BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Birmingham Bulls took to the road on Wednesday night looking for a little payback from a 4-3 overtime loss to the Pensacola Ice Flyers on Saturday night. When the final horn sounded, it was the Ice Flyers skating away with their second win of the season over the Bulls, winning 6-1 at the Pensacola Bay Center.
The Ice Flyers special teams units tonight were the key to victory for Pensacola. Matt Ustaski scored on the power-play 8:44 into the game off assists from Garrett Milan and Nick Neville. Patrick Megannaty extended the Ice Flyers lead to 2-0 just 107 seconds later on assists from Cam Bakker and Michael Laidley. Birmingham was outshot 14-4 in the first period.
After a penalty shot was awarded to the Ice Flyers Eddie Matsushima and stopped by Austin Lotz, just 2:29 into the second period. The Bulls would have their first power-play opportunity. A slashing penalty on Jordan Ernst gave the Bulls the opportunity to make it a one goal game, but an Alec Hagaman short-handed breakaway goal added to the Pensacola lead 13 seconds after the Ernst penalty. Birmingham got on the scoreboard late in the second period thanks to Mike Davis, who scored with only 55 seconds left in the period. Tyler Penner picked up the assist.
In the third period, the first nine-minutes were uneventful, to say the least. As the period reached halfway, the Bulls would get their second chance on the power play. A tripping penalty on Hagaman gave Birmingham the chance once again to cut the lead to one goal on the power play. However, just like the previous opportunity with the extra skater, the Bulls allowed a short-handed goal. This time it would be Matsushima scoring the goal with the assist coming from Megannaty at 10:37 of the third period. Duggie Lagrone gave Pensacola a four-goal lead on a slapshot from the blue line, 12:45 into the period. Matsushima picked up his second assist of the night. Just when you didn’t think it would get any worse for Birmingham, they had their third power-play opportunity of the night. A slashing penalty on Laidley, gave the Bulls a chance to make the score look respectable, but that’s just not how this Hump Day game was gonna go for Birmingham. The Ice Flyers scored their third short-handed goal of the night, this one off the stick of Megannaty assisted by Ustaski with only 2:44 remaining in the game.
Afterwards, Bulls Head Coach Craig Simchuk was a man of few words, saying: “We have to be better as a whole team. Everybody. This league is too good to take periods off or a whole game”
On the night, the Ice Flyers went 1-3 on the power-play and scored a trio of shorthanded goals. In two games, the Bulls have allowed ten goals, while scoring just four.
The Bulls will have a couple of days to work on special teams, before they hit the road again. Birmingham will travel to “The Heart of Georgia” for a game with the Macon Mayhem on Saturday night. Puck is scheduled to drop at 7:30 Eastern Standard Time.
Ronald Hagood, Jr. covers the Birmingham Bulls for The Sin Bin. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @SinBinBulls.