Bulls split weekend road trip to Macon thanks to five-goal win, shootout loss

Published 9:25 am Tuesday, December 5, 2023

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

MACON, GA – The Birmingham Bulls opened up the weekend strong with a 6-1 win against the Macon Mayhem at the Macon Centreplex on Friday, Dec. 1 before rallying to force a shootout in their second matchup on Saturday, Dec. 2, losing that matchup 4-3.

On Friday, the Bulls rode six straight goals, including a hat trick from Drake Glover, to secure the victory away from home.

After a scoreless opening five minutes, Glover kicked off the scoring with a goal at the 5:03 mark to give the Bulls the 1-0 lead.

That lead wouldn’t stay that way for long, as within the next two minutes, the Bulls would open the floodgates.

Birmingham tripled its advantage in just 31 seconds when Troy MacTavish scored followed by Bowen adding to his assist on the night with a goal to put the Bulls up 3-0 just 6:50 into the game.

However, the Bulls’ scoring wasn’t done for the first period, and neither was Glover’s. He found the back of the net off assists from Jonathan Pace and Nikita Kozyrev with six minutes left in the first to score his second of the night.

Now up 4-0 at the start of the second period, Birmingham didn’t let its foot off the gas, but instead came out of the locker room with an emphatic statement.

Just 25 seconds into the period, Glover scored again to secure his hat trick and increase the lead to five.

Taylor Brierley capped off the Bulls’ scoring with his first of the season off assists from Scott Donahue and Pace at the 12:48 mark of the second period.

The Mayhem would get on the scoreboard before the end of the period as Alex Laplante scored Macon’s first goal of the night with 1:10 left in the second period.

That would cut the lead to 6-1, which proved to be the final score. A clean first two periods led to three power play opportunities in the third period, but neither team could take advantage and change the scoreline.

The next night, while the Bulls couldn’t repeat their success, they showed tremendous drive and resolve to erase a 3-0 deficit and force a penalty shootout.

Birmingham got in trouble early after Macon’s Tommy Munichiello scored just 45 seconds into the game, and Jarrett Kup scored midway through the first period to increase his team’s lead to two.

Laplante would then score for the second straight night 1:23 into the second period to put the Mayhem up 3-0 and back the Bulls up against the wall.

However, a Macon hooking penalty gave Birmingham an opening, and the Bulls took advantage.

Birmingham’s excellent power play struck again as Donahue scored with just a second left in the man advantage to cut the lead to 3-1 with 15:39 left in the second period.

Five minutes later, Glover kept his hot hand going for his tenth of the year, while Kozyrev and Donahue notched their tenth assists of the season and the Bulls put themselves down just one.

A wild sequence shortly after put three men in the box for roughing penalties, but Birmingham couldn’t capitalize on the 4-on-3 power play.

Macon went into the second intermission with the 3-2 lead, but after 11:09 of waiting in the third period, the Bulls completed the comeback.

Carson Rose scored off assists from MacTavish and Pace to tie up the game at three goals apiece, and the Bulls hung on to force overtime, and finally, a shootout.

However, Macon survived the pressure from the Birmingham comeback and won the shootout 1-0 thanks to a Laplante goal in the third round.

After picking up four points in the standings on the weekend, the Bulls sit in third in the standings with 19 points, three points behind the Pensacola Ice Flyers but with two less games played.

The now 9-4-1 Bulls will return to action with a home-and-home series against their rivals, the Huntsville Havoc, on Friday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 9. Friday’s contest will be at the Pelham Civic Complex and Ice Arena at 7 p.m., while Birmingham will make the return trip up north to Huntsville on Saturday.