MACON, Ga. – The Macon Mayhem took home ice for the first time over the weekend, picking up a point in the SPHL standings in a 3-2 overtime loss on Saturday to Birmingham prior to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Knoxville on Sunday.
The Mayhem and Ice Bears will see one another again soon, facing off on Friday in Knoxville.
Offensive aggression was hardly a problem for Macon in its weekend tilt. After doubling up the Bulls in shots on goal Saturday, 42-21, the Mayhem held a 31-27 edge against the Ice Bears.
But while Macon was active in the offensive zone during the weekend, the aspect of getting the puck to the back of the net proved to be a challenge.
On Saturday, Birmingham’s Hayden Lavigne stopped 40 out of 42 shots, including 19 in the first period alone, as Birmingham got its first win of the season when Tanner Froese’s overtime time goal delivered a 3-2 win. On Sunday, Jeremy Brodeur turned away all 31 shots of which the Mayhem put towards him, holding on in the closing minutes during a two-man advantage for the Mayhem.
On Saturday, Macon generated opportunities to score from the get-go – outshooting the visitors 19-4 in the opening period prior to things evening out a bit the rest of the way, the Mayhem holding a 23-17 edge to overall outshoot the Bulls 42-21.
“We only have about four guys here from last year, it takes a while to gel. We have a good shooting team and these guys have the firepower and can make plays,” Macon head coach Kevin Kerr said. “We just have to capitalize and they just have to find the net.”
Jake Theut held up his side the bargain on Macon’s end as well on Saturday, stopping 18 out of 21 shots. Both goalies kept the game scoreless through two periods before the scoreboard got busy as a pair of Birmingham goals came by way of turnovers on the Macon end being translated into points.
The Bulls Logan Nelson got things started. Getting a loose puck after Macon was unable to get it cleared, he powered a shot past Theut 3:08 into the third period for the game’s first goal.
Then, it was Macon’s turn. Taking advantage of an extra-man advantage, Logan Coomes wristed a shot past Lavigne just shy of the period’s ten-minute on an equalizer with Ryan Smith and Derek Topatigh assisting.
The Bulls moved back in front less than four minutes later as John Gustafson pounced on a turnover on the Macon end, cashing it in for a goal at the 15:31 mark.
But the Mayhem came back, forcing overtime to salvage a point. On a goal assisted by Nick Minerva and Coomes, Gabe Guertler tied things up at the 16:34 point of the final period.
On Sunday, it was Ryan Ruck who got the starting nod, his first of the year. After holding the Ice Bears scoreless for the first period, Knoxville’s Josh Thrower and Nick Master notched goals in the second with Connor Sanvido assisting on the first score and Lincoln Griffin as well as Colton Heffley doing so on the second marker.
The Mayhem were not without their chances to score. Stathis Soumelidis had a point-blank try stopped by Brodeur, and Taylor Price appeared to cut Knoxville’s 2-0 lead in half in the third, but a goalie interference penalty negated it.
In the end on Sunday, it was too much Brodeur for the Mayhem to contend with.
Brad Harrison is the SPHL Editor for The Sin Bin and covers the Macon Mayhem. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @SinBinMayhem.