By Brett Batcheor
It had been 294 days since the Birmingham Bulls had been on the ice. Last night, that finally changed. In front of a socially distanced, masked crowd, the Bulls came out firing on all cylinders against the Pensacola Ice Flyers.
Taylor Pryce got things off to a hot start for the Bulls scoring the first goal of the season just one minute and fifty-one seconds into the contest with assists from Brendan Soucie and Tanner Froese. Not too long after the first goal, the Bulls added on their second. This time, from Alec Bayer at 7:34 into the period assisted Chris Lijdsman and Brendan Soucie. The Bulls continued their hot streak with yet another first period goal just a minute and ten seconds after their last. Tanner Froese added to his point total to the game on his first goal of the season. Souice continued his stellar play in the first period assisting on all three Bulls goals of the first period.
However, Pensacola did not go quietly in the first period. Their first goal came at the 15:10 mark with Alec Hagaman putting the Ice Flyers on the board assisted by Cam Bakker and Nick Neville.
After a quiet second period from both teams, Pensacola notched another goal on the board at the 18:39 mark scored Jordan Ernst assisted by Darren McCormick. The Bulls were able to fire off four more shots than the Ice Flyers outshooting them 15-11 in the second period but were not able to add on any more goals.
The third period got off to a quicker start than the second. Alec Hagaman grabbed his second goal of the game assisted by Garrett Milan and Nick Neville at the 2:39 mark. This was the first power-play goal of the game from either team. After a scrappy rest of the third period, neither team could put in the game winning goal and they headed for overtime.
The 3-on-3 overtime period got off to a quick start with a Bulls chance less than two minutes into extra play. The Bulls then had another chance that just missed the back of the net. However, with the Bulls hot start in overtime play, the Ice Flyers came back strong. After a few back and forth plays with no shots between the two teams, Pensacola came back down the ice looking to win the game. Darren McCormick fired the game winning shot into the back of the net just two minutes and twenty seconds into the overtime period giving the Ice Flyers a 4-3 victory.
Birmingham will return to action on December 30th against the Pensacola Ice Flyers with a 7:05 PM puck drop at the Pensacola Bay Center.