By James Hayes | Field Pass
Despite being eliminated from post-season play the Birmingham Bulls came out ready to play and looking to close the season out on a high note on Saturday night. The first period had a slow five minutes, but the game got rolling along when Macon started the scoringTurn like you thousand 7:41 into the game. The goal came from Jared Bethune who skated in on the right-wing circle and used some nice stick handling and a crafty shot to beat Austin Lotz. The saga of letting in the first goal of the game continued for Birmingham. Although they had some quality scoring chances in the 1st period, it was thwarted by the stellar goaltending of Macon’s Ryan Ruck. The teams went into the first intermission with Macon leading the game 1-0.
The second period was very slow to get moving along. Both teams had some chances early on but the energy of the game seemed to be very low. However, 6:47 into the period Logan Nelson took the puck behind the Mayhem net and sent it into the slot to Anthony Collins. Collins then took a wrist shot that beat Ruck and tied the game 1-1. After the goal, the game went back to the same back and forth up and down the ice play that we had seen through most of the period. With just under 2 minutes remaining in the period, we saw our first penalty of the game when Macon’s Derek Topatigh was sent to the box for tripping. The Bulls had a few really good looks during the powerplay but didn’t pull the trigger and the game would go into the second intermission tied up 1-1.
Macon came out in the third period looking to close things out and go home in the win column. 3:47 into the period Ryan Smith took a shot from the right-wing circle and the rebound bounced out to Dean Balsamo who wasted no time and put the puck past Lotz to give the 2-1 lead to the Mayhem. Midway through the period, the Bulls found themselves on a 5 on 3 powerplay thanks to a Casey Johnson boarding penalty. The Bulls made the best of this opportunity and with 7:59 to go in the game Logan Nelson sent a shot on net from the point that Ruck could not stop and the game was tied up again. Macon responded to the goal by Nelson and just over two minutes later got a goal of their own. This goal came when Dean Balsamo sent a centering pass from behind the net that found Gabe Guertler who took the shot and scored to make it 3-2 Macon with 5:44 remaining in the game. Birmingham went on the powerplay late in the game and pulled Austin Lotz for an extra attacker with 1:30 remaining. This plan worked out better on paper than it did in the game and right off the face-off Macon’s Paul Meyer sent a shot all the way down the ice into the empty net to give the Mayhem a 4-2 lead.
When the final horn sounded the Bulls found themselves on the wrong side of the scoreboard for the second time this weekend losing to the Mayhem 4-2. Only 2 games are remaining on the season for the Bulls and both are at home starting with the final matchup on the season in the Battle for Bama next Friday night against Huntsville.