Tough schedule leads to line changes for SF Bulls hockey

Coach Pat Curcio plans to tweak his lines for this week’s homestand to get the San Francisco Bulls back on the winning track after an 0-2-1 road trip to Las Vegas and Utah last weekend.

The Bulls’ next two opponents, the Bakersfield Condors (tonight) and the Colorado Eagles (Friday and Saturday), are deep at forward and Curcio said he needs a true checking line to slow them down.

“Bakersfield has six real good forwards and Colorado has the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 scorers in the league all on one line,” Curcio said. “We’re definitely going to have to match somebody up against them, they’re so skilled.”

The Eagles’ Chad Costello is leading the ECHL with 39 points in 21 games, linemate Jack Combs is second with 34 points and Michael Forney is third with 30 points.

Curcio said the tentative plan is to move Jordan Clendenning off the top line to play alongside Kris Belan and Michael Crescenzi. Daniil Tarasov would then move up and play with the team’s top two scorers, Justin Bowers and Dean Ouellet.

Tarasov, who joined the Bulls (8-12-3) two weeks ago, played with Ouellet on the power play last weekend and they connected on three goals.

Tam to Worcester: The Bulls’ top defenseman, Mikael Tam, was called up to the Worcester Sharks on Saturday to fill a void on the American Hockey League team’s blue line. Tam was logging roughly 30 minutes a game and the Bulls were 5-2-1 after he rejoined the club Nov. 15.

“That’s a tough loss,” Curcio said. “But that’s what our league’s all about. We need to find ways to win even through those situations.”

Joe Sova returned to the lineup Saturday, taking Tam’s place alongside defensive partner Simon Danis-Pepin.

Oh, Canada: Fifteen of 23 players on the Bulls roster are Canadian, and they received a treat last weekend suiting up in the visitor’s locker room where Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman and Joe Sakic laced up their skates before winning the 2002 gold-medal game in Salt Lake City.

It was a historic win for Canada as the country had gone 50 years without winning a gold medal in hockey.

“It was an honor,” said defenseman Scott Langdon, who calls Hamilton, Ontario, home. “I remember watching that game in grade 11 or grade 10. It was a long time ago now, but the memory is still there.”

The way to San Jose: There will be hockey played at HP Pavilion in San Jose this month, just not involving the Sharks. The Bulls will host the Stockton Thunder at the Shark Tank on Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m.

Cow PalacePaul GackleSan Jose Sharkssports

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