The Birmingham Bulls made a huge improvement in play last week after a hard 0-3 week previously. The Bulls took care of business on home ice defeating the Macon Mayhem (7-2-1) by a score of 2-1. They then turned around and dropped a close hard fought battle against the Knoxville Ice Bears (6-7-0) 2-1 in OT. The Bulls after that weeks games sit in 4th place but just 1 point out of a tie for second place with The Huntsville Havoc (8-8-0) and Mayhem.
The Bulls game against the Macon Mayhem was a win the Bulls desperatley needed to get after a rough three game losing streak that all came in one week of games. Birmingham got on the board first in this one with a goal coming from the Captain Logan Nelson his fourth goal on the season. Taylor Pryce and Theodore Calvas were awarded the assists their fourth and third assists of the season respectivley and gave Bulls the early 1-0 lead. First period action saw just two penalties coming one against each team. Neither team could convert on the Power Play which as seen all season long is a weak point for this Bulls team. Second period action began with the Bulls newcomer Cameron Strong getting his first goal of the season extending the lead 2-0. CJ Hayes and Taylor Pryce were the two in on helping get Strong his first goal with the team. Bulls goalie Stewart was standing on his head stopping every shot he faced thus far which was totaled up to 23. The Bulls who were struggling getting pucks on the net had just 10 but had the lead which is all that matters. The third period saw the Mayhem cut the lead to 1 with 8:12 to go in the game. Hayden Stewart continued his efforts to get the W for the home team while he stopped 14 shots in the third. Stewart was phenominal down the stretch keeping the lead and leading the Bulls to get 2 points. The final shots tallied Macon out shooting the Bulls 38-13. Stewart stopped an amazing 37 shots leading to him being named the #1 Star of the game.
Birmingham traveled up north to Knoxville on the following Saturday to take on the Ice Bears in what Birmingham was hoping win and be in a three way tie for second. The Ice Bears had different plans in store and with a little help from a missed call in OT were able to defeat the Bulls 2-1.
First Period began and went with fast paced action back and forth on both end of the ice. Knoxville and Birmingham both were getting pucks on the net with Birmingham striking first with a nice goal from Kasey Kulczycki (called Kasey K by fans). This was Kasey first goal on the season and a long time coming as he has been super close to finding the net all season. The Bulls killed off the only penalty in the first which was a slashing on Cole Stallard. Stewart continuing off his momentum from game one stopped all 13 shots in the first. Second period saw more of the same from the first period. Fast action on both ends of the ice, minimal penalty infractions from either side and just one loan goal. This goal tied the game up at 1-1 as Knoxville’s Johnny Curran scored his first goal of the season as well. The Ice Bears also killed off their only Penalty of the second period seeing the bulls unsuccessful on yet another Power Play. Third period began and ended with no action other than one penalty on Birmingham.
Here we arrive at the OT period and the controversy that is was the goal scored a legal or should it have been disallowed. It was called a good goal and Knoxville won 2-1 with the goal being awarded to Dalton Skelly. Now I have played hockey for 16 years and find myself to be fairly educated on the rules. That being said I was not on the ice at the time of the call nor was I in the stands when the play happened. I have since it went down watched it on the live feed of the game which you can watch on Hockeytv.com with a subscription. In my opinion it should have been a no goal and disallowed. The rules state that “If a defending player has been pushed, shoved or fouled by an attacking player so as to cause the defending player to come into contact with his own goalkeeper, such contact shall be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for purposes of this rule, and if necessary a penalty assessed to the attacking player and if a goal is scored it would be disallowed.” – Rule 69.1 SPHL Rules 20-21. If you happen to see the play the Bulls player is shoved into Hayden Stewart causing him to slide out of position and allow an easy goal. Now another video came to light a couple days later and has the Birmingham player tripping over his own guys leg causing him to slide into Stewart. I am very critical about the Referee in the SPHL because quite frankly they do not know all the rules and are so out of position half of the time they do not make the correct call. I have looked at both videos and unfortunately agree that no goalie interference occurred. It is a tough pill to swallow and admit but that is just part of the game.