This past Friday and Saturday nights, the Bulls hosted the 2nd place Pensacola Ice Flyers at the Pelham Civic Center for 93.7 WDJC’s Church Nights. The Bulls have been on a hot streak as of late and this would be another test.
The Bulls came out playing like a team on a mission. Shane Topf scored the first goal while Birmingham was short handed on the penalty kill halfway through the first period. The Bulls scored 2 more fairly quick goals, the first coming on the power play as Craig Simchuk puts it in to give Birmingham a 2-0 lead. Josh Harris then puts in a third goal to give the Bulls a 3 point lead at the first break.
Pensacola gets on the board early in the 2nd period taking advantage of a power play just 1:19 in. Evan Schultz gets that back a few minutes later prompting the Ice Flyers to pull their starting goalie in favor of backup Brian Billett. Pensacola seemed to rally quickly making it 4-2 less than a minute later. However, Myles McCauley manages to get the lead back to 3 with a power play goal with 50 seconds to go in the 2nd and we’ll go to intermission 5-2 Bulls.
Pensacola again capitalizes on a power play 13:21 into the 3rd period to cut their deficit to 2. Pensacola then decided to pull their goalie with about 2 minutes to go hoping to gain ground but the Bulls gain control allowing Justin Larson to hit the empty net sealing the deal with 1:29 on the clock. The Bulls take game one 6-3 as goaltender Charlie Millen stops 33 of the Ice Flyers 36 shots.
93.7 WDJC’s first of two “Church Nights” brought a crowd of 2,389 to the Pelham Civic Complex. The following night saw a crowd of 2,743 and a much closer game.
Pensacola’s Brian Billett would continue in the net where he left off the previous night. The Ice Flyers scored first 6:12 into the game but Craig Simchuk made use of a Bulls power play to tie the game at 1-1 just over a minute later. Both goalies performed flawlessly until the end of the 2nd period as Pensacola managed to score with under a second on the clock.
More defensive play throughout the 3rd until finally rookie newcomer, Mike Davis scored his first professional goal to tie the game just 2:18 before the final buzzer.
Early into the overtime period, Pensacola drew a bench penalty for “too many men” giving Birmingham a man advantage. The Bulls take advantage of the power play quickly as Craig Simchuk hits the game winner just 30 seconds later (his 3rd goal of the weekend). Bulls win 3-2. Charlie Millen stops 33 of 35 shots tonight for the win and allowed only 5 goals on 71 shots for both games, an outstanding .930 save %.
A huge lift in points, the Bulls pull to within 1 point of 8th place Roanoke and playoff contention. 3 points shy of 7th place Mississippi and 4 points away from Evansville in 6th (6 points at the time of this article), Birmingham travels to Evansville Friday and returns home Saturday to host Roanoke for St. Patrick’s Day. The Bulls will be wearing special St. Patrick’s Day jerseys which will be auctioned off after the game. Proceeds will benefit Make-A-Wish Alabama. We’d love to see a packed arena cheering the Bulls to victory. Hope to see you there. Go Bulls Go!! We Bullieve!!!