FAYETTEVILLE, NC – The Fayetteville FireAntz came into the second game of back to back games against the SPHL leading Macon Mayhem feeling some momentum after a shootout win the night before in Macon. Both teams played a close battle in this game as well with Macon eventually getting the game-winning goal with only 44 seconds left in overtime to beat the FireAntz 3-2. Plenty of great up and down action happened in this one before the final goal was scored.
While Macon came into the game with an undefeated road record, the FireAntz were trying to make home ice a little less friendly place to play. The FireAntz got off to a good start as veteran forward Bobby Chaumont netted the games first goal at the 13:53 mark of the opening period when he finished off a nice 2 on 1 breakaway feed from FireAntz leading scorer Tayler Thompson. The goal was Chaumont’s third of the season the weekend, playing in just his fourth game for the FireAntz since being signed by coach Jeff Bes. Although Chaumont was able to solve the Mayhem goalie Jordan Ruby on that shot, Ruby proved to be tough to solve for much of the rest of the game.
Macon turned up the heat and put the pressure on the FireAntz in the middle frame and knotted the game up at 1 when veteran tough guy and speedster Dennis Sicard found a loose puck in the slot and sent it top shelf into the corner of the net behind FireAntz goalie Andrew Hare. The goal was Sicard’s second goal of the season and although he is known around the league for his toughness, Sicard is fourth on the Mayhem with 10 points scored in 15 games. Sicard would not be done for the night as he had a part in the Mayhem’s second goal of the night at the 16:53 mark of the middle frame. The goal, scored by physical forward Stathis Soumelidis, was the result of hard work and a gritty forecheck. Soumelidis also made his presence known in a fight with FireAntz tough guy Brad Drobot to open the 2nd period as both guys entertained the fans at the Crown.
The FireAntz killed a key penalty in the third period before Bes made a bold move to pull goalie Hare with just under four minutes to go in the game. The gamble paid off as Thompson found some room in the slot and ripped the puck past Ruby to tie the game with the extra attacker. The goal gave Thompson 16 points on the season to lead the FireAntz and also gave his team new life in the game. Both teams would have great chances to get the win before the buzzer sounded to end regulation but both goalies came up big.
Big saves, clutch goals, up and down action, and some hard hits as well ended in a 2-2 regulation tie forcing the game to go to OT. The Mayhem would start OT on the PP but couldn’t capitalize. As the game looked like it was heading to a shootout for the second night in a row, Mayhem forward John Siemer skated the puck up the ice and found a streaking Mark Rivera, who calmly skated across the crease and deposited the puck past the outstretched leg of Hare to keep the Mayhem undefeated on the road. The goal was Rivera’s fourth of the season and the assist on the game-winning goal brought Siemer’s point total to 22 on the season.
While the FireAntz lost the game, the weekend ended with the surging team grabbing some key points in the standings against the top team in the league. Hare continued his strong play in net for the FireAntz saving 29 of 32 shots, many of the huge variety. The FireAntz record jumps to 6-7-1 good for 13 points in the standings while the Mayhem jump to 12-1-2 for 26 points.
**While the action was exciting on the ice, a scary incident in OT sent Macon coach Kevin Kerr to the hospital after the game. A puck shot out of play and into the Macon bench struck Kerr in the head and he fell to the ground behind the bench. While he was able to stand back up and finish the game behind the bench to see his team win, he was taken to the hospital after the game. Hopefully, everything checks out okay and he can join his team for the trip back to Macon. Hockey is an exciting sport but there are dangers involved, even for coaches on the bench and so this puts things into perspective. Our thoughts are with Kevin Kerr.
Sin Bin FireAntz 3 Stars:
1st Star: G Jordan Ruby (33 saves on 35 shots)
2nd Star: F Dennis Sicard (1 goal and 1 assist)
3rd Star: F Mark Rivera (game-winning goal)