By James Hayes | Field Pass
For the third straight night Birmingham would suit up and take the ice one last time this weekend. The Bulls would be looking to bounce back after being blown out by in state rival the Huntsville Havoc the night before. There opponent would be another team that was able to score seven goals in their last matchup as well as featuring reigning SPHL player of the month goaltender Jake Theut and the Macon Mayhem. Theut would come into tonight’s matchup with a goals against average of only 1.76 and a 3-0-1-1 record. Birmingham would give Hayden Stewart a chance to redeem himself after letting in 4 quick goals the night before in the Bulls loss.
The first period would start out with a bunch of back and forth play as both teams would seem to be feeling each other out. The first exciting thing that would happen for either team would happen just over 9 minutes into the game when suddenly the lights went out in Georgia, and the arena would go dark for the better part of five minutes. Once the arena staff found a way to get the lights back on we would go back to some serious back and forth hockey with both teams seeing there fair share of chances, and both goalies would deny entry into their respective goals. Perhaps the biggest chance of the first period would come when Macon’s Logan Coomes would get a breakaway chance and face Hayden Stewart one on one only to be robbed of a goal by Stewart. The first period would end with both teams deadlocked at 0-0. The Mayhem would have a slight edge in shots on goal for the period, outshooting the Bulls 16-11
The second period would start of with Mayhem team on a mission as they controlled the first minute of play and had multiple chances. Two minutes and forty-nine seconds into the period we would see the first penalty of the game when Birmingham’s Cameron Strong would get called for tripping. The Bulls penalty kill unit would deny everything coming their way and the score would remain 0-0. Things would get exciting with about 13 minutes remaining in the period when Cameron Strong would get pushed into Mayhem goaltender Theut by another Mayhem player. Theut would get up and go after Strong and a small scrum would ensue behind the net. The referees would regain control of the game and no penalties would be given out on either side. Later in the period with only 47 second remaining Macon would take their first penalty of the night when Stathis Soumelidis would get called for slashing. Macon would keep the Bulls out of the net for the remainder of the period and we would go to the locker room still tied at 0-0 in a period that only produced 8 shots on goal between both teams.
The Bulls would start the 3rd period with 1:15 left on the powerplay and wasted absolutely no time to finally break the 0-0 tie. The goal would come when Birmingham’s Alex Gilmour would shoot towards the net looking for a deflection and find Alec Baer waiting. Baer would deflect the puck over to Cole Stallard who would have a wide-open net and bury the puck into the back of it. Shortly after the goal the Bulls would successfully kill off a penalty on Mackenzie Dwyer for high-sticking and we would go back to the back and forth play we seen for the first two periods. With 15:04 remaining in the game the Mayhem would tie the game up when Macon’s Gabe Guertler would dish the puck back to Paul Meyer near the top of the left circle and Meyer would launch the puck past Hayden Stewart to tie the game at one goal apiece. Both teams would see their fair share of chances, but nothing would get through in what turned out to be a huge defensive battle on the night. With only 1:59 to go in the third period the Bulls would find themselves on the power play after Macon player Darren Brady would get called for a hook. The Bulls would get a few chances, but the Mayhem were determined to get at least one point on the night and sent the game into overtime.
Overtime would start with the Bulls playing 4 on 3 for the remaining one second on the powerplay. Once the play went to 4 on 4 the Mayhem controlled the play for the first minute of overtime until turning the puck over briefly to Birmingham. 2:05 into OT Macon would get there first big chance to close out the game when Darren Brady would ring a shot off the crossbar. It wasn’t until only 1:40 left to go in overtime that we would finally see the traditional 3 on 3 overtime after the whistle was finally blown. With 45 seconds left to go the Mayhem would strike gold when Max Cook would get the puck from a pass off the right-wing boards and send the puck passed Stewart to win the game in overtime for the Mayhem.
Birmingham would find themselves winless on the weekend after losing two very close games against both Knoxville and Macon and the one-sided affair against Huntsville. At the end of the weekend the Bulls find themselves falling to 4th place in the standings and looking to regroup this upcoming week as they will face both Macon and Knoxville once again. The next game will be back at home against the Mayhem on Thursday night.