Soper Scores Twice in Defeat to Ice Flyers

Photo: Bryan Meeks

The Pensacola Ice Flyers capped off their road trip with a 4-2 triumph, outlasting the Mayhem in the third period to escape victorious.

The Mayhem got off to a hot start against their Florida rivals. Shawn Lynch dropped the gloves with Pensacola Captain Craig Cescon just 23 seconds into the game in front of the Ice Flyers’ crease. Cescon fought a second time in the same period, fighting Stathis Soumelidis almost immediately after being let out of the penalty box. Soumelidis fired up the crowd with his scrap, and the team capitalized off the momentum shortly afterward.
Jimmy Soper scored 10:46 into the tilt in his first game since returning from Ontario due to a personal matter. The Mayhem limited the Pensacola Ice Flyers to a meager three shots on goal through the opening period. However, their first shot required a superb pad save by Kevin Entmaa in goal. The third found the net, as Garrett Milan scored a highlight-reel goal in which he undressed the Mayhem defense and shoveled a backhand shot over Entmaa’s pads. The score stood tied 1-1 heading into the first intermission.

Penalties plagued both teams during the middle stanza. While the penalty killing units fought off multiple opportunities early in the second period, they both caved eventually. Soper scored his second of the game after being set up in the slot by Stephen Pierog. Soper’s goal regained Macon’s lead, which was answered by a Pensacola power play tally just 1:01 later. Michael Ederer and Jesse Kessler completed a give-and-go play, and Ederer snapped his second goal of the season through Entmaa from the bottom of the right circle.

Period three began with 36 seconds of carryover time on a 4-on-4. Shortly after it expired, Eddie Matsushima received a centering pass above the crease by Patrick Megannety. The Ice Flyers’ leading scorer smacked the puck through Entmaa’s equipment, tying the giving the visitors their first lead of the night.

Macon did not have puck luck on its side during the closing frame. Pierog ripped a shot off the inside of the right elbow of the net with a snap shot from the right circle. Moments later, Soper nearly capped off a hat trick with a smooth maneuver and a backhand shot which trickled through Jake Kupsky’s five-hole, but the puck bounced off the right post. Milan tallied an empty-netter to seal the game in the final 17 seconds.

Entmaa denied 23 of Pensacola’s 26 shots and was charged with his sixth regulation defeat of the season, while Kupsky stopped 23 of 25 to earn his second win in as many starts. The Mayhem will travel to Evansville next Friday night to take on the Thunderbolts in southern Indiana, followed by a Saturday night home game against the Fayetteville Marksmen.