward Rylan Galiardi on Friday. Galiardi scored four points in five games with the Bulls before missing 11 contests with concussion symptoms.
But puck-moving defenseman Cody Carlson could be out with a broken foot after being hit by a slap shot during Sunday’s game. Curcio said Carlson will undergo X-rays today.