Tonight the Birmingham Bulls will begin a three game in three night stint beginning in Knoxville for their first meeting with the Ice Bears. The Bulls are coming off a big 4-1 win against Huntsville to hopefully get the guys on a winning streak. Then the Bulls will turn right back around and play at home Friday night against the in state rival Huntsville Havoc. Saturday night the Bulls will make the trek over to Georgia where they are set to face off against the Macon Mayhem.
Transactions have occured on this fine Thursday for the Birmingham Bulls. Anthony Collins who played two magnificent games for the Bulls is being called up to an ECHL club. Collins was hoping to be the “tough” guy that this team needed to take the next big step towards becoming a championship team. Unfortunantly for Bulls fans who are all too familiar with good guys being called up will not be suiting up this weekend. The Bulls have gone on and signed a Goalie in Austin Lotz eight game suspension abscence in Austyn Roudebush. Austyn comes to the Bulls from the FPHL and perviously played for a team sitting out this season in SPHL the Roanoke Rail Yard Dogs. He played in 13 games last year for them with a .917% save percentage and a 2.50 Goals Against Average. The Bulls have also signed Anthony Florentino to help shape up a Defense that has needed a little bit of help of late. He is a veterened ECHL player having over 100 games of experience in the league above. He has played 9 games this season for Kansas City before landing in Birmingham. Do not expect to see his name on the score sheet often but if you know hockey that does not mean you are not good for the team.
This will be the first meeting between Bulls (5-4-1) and Knoxville (3-6-0) this season. Knoxville has had a little bit of a tough start to the season mainly due to Covid. They have played 9 games and are coming into this one off a Loss to the hands of the Havoc 0-3. They are on a three game losing streak and the Bulls hope to extend that to four after the matchup tonight. The Bulls who are without Austin Lotz in net who is serving an eight game suspension for his actions in last weeks game against Pensacola. The new net minder goes by the name of Hayden Stewart and interesting enough he was cut by the Knoxville Ice Bears earlier this season. He has played for the Macon Mayhem as well last season for 16 games. The Bulls will need to stay out of the penalty box tonight if they want to secure a victory. They now lead the league with 136 penalty minutes. The Ice Bears on the other hand are two spots behind them with 95 this season. Whoever starts in net for Knoxville is letting in over 2.7 goals per game so the Bulls need to get some offense going early. Still waiting for Birmingham’s Power Play to get rolling. We saw some promise on their 3 PP goal night a couple of Friday nights ago against Huntsville in a wild 8-7 shootout. The game tonight will be a fun preview of what is to come this season against the Ice Bears.
The next night Bulls return to their home ice to face off once again with in-state rival Huntsville Havoc. The Bulls becoming victorious in the previous weeks meeting 4-1. Bulls look to continue that success Friday night in front of what hopes to be a good crowd (Covid Protocol is 75% capacity). It will be interesting to see what transactions transpire over the weekend with some Bulls possibly getting called up to the ECHL.
To cap the three night extravaganza the Bulls will travel to Macon, Ga and take on the Mayhem. This will be the second meeting between the two clubs as the Bulls won meeting number one with a 3-2 victory. This game will be tough for the Bulls coming off what will surly be two tough physical games prior to this game. Macon will have the joy of not traveling Friday night after their game is at home against the Ice Bears.
I see the Bulls going 2-1 over this three game weekend. I believe they will win Thursday night in Knoxville as a revenge game by goalie Stewart against his old team and will likely lose a close one at home against those Havoc. Lastly I think Bulls come back together and win the final of the three in Macon. There is just something about Macon that has me feeling like they will be gassed as well and Bulls will come out on top.