The Mayhem dropped their fourth straight on New Year’s Eve, falling by a 2-0 final to the Knoxville Ice Bears.
Power play opportunities presented themselves early for both teams, with a total of four man-advantages materializing in the first 6:39. Neither team managed to capitalize on the multiple 5-on-4 or subsequent 4-on-4 situations. Marcus Ortiz had the best scoring chance, which came on a shorthanded breakaway. However, Macon’s leading goal-scorer just misfired, roofing his shot over the crossbar.
Kevin Entmaa made an enormous save on Lionel Mauron with nine minutes remaining in the opening stanza. The puck found Mauron in the slot behind the Macon defense, and Entmaa flung out his right pad to deny him of what looked to be a sure goal. Shortly afterward, however, Brady Fleurent received a breakaway pass before splitting through the Macon defense. He then shifted to his backhand and beat Entmaa stick-side, giving the Ice Bears a 1-0 lead.
Entmaa robbed Lucas Bombardier early in the second period. The Knoxville Captain had a chance from point-blank range, but was denied by the Mayhem goaltender. Near the end of the middle frame, Ice Bears leadings scorer Bryce Nielsen surveyed down the right wing. He fed a crisp pass to Dwyer Tschantz in the slot, who ripped a shot by Entmaa to double Macon’s deficit.
A burst of speed by Ortiz drew a tripping penalty against the Ice Bears, which gave Macon a much-needed power play to help spark their struggling offense. However, Vojtech Zemlicka was handed a four-minute double-minor shortly afterward, nullifying the remainder of the power play. Another penalty would be called against Knoxville’s Scott Cuthrell less than two minutes later, and another lengthy 4-on-4 ensued. Neither team took advantage, but the Ice Bears held on for a 2-0 triumph.
Entmaa was given his eleventh defeat of the season despite stopping 28 of 30. Joseph Murdaca earned his eighth win of the season and league-leading fourth shutout, denying all 26 shots he faced. The Mayhem will return to the Macon Centreplex on Friday, January 3rd against the Ice Flyers on Fan Control Night. For tickets, click here.