Despite a late push in the third period, the Mayhem dropped a 4-2 decision in Pensacola as their four-game winning streak came to an end. The defeat marked Macon’s sixth consecutive loss at the Pensacola Bay Center, dating back to January 14th of 2018.
The Mayhem power play has been on a surge in recent weeks, and it converted early into Thursday night’s contest. The Mayhem drew a tripping penalty against Brett D’Andrea just 1:02 into the outing, and Josh Koepplinger sniped his second goal of the season past Jake Kupsky following a sharp three-man passing play. The goal came off a wrist shot from the left circle just 14 seconds into the man-advantage.
Pensacola had an answer to Macon’s lightning-like start. Just 1:09 after the Koepplinger goal, Kyle Froese shoveled a backhand shot from the bottom of the right circle following a backboard carom. The puck squeaked through Kevin Entmaa, tying the game for the home side at a goal apiece.
Period two progressed slowly, with very few scoring chances presenting themselves in the mid-stages of the game. Entmaa made an enormous save on Froese from point-blank range to keep the game tied, but the Mayhem net-minder could not deny a one-timer from D’Andrea in the left circle. D’Andrea’s goal came 11:38 into the second period and gave the Ice Flyers their first lead of the game.
A third period spark saw the Mayhem draw level, as Shawn Lynch pounced on a rebound following a point shot taken by Marcus Ortiz. Ortiz would later be penalized for high-sticking, which put the Mayhem on the penalty kill in the dwindling minutes of regulation time.
A disallowed goal due to a distinct kicking motion did not cause the Ice Flyers to waiver, as they buried a go-ahead goal just seconds after the fact. D’Andrea potted his second goal of the game in the final seconds of a Pensacola power play, which preceded an empty-net strike from Garrett Milan. The Flyers held on for a 4-2 win, snapping Macon’s four-game win streak.
Entmaa stopped 25 of the 28 shots he faced on the night and was charged with his ninth defeat of the season. Kupsky earned his fourth win, stopping 22 of 24. The Mayhem play in Birmingham against the Bulls tomorrow night in Game 2 of their 4-game road stretch. They will return to the Macon Centreplex on Friday, January 3rd against the Ice Flyers on Fan Control Night. For tickets, click here.