Photo: Bryan Meeks
Danny Cesarz led the Mayhem to a fourth consecutive victory in Macon’s final home game of 2019, defeating the Birmingham Bulls by a 3-2 score. The victory tied a franchise record for consecutive home wins (4).
Kevin Entmaa made a number of high-end saves in the opening minutes, turning aside multiple point-blank opportunities from the visiting Bulls. The Mayhem suffered back-to-back penalties called against them late in the opening period, and Birmingham took advantage on its second power play. Entmaa made a stop on a shot from the left circle by Jacob Barber, but the puck leaked through his equipment and into the blue paint. Mike Davis crashed the net and buried his team-leading 8th goal of the season.
Ben Campbell nearly tied the score with an excellent move early in the second period. He drove around a check to the front of the net and put the puck onto his backhand before shoveling a shot on goal. Artt Brey kicked away the attempt with his pad.
The Mayhem did, however, have a response in the middle stanza. 9:03 into period two, Stathis Soumelidis chiseled the puck along the left boards and past Artem Kurbatov, springing the red-hot Cesarz on an uncontested breakaway. Cesarz fired the puck inside of the crossbar, beating Brey over the shoulder to tie the game 1-1.
Starting the third period shorthanded, the Mayhem fought off Birmingham’s man-advantage. Seconds later, Shawn Lynch out-raced Kurbatov to a loose puck behind the Bulls’ net to nullify an icing. He then set up Jarret Kup in front of the net, and the Macon defenseman ripped his third goal of the season past Brey to give the Mayhem a 2-1 advantage.
Cesarz built upon his impressive weekend with a howitzer of a slap shot from above the right circle following a neutral zone takeaway. The unassisted goal gave the Mayhem their first insurance lead on the weekend. A late goal scored by Davis in the final 1:04 snuck between Entmaa’s pads, giving a scare to the Macon Centreplex. However, the Mayhem hunkered down defensively for the rest of the tilt, securing the 3-2 decision.
Entmaa stopped 30 of the 32 shots he faced on the night, winning his seventh game of the season in his seventh consecutive start. Brey was charged with his eighth regulation defeat of the season, stopping 31 of 34. The Mayhem will hit the road for a four-game road stretch, playing all four in a six-game span. They will return to the Macon Centreplex on Friday, January 3rd against the Pensacola Ice Flyers on Fan Control Night. For tickets, click here.