MACON, Ga – On paper, momentum was in Knoxville’s favor as the Ice Bears headed to Macon on Sunday afternoon to face the Mayhem in a game with first-place implications in the SPHL.
The Ice Bears entered having won ten games in a row. What’s more was the fact the goalie Austyn Roudebush had been in goal for all ten of those wins, including Saturday night’s 3-2 overtime win against Birmingham after trailing 2-0 after two periods.
On the other side was league-leading Macon. A night after losing in overtime to Huntsville, Saturday night brought a 4-1 loss to the Havoc.
First place there for the taking for Knoxville on Sunday afternoon. The Mayhem, however, would have none of it, winning 4-1 to halt the Ice Bears winning streak, their first loss since February 21 against Macon.
Macon (17-4-2-2, 38 points) remains in the lead of the SPHL standings, three points in front of Knoxville (17-9-1-0, 35 points). Both continue to make it a two-way race for the league’s top spot with the Ice Bears being seven points in front of Pensacola (12-11-2-2, 28 points), which is three points in front of Huntsville (12-13-1-0, 25 points). Birmingham is currently fifth and three points shy of fourth place (8-13-6-0, 22 points).
Macon did what any team has to do in order to cool off a goalie on a hot streak on Sunday – jump on them early.
Logan Coomes, who found a way to become involved in every even-strength Macon goal on Sunday, got things going early, assisting along with Nate Kallen on Ryan Smith’s goal 13:39 into the game. The Mayhem weren’t done with the early barrage of scoring. Less than three minutes later, it was Coomes’ turn to light the lamp, getting the puck past Roudebush 16:01 into the first off an assist by Smith and Jimmy Soper.
— Shawn Bednard (@CallMeBednard) March 21, 2021
Having built a 2-0 lead, Macon headed into the first intermission in good shape. Jacob Benson’s unassisted score in the second that got by Mayhem goalie Jake Theut ended up being the only blemish in the Mayhem scoresheet as Theut stopped 27 out of 28 shots.
Soper added a third-period goal to give him a two-point game, getting an assist from none other than Coomes.
Knoxville kept it close but was unable to crack anything past Theut the rest of the way. Any hopes of a comeback faded in the closing minutes with Brian Bowen’s goal to set up the game’s final margin.