Photo: Bryan Meeks
In front of their largest crowd of the season, the Mayhem rode a massive second period momentum swing to a 3-2 victory over the Pensacola Ice Flyers. The win broke a record, as it marked the first time the Mayhem had won five consecutive home games in franchise history.
The Mayhem pressured Pensacola goaltender Jake Kupsky early and often, forcing him to make a number of critical saves to keep the game scoreless. He managed to deny high-end chances from Larry Smith and Danny Perez, and would ultimately set up a goal for the visitors with a momentous kick save.
In the 12th minute, Stephen Pierog slid a sharp pass across the blue line to Ben Campbell, who fired a hard one-timer at the net from the right point. Kupsky made a kick save which resulted in the puck flinging out to Garrett Milan, who commenced a Pensacola counter-attack. He advanced it to Brett D’Andrea, who whipped a cross-crease pass onto the tape of Michael Ederer for a tap-in goal at the right side of Kevin Entmaa’s net. It would be the lone strike of the first period.
Macon exploded in the second half of period two, scoring three times within a five-minute span. Marcus Ortiz buried his team-leading 10th goal of the season, firing a snap shot from above the left circle which beat Kupsky over the shoulder. The puck rocketed out of the net so quickly, much of the Centreplex was uncertain as to whether it was in. However, referee JR Stragar was adamant that it was a good goal, and the score was tied 1-1.
Stepan Timofeev set up the Mayhem’s go-ahead goal with a cross-crease pass from the bottom of the right circle. He found David Powlowski unmarked on the left side of the net, who tapped the puck over Kupsky’s pads. Less than a minute later, Ben Campbell found Zach Urban wide open at the blue line, and the veteran defenseman hammered a slap shot through traffic and into the net for his first goal of the season. The three-goal surge propelled the Mayhem to a 3-1 advantage heading into the second intermission.
Pensacola made a late push in an effort to equalize, as Tommaso Bucci redirected a shot from Meirs Moore near the left circle. The puck ricocheted off the inside of the left elbow of the net and just inside the goal line, bringing the visitors within a goal. However, Entmaa and the Mayhem shut the door for the remaining 5:46 of time, and secured a 3-2 triumph.
Entmaa earned his 8th win of the season, denying 28 of the 30 shots he faced. Kupsky was charged with his first defeat as an Ice Flyer, stopping 29 of 32. The Mayhem will head to the Pensacola Bay Center to wrap up the home-and-home series at the Pensacola Bay Center tomorrow night. Puck drops at 8:05 pm ET.