BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – When you put two evenly matched teams on the ice, you expect games that are not over till the final buzzer. That’s what you got this past weekend between the Birmingham Bulls and the Macon Mayhem. Birmingham and Macon have now played four times this season, and both teams have won a pair. The similarities between the two weekend series are kinda spooky.
On November 23rd and 24th, The Bulls and Mayhem split a home-and-home series. Birmingham won 2-0 and Macon won 3-1. This weekend was another split weekend with the scoring margins being the same. Friday night saw the Macon Mayhem defeat the Birmingham Bulls by a score of 7-5. In the game, Bulls goalie Mavric Parks gave up a season-high six goals in the loss.
The game was a special teams highlight and a nightmare for the Bulls. Birmingham scored three times on the power play, while allowing two power play goals of their own. In addition, they took a couple of “stupid” penalties while on power plays, to give the Mayhem a break.
Speaking with Coach Jamey Hicks after Friday night’s game, the Bulls coach said: “It was a really disappointing loss, we didn’t show up, take care of our own end, and didn’t communicate.”
I asked about Parks’ performance allowing the six goals, and it was almost like Hicks had a crystal ball. On Saturday evening, Parks played incredibly. The Bulls top goalie was constantly under fire in the first and second period, as he would face 33 shots. Parks would see another 14 shots in the final period, but would continue to make save after outstanding save to earn his fourth shutout of the season, and second against the Mayhem. Parks performance was incredible, but with the way he has played this season, it was almost expected.
The offensive star of the game wasn’t expected, but it fell into the promotional theme of the night. Saturday night was 90’s night in Macon, and the Mayhem were wearing special Simpson’s themed jerseys. It was a player who’s last name echo’s the famous phrase of Homer J. Simpson that stole the show.
Austin Daae (pronounces Doh) made Birmingham Bulls history. He became the first player in the Birmingham SPHL-era to record a natural hat trick. A pair of first period power play goals gave Daae and the Bulls a 2-0 lead. After Birmingham spent the second period on their heels, spending the majority of the period in the defensive zone. It was Daae again, putting the game out of reach in the third period. Daae would backhand a shot over the shoulder of Sylves, to get the hat trick. In one evening in Macon, Daae would double up his season scoring total as a member of the Bulls.
After the game, Hicks commented on Daae’s performance:“Very happy for (Dozier), he’s been working hard and he got rewarded.”
Daae said of the hat-trick: “It was exciting, first time in my career, it’s pretty cool.”
The win in Macon gave Birmingham a 2-2-1 record on their longest road trip of the season.
The Sin Bin Bulls Three Stars of the Weekend
★★★ – Garrett Schmitz. Schmitz had a goal and a pair of assist on the weekend.
★★ – Mavric Parks. Yes, Friday night was a rough night for Parks, but his performance on Saturday will make anyone forget Friday night.
★ – Austin Daae. Daae record his and the Bulls first natural hat trick on Saturday night. Daae also picked up an assist on Friday night for a four point weekend.
The Bulls will now return home for a five-game homestand against Pensacola, Huntsville, and Roanoke.
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