Bulls win back-to-back home games against Pensacola, Knoxville

Published 1:03 pm Friday, November 24, 2023

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

PELHAM – The Birmingham Bulls successfully defended their home ice by picking up a 5-3 win over the Pensacola Ice Flyers on Friday, Nov. 17 and a 4-3 victory against the Knoxville Ice Bears on Saturday, Nov. 18 at the Pelham Civic Complex and Ice Arena.

Against Pensacola, the Bulls quickly got the scoring going thanks to a Nikita Kozyrev goal just 1:17 into the game. Pensacola’s Brett Mecrones got on the board five minutes later to tie the game, but Birmingham retook the lead thanks to Buster Larsson’s first goal of the year at the 8:20 mark of the first period.

After trailing for 14 minutes, the Ice Flyers knotted the score back up with Nick Letner’s first of the year just 2:38 into the second period. However, Kozyrev notched his second of the night midway through the period to give Birmingham the advantage again.

Early in the third period, a Drake Glover boarding call gave Pensacola the man advantage, and they made the most of that with a power play goal by Dallas Comeau to tie up the game at 3-3 with 16 minutes left.

Two minutes later, though, Drake Glover played the hero for the Bulls by scoring a goal to put his team up 4-3, and they never looked back.

After the Ice Flyers pulled their goaltender, Kozyrev scored on the empty net to wrap up his hat trick and the 5-3 win.

The next night, Birmingham faced the Knoxville Ice Bears with the hopes of closing out the homestand with a win.

After the opening half of the first period came and went without a goal, Knoxville’s Cameron Hough broke the deadlock with a goal to put the Ice Bears up 1-0 at the 12:02 mark.

Six minutes later, Brendan Soucie took the puck himself for an unassisted goal to even up the score going into the second period.

After the first intermission, Dawson McKenney of the Ice Bears gave the Bulls another chance to take the lead with an interference penalty at the 4:21 mark. MacGregor Sinclair took advantage on the power play and scored his first goal of the season to give the Bulls a 2-1 lead.

The Bulls’ lead lasted for nearly 20 minutes before Brady Fleurent tied up the game at 2-2 just 4:20 into the third period. However, that deadlock only lasted for 1:29 before Buster Larsson gave Birmingham the lead for good.

The Bulls then controlled the game with the one-goal lead for the next ten minutes, but another McKenney minor penalty led to a second power play goal of the game, this time from Drake Glover with less than five minutes remaining on the clock to put away the contest.

Cameron Hough of the Ice Bears scored with 20 seconds remaining in the game, but it was too little, too late as the Bulls took the 4-3 win.