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Slow Start Stifles Birmingham in Pensacola

By James Hayes | Field Pass

The first game in the month of April the Birmingham Bulls traveled down to Pensacola to play the Ice Flyers for the ninth meeting between the two teams on the season. The Bulls came into the night looking to end a 6-game losing streak and start the month off on a high note. Pensacola on the other hand would be looking for their first home win since January 30th this year. Evan Moyse once again got the call in net for the Bulls and back from the ECHL, Jake Kupsky got the nod in net for the Ice Flyers.

Pensacola got off to a hot start in the first period and started the scoring just 2:36 into the game when Jake Wahlin took a puck off the end boards and sent a backhand shot at Moyse. Moyse got a piece of the puck but not enough and the score was 1-0 early into the first frame. With 11:02 to go in the period, the Bulls would get a prime chance to tie things up when Pensacola’s Ben Freeman got called for slashing. About one minute into the Bull's powerplay Pensacola’s Eddie Matsushima took the puck out of the right corner and then sent a wrist shot zinging past Evan Moyse for a shorthanded goal. Late in the period while trying to prevent a breakaway Birmingham’s Jarod Hilderman took a tripping penalty that would put Pensacola on the powerplay. As the powerplay was winding down Ice Flyer Marcell Godbout sent a shot in from the top of the right faceoff circle beating Moyse and giving Pensacola a 3-0 lead with a minute and a half remaining in the period. The Ice Flyers didn’t stop there. With 42 seconds left on the clock before the first intermission, Zach Walker took a feed from the corner, walked in on Moyse, and finished the play with a backhand goal that would send Pensacola into the locker room with a commanding 4-0 lead.

Coach Simchuk made a goaltender change to start the second period, Zach Quinn went between the pipes looking to spark something for the Bulls. Pensacola however showed no concern to who was in net and 4:06 into the middle period they would add to the lead when Garrett Milan scored a powerplay goal that beat Quinn over the right shoulder. Shortly after the halfway point of the second period, the Ice Flyers did it again. This time as the penalty to Kasey Kulczycki expired Marcel Godbout hammered the puck in off a rebound making it 6-0 Pensacola. Just 13 seconds later Pensacola’s Darren McCormick scored off of a rebound from a Quinn pad save. With just over 6 minutes to go in the second, Anthony Florentino ripped a slapshot in from the blue line and put the Bulls on the scoreboard. Birmingham went into the locker room after two periods of play down 7-1.

The third period proved to be no better for the Bulls. 5:40 into the final frame Darren McCormick scored his second of the night when he raced into the slot to collect a pass from teammate Frederic Letourneau and wristed a shot past Zach Quinn. About 4 minutes later McCormick went on to finish out his hat trick for the night on a 2 on 1 breakaway. He took a pass from Ernst and sunk the puck into a wide-open net making the score 9-1. With the game winding down Kasey Kulczycki went looking for something that the team can build on going into tomorrow night's game and found a fight with Pensacola’s Ben Freeman. When the final horn sounded Pensacola would claim the victory with a score of 9-1.

Both teams will face off again Friday night once again at the Pensacola Bay Center. Birmingham will look to end a season-high seven-game losing streak and work its way into the final playoff spot.

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