On Friday night, Birmingham will host a new look Pensacola Ice Flyers. Since the two teams last played on December 2nd, The Ice Flyers have had a small roster overhaul. Pensacola added goaltender Keegan Asmundson and received the rights to defenseman Don Olivieri (currently on loan to ECHL Atlanta) in a trade with the Quad City Storm. Robert Lepine joins the Ice Flyers in a trade with the Peoria Rivermen for future considerations. The final new face in tonight’s game will be Russell Jordan, who started the season with the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings.
The last time these teams faced off, Birmingham skated away with a 3-1 victory. The Bulls won that game, despite former leading scorer Justin Larson being away from the squad. Larson is expected to be back in the lineup for tonight’s game.
Despite Pensacola’s 5-9-2 record, the Ice Flyers are one of the more dangerous teams in the SPHL. After the Bulls win on December 2nd, coach Jamey Hicks said about the Ice Flyers and their struggles this season, “They’re a very good hockey club. Rod (Aldoff) does a tremendous job with that team.”
Saturday night, the in-state rival Huntsville Havoc make their third trip down Interstate 65 this season. In what has been a complete flip of the script from the 2017-18 season, the Bulls have established a new order of things against the Havoc this season. When these two teams last faced off on November 17th, the Bulls recorded their largest margin of victory over the Havoc, a 6-2 win. The highlight of that game was the Birmingham power play scoring four times, three of the goals coming in the first period. A win against the Havoc gave Birmingham a 4-0-0 record against Huntsville, leaving the Bulls only needing one more victory against the Havoc this season to win the season series.
On Wednesday Birmingham forward Mike Davis was loaned to the ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals. We wish Mike all the best of luck in Norfolk.
Birmingham Players to Watch
Justin Larson – Larson has missed the last five games due to taking care of some things off the ice. It will be interesting to see if the time off has effected Larson’s howitzer-like slap shot.
Jacob Barber – Last weekend Barber had a three-game series, that most of the time wins you the player of the week. Four goals and an assist, however, gets you a participation trophy this time around. Barber was the Bulls’ nominee for player of the week.
The Birmingham Bulls power play – This weekend’s games have the Bulls going against the SPHL’s sixth and tenth ranked penalty kills. On paper, Birmingham should have plenty of opportunities to cash in on the man advantage.
Follow Ronald Hagood, Jr. on Twitter at @SinBinBulls for live game updates.