BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – On Faith and Family night, the Birmingham Bulls exorcised some demons with a 5-1 win over the Macon Mayhem. Coming into the game, the Bulls were on a six-game losing streak, had yet to pick up a win in their new alternate red jersey, and had failed to score more than three goals in a game since a 4-1 win over Fayetteville on November 22.
Amongst the Bulls struggles this season has been the inability of Cole Golka to find the back of the net. Golka made an immediate impact last season, coming to Birmingham at the end of 2018-19 straight out of the College of St. Scholastica. In 12 games, he scored seven goals and assisted on five more. This year, the rookie shooter hasn’t found the back of the net.
At 3:10 of the third period against Macon, that all changed. Golka broke in on Mayhem goalie Cody Porter, beating him top shelf for his first goal of the season.
“Getting that first one…it’s just like a change of mindset,” said Golka. “It gives a little confidence, and hopefully I can keep rolling with it.”
Golka’s goal seemed to almost break down the wall that had prevented the pucks from going in for Birmingham over the last month. Josh Harris, Jacob Barber and Cole Stallard would all add goals in the third period to give the Bulls a convincing 5-1 victory over the Mayhem.
Macon took the lead early in the first period on a goal from Marcus Ortiz. Birmingham’s Canon Pieper tied the game up for the Bulls with a power play goal at 15:15 of the first period. The period ended tied 1-1. In the second, it was the goaltenders on display for the Mayhem and Bulls. The teams combined for 13 shots in the period, but none could get past Artt Brey or Porter. Brey finished the game with 23 saves, picking up the win for Birmingham.
After the game, Birmingham Head Coach Jamey Hicks was complimentary of Bulls’ offensive effort, stating that the team’s secondary scoring was “huge tonight” (secondary scoring is the production of the line below what most would consider the Bulls top line). Coming into Friday night’s game, Birmingham had scored 46 goals. 19 of those 46 had come from the Bulls first line of Harris, Davis and Barber.
Now, the Bulls will hop on the bus and head south to Florida for a Saturday showdown with the Pensacola Ice Flyers. The Ice Flyers have had Birmingham’s number all season to this point. The Bulls are 0-4-1 against Pensacola this year, with the Ice Flyers boasting a goal margin of 20-8 over those five games.
With the victory over Macon, there is a new air of confidence among the boys from the Magic City now, and who knows what will happen when the puck drops tonight on the Gulf Coast. The Saturday night matchup in Pensacola begins at 7:05pm EST.
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