By James Hayes | Field Pass
The road trip for the Bulls continued Saturday night when they traveled to Huntsville for the 8th matchup in the “Battle for Bama.” Huntsville came into the game fresh on the weekend due to their Thursday night matchup against Pensacola being postponed because of a severe weather threat in the area. Birmingham, however, would be coming in for their 3rd and final game of the weekend and looking for their first win in 5 games. The last time these two teams met up was the last win for the Bulls back on March 14th when the Bulls defeated the Havoc 3-2. The goaltenders for the night would be Max Milosek for the Havoc and Evan Moyse for the Bulls.
In what has become a trend this year for the Bulls they found themselves once again playing from behind early in the game. The Havoc goal came 3:38 into the first period from Peter Sikalis when he beat Moyse with a shot from the top of the left-wing circle. After the goal, both teams showed to be very evenly matched and exchanged chances in a first period that saw 24 combined shots on goal. Birmingham would finally breakthrough on Milosek while on the powerplay late in the period. With 3:33 remaining in the period Birmingham’s Cole Stallard redirected a pass from Logan Nelson that would send the puck flying past Milosek. Shortly after the goal in true Battle for Bama fashion, we were given our first fight of the night. Anthony Collins and Cole Reginato would tie up next to the Huntsville bench and put on a show for everyone in attendance. Collins at one point waved the refs back saying we aren’t done yet as the two men continued to exchange blows. Eventually, the linesman would step in and both men would get 5 minutes to think about it. The period would end 1-1 with both teams looking to build on their leads.
When the second period kicked off Huntsville’s plan was obvious, control the play and get the go-ahead goal. 1:57 into the period they did just that when Matthew Barnaby collected a rebound in front of the net and stuffed it home to make it 2-1 Havoc. Huntsville continued to control the play and spent much of the first 10 minutes of the period in the Birmingham zone. Birmingham was finally given a chance to reset when they were given their second powerplay of the night due to a High-sticking call against Alec Brandup. Picking up where they left off the Bulls powerplay unit would once again even the game up when Tyler Penner pounded in the rebound off a Jacob Smith shot. With the game all tied up at 2 goals apiece, Birmingham would look for their first lead of the game as they controlled much of the play for the remainder of the period. Had it not been for some stellar goaltending by Max Milosek the scoreboard may have looked different heading into the 3rd period, but instead the teams headed into the locker room tied at 2-2.
Both teams came out with determination to start the third period. Right around the seven-and-a-half-minute mark, Huntsville got the go-ahead goal. The goal came from John Schiavo when he took a pass in the slot and proceeded to use some fancy stickhandling to dangle around the Birmingham defense and then send the puck into the back of the net. Things started to go downhill from there for Birmingham and shortly after the goal they would go on the penalty kill yet again. The Birmingham penalty kill to this point had been successful at keeping the Havoc from scoring but this one was different. Once again John Schiavo sent one into the back of the net, this time the goal came off a one-timer shot from the left faceoff circle. Huntsville was now up 4-2 and was not looking to relinquish the lead. The Bulls got a chance late in the game when the Havoc got called for a delay of game penalty with 4:11 remaining, but Milosek and the rest of the Havoc did not let a third powerplay goal get past them on the night. The game would end 4-2 in favor of the Havoc and Birmingham would go 0-3 on the weekend.
For the second time, this season the Birmingham Bulls have found themselves on a 6-game losing streak. March is going to be one this team will want to forget as they will end the month with an abysmal 1-10 record. Next up will be back-to-back games in Pensacola as the Bulls will look to turn things around in the final month of play in the SPHL.