Photo: Bryan Meeks
Hosting the Knoxville Ice Bears on a rescheduled Friday night game, the Mayhem fell behind early and fell just short in completing a comeback, falling by a 4-3 final.
The Mayhem were caught off-guard in the first period, as the visitors accumulated a 4-1 advantage through the first 20 minutes. Danny Cesarz was penalized for delay of game after clearing the puck directly out of play from the Macon zone. Anthony McVeigh capitalized on the ensuing Knoxville power play, cleaning up a loose puck in Kevin Entmaa’s crease and giving the Ice Bears a 1-0 lead. Stepan Timofeev answered just 53 seconds later, scoring his first goal with the organization after redirecting a point shot taken by Jarret Kup. The goal launched the Whitey Tighty Toss in which fans threw cold weather clothing onto the ice to benefit Daybreak – Project DePaul, a local charity providing assistance to the homeless and less fortunate.
Timofeev’s goal breathed life into the Mayhem and the audience, but it was quickly quelled by the Ice Bears. In a span of just 48 seconds, Marly Quince and Scott Cuthrell each slipped scores by Entmaa to give Knoxville an insurance lead. Following a long Macon surge in the offensive zone, the Ice Bears scored another goal on a counterattack in which Brady Fleurent backhanded the puck through Entmaa’s five-hole.
Timofeev continued his hot stick as the game wore on, striking with a powerful wrist shot from the high slot just 29 seconds into the second period. His goal brought the Mayhem within two, but they could not continue chipping away at the deficit throughout the middle stanza. Hayden Stewart and the Ice Bears entered period three with a 4-2 edge.
Macon continued to close the gap, punishing the visitors for a delay of game penalty given to Stefan Brucato early in the third period. Marcus Ortiz redirected a shot from the left circle taken by Danny Cesarz, and the puck sailed over Stewart’s pad and into the net. Ortiz’s team-leading fifth goal of the season brought the Mayhem to within a goal.
A late comeback attempt fell short, as the Mayhem could not capitalize with a sixth attacker and ultimately dropped a 4-3 decision. Entmaa was charged with his third regulation defeat of the season, stopping 26 of Knoxville’s 30 shots. Stewart earned his 5th victory, denying 23 of 26. The Mayhem will host the Birmingham Bulls tomorrow on Cancer Awareness Night. For tickets, click here.